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ONE WEEK – life aboard Maiden. A blog post from Sharon Ferris-Choat.

Maiden co-skipper, Sharon Ferris-Choat from New Zealand has been writing short blogs from onboard Maiden every day this leg. We’ve put them together below, along with some great photos from Amalia Infante.

S35′ 52.281
E 176′ 48.707

Heading 009
Wind speed 7.4 knots
Direction 355′
Seas flat with a building swell

Conditions on board are very quiet, everyone has taken the first 24 hours to settle in, gain their sea legs back and get all the final jobs lists done. 

Three sailors aboard a yacht. Camera angle is close to the deck, looking up. They are putting out the sails. The sail is blue and white. Behind, the sky is cloudy.
“First day motoring and finally getting a little breeze. Maiden is sailing!” ©THE MAIDEN FACTOR/AMALIA INFANTE

As we are motor sailing, everyone has had a chance to get some sleep and we are searching for wind! It was chilly last night so had a lovely dinner and lots of soup! Now off to bed!

A lady chops yellow peppers. She is looking at the camera. She is standing in the yacht's galley, which is small and has lots of cooking equipment and vegetables on the sides.
Soup preparation onboard Maiden! ©THE MAIDEN FACTOR/AMALIA INFANTE


Heading 083′
Weather Overcast, flat seas
TWS 11.5 knots
Speed 8 knot
TWD 030′
On port tack

We have spent the last 24 hours trying to get East, we saw another boat from Opua who is also trying to get East to go to Tonga. We are between to top of NZ and the Kermadec Islands. I was seasick last night which wasn’t great, I got too hot downstairs but hopefully that is over now. 

A sailor in a red jacket works on deck. Behind, the skipper, also in a red jacket, holds the wheel. She is looking up at the boom, which has the charity stickers attached,

OK – now I have my 6 hour afternoon shift, before the 4 on 4 off through the night and then 6 on tomorrow morning followed by 6 hours off tomorrow afternoon! All good on board, the food coming out of the galley is amazing and my Pic’s peanut butter on toast is waiting for me. Yummy!!


Speed 7.1 knots
Heading 000′
Waves 1.5m 
TWS 12.1 knots
NZ time 12:43pm

We are time travellers! Today we are reliving yesterday, as yesterday at 2pm NZ time we crossed the International Date Line. Tuesday started all over again!!!

Finally we had some exercise with a sail change from the J2 to J3 (Big Jib to Small Jib) and had way too many layers of clothing on. That with a tack on the watch change we are heading 000′ to warmer weather!!

A sailors on Maiden is working with ropes on deck. She wears reflective blue sunglasses and warm clothing.
Lots of layers. Onto warmer weather! ©THE MAIDEN FACTOR/AMALIA INFANTE

Still need to work East but getting there, very interesting weather to get around which is making it great for learning. 

All the best from the legendary Maiden,


Wind Direction, Still Beating! Yep Justin you are right!
TWS 18.5 knots
Boat speed 8.2 Knots
Sail J3 small jib and 2 reefs
Waves 1.5m

Just had a huge 4 hour sleep, still waking up. All good on board, life downstairs is at a constant 45′ which makes hanging on a proirity!

Four images in a grid. Top left - skipper works and deck in foul weather gear, working on a sail. Top right - waves splash to Maiden's right. Hands are in the foreground holding sail ties. Bottom left - the sail through the trapdoor. Bottom left - a sailor looks down below deck to check the sail is down.

Wind expected to westerly direction this afternoon which will allow for more pleasant conditions and gaining to the East, which we need for the NE trade winds. 

Everyone getting on well and looking after each other!


Boat speed 9.2 knots
Wind Speed 16.2 knots
Wind direction 289′ From Behind!!!!!!!

Finally the westerly has come in that we have been talking about for the last 4 days! Bex thought I was lying! So we are sailing downwind. 

Maiden is flat and we are doing some jobs plus, it is time for the Royal weekly shower now on my off watch!

Two sailors lean against the string fence around Maiden's edge. Behind is the cloudy sky and dark sea.
Wendy and Tash discussing the wind. ©THE MAIDEN FACTOR/AMALIA INFANTE

We had an interesting squall last night that put us sideways for a few moments, everyone was awake and I tested my dressing skills to help with a reef. The Maiden girls worked well together to sort everything into order very quickly, I left them to it and woke up to a beautiful day!

Now need work on the downwind steering and helping the girls with a few tips. Mostly it is confidence and encouragement that they can do it. We have got the miles to practice!

OK, very excited about my 1st shower of this trip, finally see my feet and boy the socks cannot go back in my box. They need a serious wash!

All the very best from a flat warming up Maiden heading north at a good pace!


Boat speed 10 knots
Wind Direction 280′
Wind speed 18.8 knots
Waves 1m

If you could write about dream sailing we are living it right now!

We have warm wind, sun with a few interesting clouds to keep us on our toes and learn how they are going to affect us: will the wind drop out or will it pick up. Last night the moon was sharing enough light to make it feel like someone had left the light on and we could pick our waves and sail nicely down them. 

A sailor sits onboard Maiden, at a strong angle. She has to keep one leg outstretched to hold herself up. She is strapped in. The sky behind is dramatic, with bright and dark areas and a range of cloud types.
Thumbs up! Dream sailing conditions? ©THE MAIDEN FACTOR/AMALIA INFANTE

Bex had cooked a yummy curry dinner that was the 1st time she has cooked for 9 people let alone on a boat, Courtney sorted her generator who was behaving badly a few days ago and Jo just never sleeps and is always helping fix or sail the boat. Wendy is all over our East waypoint and how we can cross the equator in the best position to make the most out of the NE Trades on the other side. Amalia is her glorious self and just cares about everyone and is becoming a really good driver. She handled one of the black cloud cells like a pro that she is! Another one who is hungry to learn as much as she can and put it to practice.

Belle has us eating so well that I was hoping by now my mummy tummy would have had signs of getting flatter but no, the food is too good! Nat is on the opposite watch to me and I don’t really see her apart form the hi and bye as she goes off watch. I heard her laughing from my bunk yesterday, it always makes me smile when the Maiden Mile builders are having fun!
Tash has really wanted to gain confidence in her driving and we are working on that, I am getting her to drive now when she would normally say “no, maybe later” and prove to her that she can do it! She really wants to learn so she can handle the boat when she goes offshore with her family and is asking lots of good questions and then putting them to good use. Fantastic to watch the experience of miles and miles pay off, you cannot get it any another way. 

For me I am happy how we prepared for a 30 knots cloud that came through after the moon went down and it became pretty black just before dawn. It made the wind decrease for a while and we were talking about taking the reef out, but we read the cloud height and colour well and were rewarded in some fast sailing in the right direction. With everyone in position trimming their sails, we felt like a race boat!

It's a dark morning on Maiden, with the early night casting shadows across the deck.

Now about to do my 6 hours on watch. I wasn’t a huge fan of this at the beginning as I was worried that 6 hours would be too long in the cold, but it was never that cold. Now I love the extra hours so you can do personal care and updates in the extra time. My shower yesterday was amazing and I don’t smell myself anymore, always a good move!

Love to you all from a happy sailing fast in the right direction Maiden!


Boat speed 7.1 knots with engine!
Wind direction 248′
Wind speed 3.4 knots
Sea flat with a little rolling swell

What a beautiful 24 hours, we had a ‘moonbow‘ that only happens when the sun and the moon are at a perfect angle to each other. The first one I saw with my family a few years ago, we sailed right through this one!! 


Saw our first flying fish and the water is a beautiful deep blue colour. Bex and Courtney are trying to get the fishing rod to work.

Just had a watch of cleaning up the deck and checking everything for the next wind window in 152 miles time. We had the news that there was a earthquake at the Kermadac Island that are 600 miles away, I hope that this does not do any damage anywhere. Out here we will only get a .3m wave or 2. 

It is warmer, the shoes are back on and the boots are at the back of the cupboard and the layers are moving to sun protection clothing instead of warmth and wet weather gear. 

While it is flat I need to send Bex up the rig, so she can do a rig check, all in the name of preparation!

Love to everyone, sending you some sun from S26′ South of the Cook Islands!