Tracy Edwards

Copyright Chris Openshaw

Tracy Edwards gained international fame in 1990 as the skipper of the first all-female crew to sail around the world when they raced in the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race. After years of struggle, Maiden was only made possible by the support of her friend HM King Hussein I of Jordan. Maiden won two legs and came second overall in her class, the best result for a British boat since 1977 and unbeaten to this day. Tracy was awarded an MBE and became the first woman in its 34 year history to be awarded the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy. She paved the way for other women to follow. Maiden was published in 1990 and was No.1 on the Times bestseller list for 19 weeks. Following her success with Maiden, Tracy set to consolidate her position as one of the world's top sailors by entering Trophy Jules Verne in 1998 again with an all-female crew. This yachting trophy is for the fastest circumnavigation around the world with no stopping and no outside assistance. She was comfortably on course to smash the record for more than half of their route, but was thwarted when her mast snapped in two in treacherous seas off coast of Chile. During their attempt Tracy and her team broke 7 world records.

In 2014 Maiden was found rotting in the Seychelles and Tracy began raising funds in order to rescue Maiden and bring her home to the UK. The Maiden Factor was consequently set up to promote and fundraise for the education of 130 million girls worldwide who are currently denied this basic right. Thanks to the generous support of HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, Maiden has been restored to her former glory. Now this iconic piece of British maritime history has embarked on a three-year world tour to raise funds for her charity, The Maiden Factor Foundation. The Maiden Factor funds projects that empower girls through education.

3 words to describe Nature?

Everything. Us. Oceans

3 things Nature taught you?

Human beings are so arrogant to think we can control Nature

Nature holds the secrets that we refuse to see

Our souls and mental wellbeing are dependant upon the health of nature

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula

The Darwen Channel in Chile

Cape Horn

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Freedom and love

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Joy and peace

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Overawed and small

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?


When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Wild and exhilarated

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Happy and excited

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

The Ocean and the Desert make me feel the same. They are endless and wild. People cannot leave footprints and we cannot control them.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10 – nature is everything

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Moving from Reading in the centre of the UK to Llangennith on the Gower Peninsula. The first time I stood on the sand dunes during a storm and understood for the first time how powerful nature is and how tiny I am and yet how fully connected I felt to everything around me. It was the first time I ever tasted salt water blown on my face little knowing that it would not be the last. It literally took my breath away. I fell in love.

Elliot Connor

Elliot Connor is the founder of Human Nature Projects, a charity aiming to reconnect people to the planet, creating a conservation community which is both accessible and empowering to those involved. He is one of the 2019 Youth Ambassadors to CoalitionWILD, Regional Ambassador for Tunza Eco-Generation, the GARN Youth Circle and HundrED, Assistant Country Director for Global Peace Chain, Australian Country Mobiliser for the Youth for Our Planet movement, Ambassador to the Laurence Anthony Earth Organization and a recent addition to the Jane Goodall Institute Australia’s National Youth Leadership Council. 

Following a philosophy of taking every opportunity available, Elliot has spent countless hours volunteering on conservation initiatives in his local community and worldwide. Those organizations he has assisted include WWF, The Nature Conservation Council, The Wilderness Society, Birdlife International, Taronga Conservation Society, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Greater Sydney Landcare, Zoological Lighting Institute, In Focus Conservation, Project Drawdown and Save the Frogs amongst others. He also established and continues to run the only field naturalists group in the Sydney area. 

Throughout all of his work, Elliot seeks to act as a voice for biodiversity, for the environment- all of those downtrodden, unrepresented lifeforms which suffer at the hands of mankind’s advancement. He believes passionately that society as a whole must soon recognize its ties with the natural world and act on these if we are ever to achieve the prosperous future we all aspire towards. 

3 words to describe Nature?

Vital. Dynamic. Ubiquitous

3 things Nature taught you?

There’s no such thing as a free lunch

Everything is connected

Big things come in small packages

3 most treasured Nature spots?

My own back garden (practically a jungle)

Kruger NP, South Africa (a classic)

The infernal Aussie bush (it’s a love-hate relationship)

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?,

A chill of mixed fear and anticipation. I’m mostly a land-lubber myself.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Alive, awake, alert to the many small pleasures of life

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Angry. They really are very misunderstood.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Restless. Like I should be out there at these times when nature is most active.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Small. A few people could do with that more often!

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Sprightly. There’s little enough in terms of real weather Down Under that anything new is welcome.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Definitely a forest person. Believe it or not, Australia is not all desert!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

11. Perhaps it sounds slightly clichéd, but nature’s never followed any rules.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Well, I’m still a child in many ways, but I do have a good story or two. 5 or 6 years ago, my family was camped in a remote national park in the North of Botswana. I was making the long trek back from the toilet block when for whatever reason I turned around. There, bare metres behind me, was a leopard crouched low to the ground. Spooked by the torch beam, it moved off, but kept on circling our little clearing for hours afterwards. Parents weren’t too keen on these creatures after that, I’m still a leopard fan.