The Maiden Factor Blog

Maiden is a Global Ambassador for the Empowerment of Girls through Education

From racing to a world tour! -By Liz Wardley

Renowned Skipper Liz Wardley joined Maiden as Skipper at the start of the ninth leg of the World Tour. The all-female crew are currently on their way to Antigua to continue raising funds and awareness for girls’ empowerment and education.

The Maiden crew stand smiling with a young fan. She is wearing a Maiden jacket which is much too large.
It’s always great making new friends at yacht clubs! ©THE MAIDEN FACTOR/AMALIA INFANTE

It’s been less than 2 weeks since I joined the mighty Maiden team and I’ve been to 3 different cities, been hosted by great yacht clubs, given talks and open boats, raised funds for girls’ empowerment and education and am now sitting at the nav station, 245nm out of San Diego, en route to Antigua via the Panama Canal.  

I just watched Maidens boat log tick over to 24,251NM. This is the distance she has travelled around the world since she was re launched after her extensive refit almost a year ago to the day and set off on her epic adventure.  I’ve only been a part of 370nm of that so far and am slowly learning the boat and getting to know the crew.

Three crew on deck at the rig. Belle stands leaning off the rig. Liz helps support the lines. Erica wears full foul weather gear.
The girls making sure all the fasteners are tight on the inboard end of our spinnaker pole. ©THE MAIDEN FACTOR/AMALIA INFANTE
Liz pumping petrol into Maiden
Time to refuel! 1000 litres in… ©THE MAIDEN FACTOR/AMALIA INFANTE

It’s very different to the kind of prep and sailing I am used to. We stocked fresh food in fridges – normally I am stacking freeze-dried. We put 700L of fresh water into tanks – normally I would be drying out the tanks to save weight and running the water maker once we were underway into our massive 40L tank.  We unpacked our sailing kit into a tub, one for each person – normally I would be weighing my gear to make sure it was under 7kg and fit in my dry bag, then it would get stacked in a bunk.  We set up our bunks – yep a bunk each, a sheet over the mattress, a pillow and a toasty warm sleeping bag – normally you would be conferring with your bunk buddy (as we normally hot bunk) establishing a few ‘bunk rules’ and rolling out your camp mattress.  We pumped 1000litres of diesel into the boat; normally I would be calculating the minimal fuel needed for the days at see and making sure we didn’t have any extra. A whole host of new experiences ahead of me!

Liz fishing off the side of Maiden
Even some time for some fishing! ©THE MAIDEN FACTOR/AMALIA INFANTE

We are sailing along at great speeds for Maiden under the big spinnaker and it looks like we should have these conditions for at least the next 48 hours, if not more.  Ticking off good miles towards the Panama Canal, which is another new thing for myself and the team.  I would have preferred to have gone around the bottom and discovered more of the coastline around Cape Horn as I’ve only ever raced past it, but the canal will also be a pretty amazing experience… but that’s literally a couple of weeks away.

Liz sleeping with stuffed toys

Time for me to crawl into my quarter berth and pretend I’m not enjoying the comfort!