Thursday, April 18, 2024

Tracy Edwards MBE: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

The Steeple Times asks round the world sailor Tracy Edwards: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

“If you are not wet and cold you are not going fast enough”. That may not apply to being in London but the basic principle seems to work.


“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

“The definition of success is the ability to move from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” – Sir Winston Churchill.


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2015?

The new and horrific spectacle of watching women who dare voice an opinion on Twitter being threatened with rape.


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

Well, I do sometimes miss being out on the ‘blue saucer’. This is when you are on the ocean and you cannot see land. Everything makes more sense out there. The ocean doesn’t stab you in the back or lie to you. It is trying to kill you and it is disarmingly honest about it.


What might you swap all your wealth for?

My daughter’s guaranteed health and happiness for the whole of her life.


Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

I am sick of watching a very few greedy individuals within banking creating a situation where the poor and vulnerable are forced to endure the closing of the basic services for which they pay their taxes.


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

“We don’t do it like that”.


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

Charity begins at home of course but when we are strong enough we should always help others. I believe we should allocate 50% of our international aid budget to training young unemployed to work for international aid charities. We would use the money twice and have more control over exactly who we help.


The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

I find it really difficult to understand people who cannot be without their phone and have to check it every five seconds. The use of a mobile whilst in company or in conversation drives me nuts. It’s so rude.


Tracy Edwards
Tracy Edwards MBE


If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

Sir Ernest Shackleton, Sir Winston Churchill, Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett GBE, Richard Burton (the explorer not the actor), Benjamin Franklin, Violette Szabo GC, Elizabeth Fry, Rosa Parks – and as everyone I admire appears to be no longer with us I’d have my mother and father as well please. If I could have a second carriage it would be the entire Monty Python team and Genesis.


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

A Jordanian meze with a few bottles of Red Stripe on Rendezvouz Beach in Antigua.


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

The international law for sailors dictates that you must have consumed a Red Stripe by 10am, a Mount Gay before dinner. When the sun is over the yardarm (in at least one country somewhere), combinations of both (with the addition of wine) are to flow freely.


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

I refer you to my previous answer.


Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

When in the UK, I love Liz Brewer’s parties because the guest list is always eclectic and fun. If I am allowed to travel for this question, I would add any party which starts in the Antigua Yacht Club, moves to the Mad Mongoose and finishes in Life on The Corner.


Who is the most positive person you know?

My late mother. She was the driving force behind Maiden and never let me give up. She most certainly passed to me the absolute inability to give up on anything. This is not always a good trait though.


What’s your most guilty pleasure?

Spending a few hours in Stanfords, the map and travel book shop in Covent Garden. Actually, I could quite happily just live there.


If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

I actually celebrated my mid-life crises by getting a tattoo at a parlour in Sydney, Australia. And that is all I am going to say about that…


If you were a car, what marque would you be?

An Aston Martin DB5: Small, classic and feisty and featuring many hidden facilities with which to ensure survival.


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

I can’t swim and I get seasick: There had to be a downside to having so much fun doing my job!


What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

My trophies. Whenever I worry that I am not going to succeed at something, they remind me that nothing is impossible.


Tracy Edwards skippered the first all-female crew to sail around the world in 1990. Maiden completed the Whitbread Round the World Race in second place and achieved the best for a British boat since 1977. This record remains unbeaten. She became the first woman to win the Yachtsman of the Year, won Sportswoman of the Year, was awarded an MBE and the Royal Jordanian Air Force Wings. In 1998, she skippered the first all-female crew to attempt to sail round the world non-stop and broke seven records on the way. She then managed Maiden II, the first mixed gender professional racing team, and staged the first ever round the world race to start and finish in the Middle East in 2005. Edwards is now in the process of rescuing Maiden and plans to bring her back to the UK for a twenty-fifth anniversary celebration.


Follow Tracy Edwards on Twitter at @TracyEdwardsMBE.



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