Tracy Edwards and Maiden (A): Background
In 1989, Tracy Edwards, at age 26, led the first all-female crew in the prestigious and grueling 59,264-kilometre (32,000 nautical mile) Whitbread Round the World Race. Edwards had developed a deep love for sailing in general and for the Whitbread Round the World Race in particular. However, she soon found that it was impossible, as a woman, to participate as a fully integrated member of a crew. Hence, she sought to organize an all-female team to compete in the race. She located, bought, and restored an old racing yacht, which eventually was christened Maiden. The idea of a team of women racing in the Whitbread Round the World Race was unthinkable to many men in and around the world of yacht racing, so the backlash was predictable and intense, and the hurdles to successfully complete the race seemed insurmountable. This six-part case series chronicles the myriad challenges faced by Edwards and her colleagues before and during the race, including rampant sexism and misogyny. Each of the six cases sets the stage for the next challenge Edwards has to overcome.