Racing yacht Maiden making waves in the Port City | RiseNB

Racing yacht Maiden making waves in the Port City

After a red-carpet welcome to the Port City that included big crowds, tugboat water shows, and a 30-vessel welcome flotilla, the all-female-crewed racing yacht Maiden is launching a week of activities in Saint John.

Maiden, a compact and speedy 58-foot sailboat, is travelling the world promoting girls’ education and motivating women to enter careers in S.T.E.A.M. — science, technology, engineering, art, and math. The money raised by the Maiden Factor goes toward girls’ educational programmes around the globe.

Maiden, skippered by Liz Wardley, who grew up on fishing boats in Papua New Guinea and did her first around-the-world race at age 20, will be in Port Saint John until Aug. 13 hosting a variety of educational events including partnerships with local community groups, and open boat days. (Julia Wright/CBC)

It might not be immediately obvious to landlubbers — but sailing requires mathematical problem-solving skills and scientific concepts, said Maiden Factor founder and project manager Tracy Edwards, who will speak at a ticketed event at the Union Club on Aug. 10. 

“There’s navigation, which is maths. Science has a lot to do with how you put sails up, how the wind angles work, all of those other things,” Edwards told CBC in a July interview. 

“Through sailing we can demonstrate — in a fun way, in an out-of-the-classroom kind of way — how all of these skills can be used.”

The all-female crew of the Maiden, which launched in January from Dubai on a three-year journey around the world. (Smbmitted by The Maiden Factor/Aren Hemmings)

Saint John is the Maiden’s only Canadian stop. The vessel will remain in port until Aug. 13.

Events include a visit with Able Sail, a non-profit organization providing the experience of sailing to people living with a disability, a crew talk with the Saint John’s Learning Exchange-Women’s Empowerment Network, activities with Brilliant Labs and the Saint John Boys and Girls Club, an evening regatta with learn-to-sail students at the Royal Kennebecasis yacht club, and a stop at the Sea Shanty Festival in St. Martins. 

Raising the jib on the Maiden. (Julia Wright/CBC)

The public can take open boat tours Saturday, Aug. 6 and Sunday, Aug. 7.

Maiden made headlines and history around the world in 1989-1990 when the first all-woman crew competed in the Whitbread Round the World Race. Purchased by Edwards and refitted in 2017, Maiden was relaunched as an educational vessel. 

In January, the boat embarked from Dubai on a three-year, 90,000-nautical-mile journey sponsored by DP World, which operates a large multi-purpose terminal in Saint John. 

Maiden crew member Junella King enjoys the first glimpse of clear skies over Saint John on an otherwise densely foggy Thursday morning. (Julia Wright/CBC)

After the New Brunswick stop, Maiden and its crew will head to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Newport, R.I., and Nantucket, Mass. before heading to the Azores, Senegal, Cape Town and beyond. 

A full schedule of events is available on Port Saint John’s social media channels.

Maiden’s world tour concludes in December 2024.

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