The Maiden Factor Blog

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Maiden departs from Sydney, heading to Auckland, on the next leg of the World Tour!

It’s farewell to Sydney… and see you soon Auckland! 

Skipper Wendy Tuck wears sunglasses and is surrounded by the crew. In the foreground fo the image, Belinda Henry holds the pink Maiden wheel.

With 1275 nautical miles to go, the crew will be sailing for approximately 7 days and sailing into the Viaduct Basin in Auckland, on the morning of Saturday, 4th of May.

People on dock wave goodbye to the Maiden yacht. People's hands are in the air, with a girl taking photos in the middle. In the background are buildings

A big thank-you to all our friends and supporters who came down to wave Maiden off, to those on the water that sailed alongside Maiden out past the Sydney Heads, and to the Cruising Yacht Club Of Australia who hosted Maiden whilst in Sydney!

The Maiden Yacht sails off with the crew waving. Flags fly from the front. Behind them are buildings. In front of them is the harbour.

As Maiden sets sail to Auckland, we are excited to share that Wendy Tuck has been joined by co-skipper, Sharon Ferris-Choat!

Sharon Ferris-Choat holds the Maiden wheel and smiles.

Sharon was a teenager heading for trouble when she discovered sailing. Starting in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Sharon watched Maiden race around the world with an incredible international team of women which inspired her and gave her the determination and belief that if they could do it, then maybe with a lot of hard work and determination so could she. Every opportunity to sail was taken, there was passion, a need for the camaraderie, adventure seeking and challenges to overcome.

Sharon has her arm around Alison, a new Maiden crew member. Maiden is behind them.

She wanted to race around the world but the opportunity to compete in the Europe Class at the Olympic Games came first; at the age of 22 she competed in Atlanta in 1996 finishing 5th, then in Athens 2004 with the Yngling placing 7th. She has raced three times around the world with over 97,000 offshore miles. Firstly, as part of Tracy Edwards’ first all-female crew to attempt the Jules Verne non-stop around the world, then the Volvo Ocean Race.

All the Maiden crew stand in a line. In the middle is Rear Commander Janey Trevelean, holding a trophy and a photo of Maiden. Everyone is smiling.

In 2005 Sharon was part of the winning team in the Oryx Quest (non-stop around the world in 62 days) becoming the 1st women alongside Karine Fauconnier to win around the world race. With Tracy on Royal & Sun Alliance and Maiden II, Sharon was part of the World Record team that broke and set several World Sailing Speed Records.

Maiden sails into the distance, with other yachts surrounding her. The sky and sea are bright blue.

Sharon is currently the skipper of Thalassa Magenta Racing being the 1st skipper of the all-female team in the Extreme Sailing Series 2016 racing the GC32’s, also winning the Lisbon Sea Sustainable Award. On the GC32 Racing Tour she was the only women racing as a sailor being the Skipper of Armin Strom Racing Team in Palma placing 2nd at the event and the team manager who finished 3rd overall on the GC32 Racing Tour.

Maiden is on the dock, with the crew on board. They are getting read y to leave.

In 2018, she skippered Ave Gitana, a Crowther 45-foot Tri (solar powered for battery, electronics and engine) with a female crew. Sharon and her team won Hamilton Islands Race Week Multihull Islands Racing Division and took home the Gun Boat Trophy by winning the most races over the line throughout all divisions. Finished 2nd in the Groupama Race (Round New Caledonia), Brisbane to Keppel Race and The Magnetic Islands Race Week.