Cold Climate Sailing

An Interview with sailing icon Tracey Edwards

Why is Tracey Edwards patron of our Arctic Sailing Expeditions?

Debbie Purser from Classic Sailing went to an special evening in London on 30th November 2023 to find out why Tracey Edwards felt the Resolute Expeditions and Ocean Warrior Project were so important. She also went to the event because it was a chance to meet one of her first sailing heroes.

Who is Tracey Edwards?

For those that are not of the same generation as Debbie (aged mid 50’s), this is why Tracey Edwards is such an icon to women sailors in particular.

IN 1989 Tracy Edwards captained the very first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round-the-World Yacht Race. Up against huge pessimism (“you are all going to die” because you are a bunch of women), cynicism and downright aggressive opposition she showed the whole world that women were equals, if not betters, than their male counterparts. Simply to sail 33,000 miles in the World’s toughest oceans over a nine month period is endurance enough but to race and beat the men in the toughest leg, the Southern Ocean was incredible. They won 2 legs and came second overall.

She was the ground breaker of her era for female skippers, female racers and any extreme sport where women were thought not strong and hardy enough.

Why Tracey supports the Ocean Warrior Project as Patron

“The Oceans have been my life since I was a teenager. I love the awesome beauty, the serenity, the frenetic chaos and the overwhelming power. To think that we as humans have taken advantage of and abused our oceans to the point of serious damage is horrifying. Which is why I was honoured when Jim and Sam asked me to be Patron of their critically important project.

Over the next 11 years Ocean Warrior will train ordinary people from all walks of life and many nations to benchmark, measure, and monitor – ground-truth – exactly what is happening for our partner scientific organisations.

What’s more they will do this by the power of wind, teaching the participants to sail in the process.

This by anyone’s standards is an extraordinary endeavour and I’m so delighted to help them in any way I can.”

Tracey Edwards MBE – Round the World yachtswoman and founder of the Maiden Project

What was it like to meet Tracey Edwards?

She was also there to talk about her charity The Maiden Project, which again is all about using sailing as a vehicle for change. In this case the mission is almost as enormous as trying to save the oceans. She is trying to make education available to all women, all over the world. What Debbie learned from talking to Tracey after the interview was that we can all make a difference. Mile by mile, sail change by sail change, by participating in a bigger mission. Her advice was to not look too long at the enormity the problem, just keep plugging away and never give up.

In her lifetime she is just a tiny 5ft 2 woman, and look what Tracey Edwards has achieved in the last 35 years.

I felt like we were soul sisters, which is probably why she is so successful at connecting with people and inspiring them. You can feed off her strength, but also she admits her vulnerabilities.

Debbie Purser – Tallulah Skipper & Classic Sailing Co founder
Ocean Warrior Project Fact Sheet

How do I apply?

We hope this inspires you to jump on board and sign up for a Resolute Expedition in 2024. The shortest are only 3 weeks, but you could chose to be in Svalbard, or sailing from Iceland around the tip of Greenland, or looking for Narwhals North of Nuuk, or perhaps a longer expedition though part of the north West Passage.

See the expedition legs below. Prices start at £5900 and include Henri Lloyd kit, training in sailing and STCW2010 qualifications, polar expedition skills and a unique chance to work with oceanographers, marine biologists, climate scientists, film makers. Network with some of the environmental movers and shakers and it might just launch your career or give you a new direction at the end of an existing career.

Cant afford an expedition?

If you desperately want to do it but cant afford it, then there are opportunities to still sign up and try and raise your voyage fees through sponsorship. The founders of Ocean Warrior have been running polar expeditions on foot your years, so they can offer training in raising sponsorship. Warrior Selection Weekends have been replaced by a Zoom interview with guidance on fundraising, there is no charge for this.

more information

Back to Ocean Warrior Project page

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