Tracy Edwards MBE is a yachtswoman who made history in 1989 after skippering the first all-female crew around the world in the beloved boat, Maiden in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race. The boat went on to win two legs and come second overall in her class. In the same year, Edwards was the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year Award.
Edwards is currently working on her third book and speaks in the public on issues such as Outstanding Teamwork, Effective Leadership, Winning Ways, Doing Business in Qatar, Recovering From Defeat and Ensuring Your Child’s Online Reputation.
Tracy is currently in the process of rescuing her old boat Maiden from the pirate infested waters of the Indian Ocean.
What has been your biggest achievement as an athlete?
Creating the first all-female crew to sail or race around the world is my biggest achievement. Just getting to the start line seemed to be impossible when we started and there were hurdles placed before us at every step of the way. Overcoming them and focusing on what we were trying to achieve was tough but we did it.
Can you pin point any key milestones or significant memories in your sporting career?
Everything we achieved with Maiden was something to be proud of but winning the 2nd and 3rd legs of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race was indescribable. This really was when the male crews accepted us as equals after three years of struggle. Coming 2nd overall was the crowning glory for us and this is still the best result for a British boat since 1977.
Do you consider yourself to be a role model?
I hope that I have shown what women can achieve of course but more than that, as I was so useless in school and had such a shaky start in life, I hope that I can be an example of what you can achieve if given a second chance. Every young person deserves a second chance.
Have there been key figures that have influenced and/or inspired you?
Through thick and thin, my mother always believed in me, even when I was going off the rails. My father died when I was ten and I watched my mother battle on. She was a major influence on me and proved to me that you should never give up. Her mother (my grandmother) was also a force to be reckoned with and both inspired me.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be successful in any industry?
Never, ever, ever, give up. Every failure is just another lesson and every victory is a reminder of your determination and focus. Focus on each step of the way, pay attention to details and always show your team how much you appreciate them. Be swift to act if someone in your team is destructive and never be afraid to act decisively.
How does your normal day start and end?
Well now I am writing my third book I am lucky enough to work from home so I set my own schedule. I get my daughter to school and then write until lunchtime – I always set myself a word count to achieve. I walk the dog at lunchtime which clears my head and fills my lungs and then I write till my daughter gets home. I enjoy cooking so we try and eat healthily and these days evenings are mostly quiet!
What is next for you? What are your plans for the future?
At the moment I am rescuing my old boat Maiden from the Indian Ocean where she has been dumped. We are currently fundraising to get her home to the UK where she will become an Ambassador for Girls’ Rights to an Education. I threw my education away and now I know there are 65 million girls in the world who do not have access to an education I want to do what I can to help.