Tracy Edwards MBE (born 5 September 1962) is a British sailor. In 1989 she skippered the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, becoming the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy and was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire. She is also a best-selling author.
Edwards spent her early years in Pangbourne with dreams of becoming a ballet dancer like her mother, but began to get into trouble after the death of her father when she was 10 and her subsequent relocation with her mother and stepfather to Wales. Sent back packing across Europe at the age of 16 after her expulsion from school to get her away from negative peer influence, she signed on as a stewardess of a yacht in Piraeus and found a new passion.
Edwards wound up serving several positions, including deckhand and first mate, before entering her first Whitbread in the 1985–1986 competition. She began with the Norsk Data GB and in the second leg became cook aboard the Atlantic Privateer. Based on the small ratio of women in the crew–five out of 200–she determined to enter in 1989 with an entirely female crew. In a 2006 interview, she told The Guardian that she encountered considerable resistance, but persisted in recruiting a 12-woman crew, and her 10-year-old 58-foot yacht, Maiden, wound up second in its class, winning two out of six individual legs of the race. Edwards, who had taken out loans to buy the boat, sold it after the race. In 1990, she detailed her story in the Simon & Schuster book, Maiden, co-authored with Tim Madge. Her effort to better the Whitbread accomplishment in a female-crew bid for the Jules Verne trophy in 1998 ended when bad weather broke the mast of her ship near Chile.
Thereafter, Edwards started a family and began managing sailing programs, beginning with Maiden II in 2000 and the Oryx Quest in 2005 in Qatar. This was the first time a round the world race has started and finished in the Middle East based in Doha. After the successful event which saw four of the fastest multihulls race around the world, Edwards was forced into bankruptcy. She had personally borrowed £8m from the bank to help fund the event, personally paying each boat $1milion to enter the race, putting up her home as collateral, on the strength of a £6m sponsorship agreement. However, the sponsor dissolved during the event and did not provide the promised funds. Edwards was unable to repay the loan. She left sailing and went to work for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)as Project Manager for their International Youth Advisory Congress. Upon completion she attended Roehampton University and took a degree (2:1) in psychology. She continued with her motivational speaking and became a life coach.
In 2013, she began teaching Internet Safety and Online Reputation to children and parents and works in schools and with youth groups. In 2014, Edwards discovered that Maiden was abandoned in poor condition in a marina in the Indian Ocean. She launched a successful public bid for funding to save the ship, with the intent to re-enact its Whitbread run before putting it in charitable use and displaying it in British maritime museums. Maiden returned to Southampton aboard a cargo ship, the Roll Dock Sky, on April 24th 2017. Tracy Edwards and four of her Whitbread campaign crewmates were present to be reunited with their old boat and take her into Hamble where she will be restored.
- Price, Oliver (1 October 2006). "Triumph and despair: Tracy Edwards". Observer Sport Monthly. Guardian Media Group.
- Edwards, Tracy (4 October 2001). Living Every Second. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0340770436.
- Helliker, Adam (15 June 2014). "Tracy Edwards' mission to save a fair Maiden". Express.
- Phillips, Tricia (27 September 2012). "Wave of success: Round-the-world yachtswoman Tracy Edwards on bouncing back from redundancy". Mirror.
- "Chapter 16 – Maiden voyage". Roaring Forties. Volvo Ocean Race, S.L.U. 12 June 2014.
- Robison, Julian (12 June 2014). "Tracy Edwards' bid to save boat that carried her round the world on historic voyage after it is found rotting on an island in the Indian Ocean". Daily Mail.
- Edgar, James (12 June 2014). "Yachtswoman Tracy Edwards launches bid to save decaying boat – 25 years on". The Telegraph.
- Edwards, Tracy; Madge, Tim (1990). Maiden. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-71027-9.
- Hodgetts, Laura (3 July 2014). "‘Maiden is coming home’ thanks to £44,215 crowd funding". Practical Boat Owner.
- Edwards, Tracy (24 April 2017). "Maiden is home - at last...".