The Maiden Factor Blog

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

Sailing as a force for change!

All photographs ©The Maiden Factor/Jen Edney

Yesterday, Rozalia Project, The Maiden Factor and Impossible Dream joined forces to discuss sailing as a force for good, in education, access and the environment. The panel included The Maiden Factor’s Erica Lush; Deborah Mellen, Founder of Impossible Dream and Rachael Z. Miller, Founder of Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean/Cora Ball. It was hosted by Kate Neubauer, Rozalia Project’s Board President, and the panelists and their organisations are making an impact in the Newport community and beyond.

Erica Lush, Rachael Miller and Deborah Mellon

The panel members were asked about using their vessels & sailing for change. Here are their answers!

Erica Lush / The Maiden Factor Skipper: “I think I touched on this a little already because we aren’t trying to make every girl we meet a professional sailor – we are trying to use it to widen their imaginations for what’s possible for themselves so that’s a big aspect of why our vessel is relevant. The vessel Maiden is famous for having been the first all female team to race around the world in 1989/90, so we bring that heritage with us, it adds an element of pride and inspiration to our project that we couldn’t do without.”

Maiden Skipper Erica Lush shares her views

Rachael Miller / Founder of Rozalia Project: “My husband and I, when we founded Rozalia Project we first looked at a troller to tell you the truth! We looked at an old troller that was up in Canada and we were like, “oh, the lab, the lab is going to be amazing in this humungous boat!” And then we worked out the math on the fuel, we looked at each other and said “we’re sailors, I think this needs to be a sail boat.” And not only that but it is pretty awesome! We keep track of the hours that we motorsail and the hours that we sail, and while we aren’t just only sailing it’s on message for us. It’s part of a consistent message of trying to do what we can to reduce the footprint – we wouldn’t have been able to do that in a motorboat and so for us it’s consistent and honestly it brings us joy.”

Deborah Mellon / Founder of The Impossible Dream: “I would say the same about bringing joy. So, a little about me, I was not a sailor, I never sailed before my injury, my accident and I learned to sail at Shake-A-Leg Miami. My surgeon brought me there and I found joy and freedom in being out on the water. You know, the wind and the water… and I found joy and freedom in that and I wanted to keep on doing it. The Impossible Dream was sort of a whim. I found out it was for sale and I knew I was able to do it and I went to see it. I didn’t know what was going to happen but what did, through sailing, through being out in the wind and experiencing my joy, and then having the joy of bringing it to others, it enabled me to bring the story everywhere. The story about people with disabilities on the water, people need to be on the water… the water brings, you know it’s scientific what the water brings to our brains and talking about design, it’s a perfect platform.”

Deborah Mellon, Founder of the Impossible Dream with Maiden crew and friends after the panel