Tracy Edwards won international fame in 1989 as the skipper of the first all-female crew to sail around the world in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race. The boat won two legs and came second overall in her class. The best result for a British boat since 1977.
In 1990 Tracy was awarded Sportswoman of the Year and an MBE. She was the first woman to achieve acceptance by the British yachting community and paved the way for other women, notably Dawn Riley and Ellen MacArthur to follow.
Following her groundbreaking success with Maiden, Tracy set to consolidate her position as one of the world’s top sailors by entering Trophy Jules Verne in 1998 with the Royal SunAlliance boat, again with an all-female crew. This yachting trophy is for the fastest circumnavigation around the world with no stopping and no outside assistance. Tracy and her crew broke seven world records during their two-year programme. One of these, the Channel Record was the fastest ocean record in the world for three years. She was well on course for the record for more than half of their route, but was thwarted by treacherous seas off the coast of Chile and her mast snapped in two. Tracy and her crew managed to sail the stricken yacht to Chile. It took 16 days to cover some 2000 miles to shore, with no outside assistance.
Tracy retired from round-the-world sailing two years later when pregnant with her daughter Mackenna, and decided to turn her attention to managing sailing projects for her team. In 2001 she acquired Maiden II, the fastest catamaran in the world and she and her team set about breaking records, including the Everest of sailing records, the 24-hour record, and their own Channel record.
Tracy dedicates a large amount of her time to charity. Her three main charity commitments are to the NSPCC as an Ambassador and in particular working with Childline where she is training to be a volunteer counsellor and CEOP (Children’s Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) working with the Youth Advisory Board. She is patron of The Ahoy Centre which teaches disadvantaged youngsters to sail and Ambassador of One Parent Families which gives free advice and help to single parents. She is also involved with The Lady Taverners, The Prince’s Trust, Emmaus and The Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme. Tracy’s tumultuous childhood has given her a unique way to contribute to the organisations she helps and she is passionately committed to giving youngsters a second chance. Sailing gave Tracy a future at a time in her life when things could have gone badly wrong and now she uses that experience to help others.
American Aerospace Engineer & Space Scientist,
Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Next Women Leaders