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Meet The Maiden Crew
Tracy Edwards MBE - Skipper
Tracy Edwards is the central figure in Maiden, the documentary feature about her successful effort to compete in the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race skippering the first all-female crew. In 1990, Tracy was awarded the MBE (Member of the British Empire) by HM

Queen Elizabeth II; the Royal Jordanian Air Force Wings by HM King Hussein of Jordan; and became the first woman in its 34-year history to be awarded the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy. Her memoir of the race, Maiden, was Whitbread Sports Book of the Year and on the Times bestseller list for 19 weeks.

In 1998, Tracy put together the first all-female crew to attempt the fastest non-stop circumnavigation by sail. Her 92-foot catamaran broke five world records. Her second memoir, Living Every Second, was published in 2001. Maiden II in 2001 saw Tracy create and manage the world's first ever mixed gender fully professional racing team which broke many world speed records in their 120ft catamaran. In 2005, Edwards created and managed the first ever round the world race to start and finish in the Middle East.

Tracy retired from sailing in 2005 and worked for CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) as Project Manager for their International Youth Advisory Conference. During 2009 - 2012 she studied at Roehampton University and graduated with a 2:1 Degree in Psychology. Currently, Tracy has combined these passions for sailing, female empowerment, and youth advocacy with her Maiden Factor Foundation, named for her original sailboat. She rescued Maiden from a dilapidated condition, restored the 58' monohull to its former glory, and is organizing round-the-world fundraising and awareness tours for her foundation. Maiden, an iconic part of British maritime history, now has a new life as an Ambassador and fundraiser for girls' education.

Tracy Edwards on fighting sexism:
"30 years ago, it may have been easier for us to have the battle than I think it is for young women today, because when we came up against sexism it was in your face. It was-Bam! It was something you could fight. You know, that you could see and you could take hold of it. And you could shout and fight. Now it's insidious. No one would dare to be overtly sexist now or misogynistic; it's kind of gone under the radar. And I think that's really worrying. It's a new conversation-the discussion hasn't gone away. It's just taken a different form. So, with The Maiden Factor we've decided to engage men more within the project, including sailing on the boat for the first time."

Jo Gooding - Cook, Videographer
Jo remains one of Tracy's closest friends having known each other since their childhood in Wales. But the pair couldn't be more different; in stark contrast to Tracy's high energy, go get 'em attitude, Jo is perennially calm, shy and insightful.

Before Maiden, Jo was working in a pub in her hometown and had lost touch with Tracy, but out of the blue Tracy gave her a call and told her about the idea for competing in the Whitbread Maiden. Jo had never sailed competitively but immediately answered Tracy's call to become the cook on board. She also served as the principal videographer though she also shared filming with other crew members.

Post Maiden Jo went back to the Isles of Scilly, working in the local hospital and volunteering in the school. She moved back to the mainland and worked in various caring roles including Adult Mental Health and children and young people with learning and physical disabilities.

In 2002, Jo trained as a Counsellor and in 2006, set up her own business working with children, adolescents and adults. She completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Education in teaching in 2008, and now delivers courses, workshops as well as health and well-being programmes. Jo Gooding on doomsayers:

"When we were on Maiden we didn't really take much notice of the negative things that were being said. Even when it was said that we could die and that would be a tragedy- we agreed it would be and no-one had any intention of dying!"

Marie-Claude Kieffer Heys - First Mate
Marie-Claude was born in the seaside town of Brest, Brittany, France, to parents who enjoyed yacht racing as a hobby. She started sailing school at the age of 7, participating with family in races on her parents' boat. By 16, Marie-Claude took charge of her father's 28-foot sailboat for cruising and racing with friends, bringing early lessons in responsibility and freedom. To further her dream of someday competing in the Whitbread Race, she learned sailmaking, boat building, and every aspect of yacht racing, and supported herself as a professional sailor from a very young age.

In 1983, she entered the single-handed Figaro race, a key race for gaining media coverage and, subsequently, sponsorship. This also proved to be a key race in developing her confidence in her own abilities. She competed in this race again in 1987, 1990, and 1991, with respectable results. She skippered female crews for the Tour de France a la Voile in 1985 and 1986.

At the age of 25, Marie-Claude completed her first victorious transatlantic race: Monaco-New York on Lady Elf with a crew of 7 women and 5 men. She used her prize money on another mode of transportation, buying a motorcycle from another crew member.

When she heard about Tracy Edwards' campaign to bring an all-female crew to the Whitbread Race, she immediately sent Tracy her CV, eventually bringing two of her sailing comrades, Jeni Mundy and Michele Paret, onboard the Maiden team with her. As First Mate she played a key role in Maiden's intensive six-month tear-down and refit project and devoted two years to preparations for Maiden's Whitbread campaign.

The leadership conflict with Tracy Edwards that led to her sacking shortly before the start of the Whitbread Race is captured in the Maiden documentary feature. Although she was angry and disappointed that she missed the chance to race the Whitbread with Maiden, she went on to complete the race twice: in 1993 on board 'Heineken' (invited by skipper Dawn Riley), then again in 1997 on 'EF Education.' In 2011 she again sailed Heineken in the Volvo Alicante regatta with a 12-woman team made up of representatives from all 4 previous all-girl Whitbread/Volvo campaigns. Marie-Claude and Tracy have been able to settle their differences and sustain a long-term relationship of cordial respect and friendship.

After retiring from professional sailing Marie-Claude married a fellow sailor and moved to Hamble in Hampshire, where Maiden was based all those years ago. She now runs a company importing and brokering boats, Key Yachting, and sails year-round with customers and friends. Marie-Claude Heys on women in yacht racing today:

"Overall it is still tough for the girls. Girls who train hard and earn their stripes are now seen at all level of campaigns and have gained respect. However, the imbalance of weight and strength, plus stereotypical mindsets, still makes it a man's world in many types of boats. The boat designs have become more and more extreme, requiring fewer crew but more brute physical strength-so if you need to take the strongest people, obviously that won't be the women. Now the Volvo race requires two women on every crew-otherwise there probably wouldn't be any."

Howard Gibbons - Project Manager
The all-female Maiden crew actually had several men as well as women on shore crew, led by Howard Gibbons, who managed project planning and land operations from the very start of the campaign.

Before he met Tracy Edwards, Howard was a journalist working for a local newspaper in Southampton. Having been close to the sailing community for some time he had some experience of helping to organise professional crews. When he heard the idea for Maiden he was the first person to encourage Tracy to go for it.

He became the project manager before the team was in place and used his press connections to push the idea to a wider audience. He motivated Tracy to speak publicly and front the project and gave her extensive media training. Howard was also Tracy's rock and was always there, right beside her, if doubt ever set in.

After the '89 race Howard went on to project manage 'Heineken' in the 1993 race (skippered by Dawn Riley and crewed by several Maiden alums). He also managed Tracy in the early 2000's with her 'Maiden 2' catamaran campaign.

Howard still lives in Hamble and has been helping manage the refurbishment of Maiden throughout 2018. He has also served as the project manager for the Volvo Oceans Legends Race.

Howard Gibbons on a once-in-a-lifetime experience:
"Every so often a sporting first comes along that transcends sport itself to become world famous for a whole set of reasons. Tracy's determination to make it happen against all the odds, and gathering such a wonderful crew and support team around her to make it so, was, and still is, an epic achievement, and to say it changed perceptions of women in sailing is an understatement. It was unprecedented, challenging, great, wonderful and a lot of fun. We had the time of our lives."

Dawn Riley - Watch Captain, Diver, Engineer
Dawn Riley, the only American on the Maiden team, began sailing as a young girl with her family in Michigan on Lake St. Clair ("nothing yacht-clubby") and has supported herself on and around boats since age 14, putting herself through college boat-captaining. The Great Lakes trained her well in extreme conditions and heavy seas. She jumped at the chance to join a Whitbread team with Maiden, intrigued to see what an all-female team could achieve. As Watch Captain on Maiden, she and her co-captain Michele Paret traded shifts on deck command while Skipper Tracy Edwards typically focused on strategy and navigation. Dawn's physical strength also served her as Driver and Engineer.

Within 36 hours of Maiden crossing the finish line in 1990, Dawn was back in New York appearing on the David Letterman show, snatched up by the producers as the American rep on the high-profile team. She had graduated from Michigan State in Advertising before the race and this served her well as her career went from strength to strength in the sailing world. In 1996, as CEO and Captain of America True, Dawn was the first woman to manage an America's Cup sailing team. She has raced on four Americas Cup campaigns and two Whitbreads (now Volvo Ocean Race). In the 1993-4 race she was Skipper of Heineken, joined on her team by several former Maiden crew members.

Dawn is a former president of the Women's Sport Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King, and is active in many public service and political activities. Dawn serves as a board member of the NGB - US Sailing and the SCS Democratic Club. She was co-author of Taking the Helm, an autobiographical story of her Round the World Race experiences.

Dawn is a television commentator and experienced public speaker, on topics ranging from entertaining adventure stories to motivational seminars in team building and personal success She considers herself to be a well-rounded, accomplished businesswoman, community leader and youth sports advocate, author, speaker, TV commentator and committed philanthropist. Most recently, Dawn created and runs Oakcliff Sailing Center, a unique training and coaching center that is "Building American Leaders through Sailing." Dawn believes that this center will prove to be significant in creating leaders inside and outside the marine industry.

Dawn Riley on the audacity of the Maiden challenge:
"I'm quoted in the documentary saying I didn't believe there were any other really good female sailors in the world. I didn't say that to be snotty-though it sounds a little that way. I was underscoring how absolutely radical an idea Tracy's campaign was, and what a fantastic opportunity it was for really competitive, ambitious women like us."

Michele Paret - Watch Captain and Helm
French sailor Michele Paret has always been an active sportswoman, devoting her youth to wind surfing, climbing and mountain biking until she discovered sailing. She met and raced with Marie-Claude Keiffer in France, joined Maiden with her, and took Marie-Claude's position when she left the team. She became one of the two watch captains under Tracy.

She spoke no English when she came aboard Maiden-the first vocabulary she mastered was the names of tools. She quickly picked up the language.

After the race she met her partner in sailing, racing, and life Dominique Wavre and the pair continued sailing together, achieving a successful 3rd place in the Quebec to St Malo Transat. In 2007 they placed 3rd in the Barcelona World Race.

Michele continues to sail and has over 170,000 sea miles on the open seas with vast experience of crewed and solo ocean regattas. Due to her almost continuous travel we were unable to find a time to interview Michele for the film.

Michele Paret on how women collaborate:
"I discovered onboard Maiden a different way of women working together to achieve the same performance as men, a typically feminine and caring solidarity amongst us. Approaching the finish line, I simultaneously felt a huge joy mixed with a huge pain, mixed up with tears... All the girls were in the front of the boat but I couldn't go up there. The finish line marked the end of this great adventure, but the beginning of many others."

Sally Creaser Hunter - Helm, Safety Equipment
Scotswoman Sally Creaser (now Hunter) came from a sailing family and raced extensively in both Scotland and Northern Ireland. She took a job working in a boatyard, heard about Maiden early on, and wanted to join up. She traveled down to Hamble and was hired by Tracy on the spot because of her experience and sense of humour.

Onboard Maiden, Sally worked mostly in the cockpit, at the helm or winches.

After the '89 race Sally continued sailing until 1991 when she finished second in the 'Azores and Back' race. She married in 1995 to Iain Hunter and set up her own company, Hunter Yacht Deliveries, as well as a swim school in her local Scottish town, Arran. Her two sons are both professional sailors; the older, Neil, sails for Ben Ainslie's Americas Cup campaign. Sally is still heavily involved in the sailing world.

Sally Hunter on physical strength and skill:
"A lot of credit for how well we did should go to the girls who were so good at helming the boat, in the Southern Ocean especially. It took a lot of skill and physical strength to keep that boat going fast in the right direction in some very heavy sea and wind conditions. Every one of the helms suffered from tendonitis in our wrists from the constant movements necessary."

Jeni Mundy - Foredeck
Jeni finished university with a BSc in Maths with Philosophy and in need of an adventure. She had grown up sailing and racing dinghies on the Thames with her family, and spent a couple of post-bac years in the Caribbean where she met Marie-Claude Kieffer and advanced her sailing skills. Marie-Claude connected her with Tracy's Maiden crew search.

Maiden was Jeni's first experience of professional sailing. She did go on to complete the Whitbread Race again four years later. It was during the preparation for the 1989 race that Jeni realized a talent for electronics when laying the cables in the refurb of Maiden.

After her stint sailing, Jeni gained a Masters in Electronic Engineering and became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers. She worked in New Zealand telecommunications in various Engineering roles before joining Vodafone as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and leading the Enterprise Product Division for Vodafone Group. She has also worked with Auto Trader, the UK's largest digital automotive marketplace, as an Independent Non-Exec Board Director.

Jeni is currently Regional Managing Director for UK and Ireland for Visa, the credit card giant.

Jeni Mundy on endurance:
"Human beings are amazing. We can achieve and endure so much more than we think. We're amazingly resilient. During the Southern Ocean crossing we lived in extreme conditions, minus twenty with the wind chill, lucky to get two hours sleep, exhausted but two hours is better than no hours. The definition of a team is having confidence that every single one is fully braced to take on whatever happens. We were that kind of team."

Tanja Visser - Foredeck and Sailmaker
A childhood sailing in her native Holland gave Tanja a passion for sailing and when she had finished her studies in both dentistry and photography she jumped at the chance to make a career change into professional sailing for a while. When she joined Maiden she became the first Dutch woman to have taken part in the race.

In addition to her jobs as bowman and sailmaker, Tanja brought a dental emergency kit onboard as she was already a professional dentist. She also helmed, and did some of the video filming and still photography. During the race she met her husband, a watch captain on board 'Merit'. Tanja was the first of the Maiden crew to have a child, so their daughter is the first child to be born to parents who both completed the Whitbread.

After the '89 race Tanja continued sailing until the early 2000's, meanwhile setting up her own dental surgery outside Amsterdam. Tanja also breeds dressage horses and owns her own studfarm where she lives with her two children and six dogs.

Tanja Visser on the Maiden experience:
"For all of us it was a big dream that came true. The trust and respect for each other, the strong sisterhood of my Maiden friends makes me feel strong in difficult times. It's part of ourselves and I carry it with me always. If you believe in something, go for it, work hard, and never give up."

Mikaela Von Koskull - Watchwoman, Helm, Deck Hardware
Originally from Korpo, in the southwestern Archipelago of Finland, Mikaela inherited her love and respect of nature and sea, from a long line of seafarers in her family. She started her career graduating as Radio Officer from Mariehamn Maritime Institute, working on merchant ships, followed by ship's purser on passenger ships. Slowly she gained sea-miles and experience to follow her real dream: to become a professional yachtswoman on sailing yachts.

As well as crewing on Maiden in 1989, Mikki participated in the next Whitbread on Heineken's all-woman crew skippered by Dawn Riley. She is the only sailor to have taken part in all three of Tracy Edwards' sailing ventures: the '89 Maiden campaign; the 2001 Maiden II catamaran outing; and the launch of the Maiden Factor. Mikki has also participated in both the Jacques Vabre and Jules Verne race events and on the Multihull circuit. Having spent so many miles and years on fast, extreme yachts, both in the Northern and Southern Hempishere, she now enjoys being part of similar expeditions (although on somewhat slower ships).

Since 2009 she has been working as a tour guide, mainly in Europe and Africa, as well as zodiac driver in Svalbard and Greenland; she is drawn to places that offer both vast open space and astounding nature. When not enjoying her two favourite areas, the North and the South Pole, Mikaela enjoys being at home on her small farm in Portugal, riding her horse or hiking in the Alentejo countryside.

As another world traveler difficult to pin down, Mikaela could not be interviewed for the Maiden film.

Mikaela Von Koskull on Maiden's dream fulfilled:
"Having been brought up in a country that was rather equal-opportunity, I had decided, many years before Maiden, that racing big boats across the ocean was the thing I wanted to do-not because I'm a woman, but simply because it was my dream. We all just wanted the opportunity to do it. Maiden was really my steppingstone for a lifetime in sailing. Tracy made that happen."

Claire Russell - Sail Trimmer, Medic
Born in Birmingham, England, Claire studied medicine at the Royal Free Medical School in London. She began sailing as a university student, so was a keen but somewhat inexperienced sailor relative to the Maiden crew. When Claire heard an-all female crew was being put together and needed a doctor she signed up straight away.

During the race Claire showed incredible grace under pressure when two men fell overboard into the Southern Ocean on board 'Creighton's Naturally'. With Maiden being the closest boat to Creighton's, Claire took to the radio and talked the crew through emergency care for the two men once they had recovered them from the fatally cold ocean. Through Claire's instruction the Creighton's crew were able to save the life of one man, Bart Vandendway, but tragically were unable to save the other, Anthony Phillips, who perished on board.

Claire also met her future husband during the race, Peter Warren, a New Zealander who was racing on 'NBC Ireland'. In the years following the Whitbread, Claire continued to sail, travel and practice medicine, eventually specializing in Accident and Emergency Medicine in the UK. After their daughters were born in 1997 and 1999, Peter and Claire moved to New Zealand and Claire worked as a Rural General Practitioner and primary response doctor, also becoming a Fellow of the New Zealand College of General Practitioners.

Claire is presently a senior staff doctor in an 'Urgent Care' centre in Hamilton, New Zealand; a facility providing 24-hour accident and medical care to the population of Waikato area. They run a small equestrian facility and Peter runs a farm contracting business. Their eldest daughter Jessica is in her third year at Wellington University, NZ, and Leah is in her second university year in the United States on a sports scholarship.

Claire Russell on facing danger:
"If you send a whole load of 20-year-olds round the world doing high-profile dangerous sport, for lots of reasons there's potential that people could die. In truth, any doctor could have done what I did, talking the other boat through hypothermia treatment. We were close to Creighton's, we knew them. I had friends on that boat. So, my voice on the radio gave them permission to act. I was a step distanced from their desperate situation and awful emotions because I was on the end of a radio. A lot of medicine is just support. When we reached port, Bart came up and gave me a box of chocolates-it was wonderful!"

Amanda Swan Neal - Rigger
Amanda grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and sailed to North America as a teenager aboard a 38' sloop that she helped her parents build. She has spent her life on and around sailboats. She was rigger aboard Maiden, then in 1994 joined her future husband John Neal aboard Mahina Tiare II for a series of sail-training expeditions from NZ to Cape Horn and Antarctica. They still own and operate Mahina Expeditions, leading ocean sail-training expeditions worldwide aboard Mahina Tiare III and also present instructional sailing seminars at major boat shows worldwide.

Amanda is author of The Essential Galley Companion and Marine Diesel Engine Essentials - A Coloring and Learning Book created to help demystify engine systems, and since 2005, she has written the monthly Galley Essentials column in 48 North magazine. She and John write for four sailing magazines and submit cruising images to yachting journals.

Amanda's 335,00 miles of ocean sailing include two Sydney-Hobart Races, numerous international regattas and seven Cape Horn roundings intermixed with a ten-year involvement in tall ship sail-training. Amanda and John recently sailed from 80 degrees north, above Spitsbergen, to New Zealand. Mahina Tiare will be based in the South Pacific for the next five years.

Still based in New Zealand, Amanda enjoys introducing women to the joys of the cruising lifestyle and her personal interests include Celtic step dancing, photography, triathlon training and sewing.

Amanda is not interviewed in Maiden.

Amanda Swan Neal on the job of rigger:
"For me Maiden was a dream come true. I was the first woman in New Zealand to complete a sailmaker's apprenticeship and first woman rigger in the Southern Hemisphere, so it was fantastic to work and race aboard Maiden and hone my skills. My job as rigger on Maiden entailed taking care of the mast and rigging. I was responsible for keeping the mast up, ensuring that the standing rigging helped keep the mast up and that the running rigging was in order for controlling the sails. This entailed daily trips to the top of the mast for rig inspection and broken or tangled halyards. I'm proud I personally stuck the course, we didn't drop the mast, there were no major incidents, and that we were the first woman crew to race around the world-no one can ever take that away from us!"

Nancy Harris - Sail Trimmer, Deck Hardware
Born and bred in Hampshire, England, Nancy grew up in Hamble, the hub of England's boatbuilding and professional sailing circuit. Nancy began sailing singlehanded boats in her teens before beginning in offshore sailing.

In 1988 she had a chance meeting with Howard Gibbons on board a bus and she went along to meet Tracy Edwards that day and joined Maiden.

After the race finished, Nancy remained in Hampshire and enjoys life in the countryside with her husband, two daughters and several horses. Nancy Harris on the joys of dry land:

"When we screened the film, it was good to show my family a part of my life they really didn't know much about. It was wonderful to see how well everyone was, and to follow Tracy's projects, but I am happy with my feet on the ground and looking after my animals and garden. I've tried to instill in my children the values I learned from Maiden: don't give up. There is always a way of overcoming anything."

Angela Heath - Sail Trimmer
Irishwoman Angela worked as a secretary/receptionist in National Board for Science & Technology and six years in an insurance company until in 1989 a chance encounter with Tracy Edwards in a bar in Cork led to her competing in the Fastnet Race with the Maiden team. Tracy then invited her to join Maiden as Sail Trimmer for the 1989 race.

She continued to work in various administration roles until 1994 when she became a mum of two boys.

From 2001 to 2006 Angela worked as Office Manager in Viking Marine, Clothing & Marine

Specialists, Dun Laoghaire.
A change in career direction led her to join a doctor as Practice Manager in a newly established

GP practice. She remained in the medical industry until early 2017.

Angela lives in Dublin Bay with her family and friends. She also loves gardening, hill-walking, piano, snow-skiing and pottery.

Sarah Davies - Reserve Crew
Sarah served with the Woman's Royal Navy Service (WRNS) from 1982 and before going to Sandhurst to train as an Army Officer.

Having spotted a small advert in Yachts and Yachting for crew wanted for Maiden, with leave of absence granted by the Army, she joined the team as reserve crew nine months before the race. She completed one leg of the race from New Zealand to Australia in place of Sally Creaser. After the race, Sarah continued to race with the Army offshore team and racing a variety of other boats including their Nordic Folkboat.

She has lived and worked in Kiel, Germany, London, Suffolk and Cyprus. A brief foray away from sailing saw her working with one of the City of London Livery Companies, the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, which only served to encourage her two daughters' passion for riding, and she now spends her spare time, along with Simon her husband, as groom and horse transporter.

Sarah has three children, two who have sailed in the GBR Junior and Youth teams and the third who prefers to be on horseback.


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