Maiden crew members Vuyisile Jaca, Junella King and Maryama Seck have made history by becoming the first black female crew members to race around Cape Horn

Maiden and her all-female crew are no strangers to making history.

In the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Tracy Edwards and her team broke glass ceilings by becoming the first all-female crew to take part in a round the world yacht race.

This week, three of Maiden‘s current crew have also broken barriers.

Vuyisile Jaca, 25, from South Africa, Junella King, 23, from Antigua and Maryama Seck, 33, from France have become the first black female crew members to race around Cape Horn while taking part in Leg 3 of the retro Ocean Globe Race.

A group of women standing on the deck of a yacht

Making history: Vuyisile Jaca, Maryama Seck and Junella King. Credit: The Maiden Factor/Kaia Bint Savage

At 23, Junella is the youngest black woman to achieve this feat.

They join the small number of women sailors on the Cape Honers list.

Vuyisile and Junella joined Maiden’s ‘Apprentice’ programme when Maiden was on her World Tour to gain more ocean sailing experience and develop the characteristics fostered aboard Maiden: self-belief, determination, resilience, resourcefulness, kindness and respect for others.

Both excelled and were offered permanent crew positions for the Ocean Globe Race; Maryama joined Maiden in Cape Town, the first time she has sailed with an all female crew.

“When we raced around the world and proved so many wrong, we were ecstatic that we had helped change the face of sailing,” said Tracy Edwards.

“However, during our World Tour, we realised there was still so much more to do to make sailing accessible to women and girls from different ethnicities, backgrounds and cultures. I am so incredibly proud that, once again, Maiden is breaking barriers and showing what women and girls can achieve if given a chance.”

Maiden: a force for good

Edwards rescued the 58-ft Bruce Farr-designed Maiden from the Seychelles, where the yacht was discovered, abandoned in 2014. She had been forced to sell the yacht after the 1989-90 race.

Now a new idea took hold. Edwards decided to bring the yacht back to the UK and refit and sail her again for a single aim:to promote the importance of education for girls around the world.

The Maiden Factor was born to continue the battle for equality for the next generation; raising awareness and funds for charities and communities around the world to ensure that girls have access to education whatever their background to enable them to follow their dreams and build better futures.

Continues below…

A 18-month World Tour followed, with the crew sailing 22,000nm to 22 destinations in 13 countries, engaging with girls, schools and communities and raising money for girls’ education programmes.

Now Maiden is the only all-female crew taking part on the 2023 Ocean Globe Race, where teams have to race in the spirit of the original 1973 Whitbread Race, using no high-tech gear and navigating by paper charts and sextant.

The Maiden factor crew for leg 3 of the ocean globe race

The Maiden crew for Leg 3 from Auckland to Punta Del Este. Credit: Kaia Bint Savage/ The Maiden Factor.

Currently, Maiden is in third place, with just over 1,000 miles left to reach Punta del Este in Uruguay, just 44 hours behind Leg 3 leaders, Pen Duick VI, which is being skippered by Breton skipper Marie Tabarly.

Second-placed Translated 9 is currently sailing towards the Falkland Islands for urgent repairs after being forced to divert when their Swan 65 suffered hull damage overnight.

Positions of the 2023 Ocean Globe Race fleet – Leg 3: Auckland to Punta del Este at 1600 UTC on 09 February 2024. These positions will change under the IRC rating. Line honours are shown below. 

Pen Duick VI (France)
Translated 9 (Italy)
Maiden (UK)
Spirit of Helsinki (Finland)
Neptune (France)
Triana (France)
L’Esprit d’Equipe (France)
Galiana with Secure (Finland)
White Shadow (Spain)
Outlaw (Australia)
Evrika (France)
Sterna (South Africa)
Explorer (Australia)

Godspeed (USA)

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