PORT TOWNSEND — The Maiden stopped in Port Townsend for a a short stopover before its next port in San Francisco and was greeted by hundreds of people on land and on boats excited to see the historic vessel.
The Maiden, a 58-foot aluminum-hulled racing yacht, made history in the 1989-1990 Whitbread Round the World Race, when it set sail with a completely female crew led by Tracy Edwards. It was the first all-female crew to compete in the race and it won second in its class.
Now the Maiden is circumnavigating the world again.
It was refurbished four years ago when it was found abandoned, and it sails again with an all-female crew with members from all over the world.
The worldwide voyage is dedicated to spreading the Maiden Factor Foundation’s mission of raising funding for the empowerment and education of girls. The foundation was founded by the Maiden’s original skipper: Tracy Edwards.
Speeches by Celeste Dybeck, a Jamestown S’Klallam elder, and Carol Hasse, owner of Hasse & Company Port Townsend Sails, welcomed the Maiden and her crew to Port Townsend at the Northwest Maritime Center on Thursday afternoon as it stopped for supplies.
Dybeck gave the crew a gift of local produce, smoked salmon and cedar carved roses. Hasse presented the crew a “I love Port Townsend” flag that could adorn the Maiden.
Tours of the boat were made available.
The current skipper of the Maiden, Wendy Tuck, is the first Australian woman to win a round-the-world yacht race, the Clipper Race in 2015.
She has been on-board since the Maiden was in Sydney, Australia in May, and will be getting off in November when the Maiden reaches Punta Del Este, Uruguay.
Tuck started sailing in her late 20s. At 52, she shows no signs of stopping.
She was shocked by the reception the crew received in Port Townsend.
“Never have I ever ever ever seen a reception like this,” Tuck said. “I’m really sad that we’re not staying the night.
“I’ve never seen a reception like this. This is incredible.”
The Maiden was in town from only about 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. Port Townsend was the last stop for the crew before the yacht reaches San Francisco on Monday.
The Maiden began its tour almost a year ago, in November 2018. It won’t return home to the United Kingdom until August 2020. It is expected to complete its two-and-a-half-year voyage in May 2021.
The trip encompasses more than 30 destinations and over 60,000 nautical miles.
The Maiden has a permanent crew of four woman, but has a gained and lost temporary crew members throughout its voyage. Four guest skippers rotated through and some sailors were on board only for specific legs. Others wanted to gain nautical miles and experience with ocean sailing but couldn’t stay for the whole trip.
Guest crew members who donated to the Maiden Factor Foundation rode along at points in the journey.
One of the current guest crew members is Mackenzie Marmol of Sequim, the daughter of Port Townsend High School teacher Darlene Marmol.
Marmol and her husband were sailors in the 1980s, and Marmol said Mackenzie described her experience so far as being amazing, being surrounded by strong-willed and confident woman.
“[The crew] are very empowered, very sure of themselves, and are willing to do whatever it takes to make changes in the world, either through sailing and through educating woman,” Marmol said.
Mackenzie joined the crew on Tuesday and will leave the yacht Monday, when the Maiden reaches San Francisco.
Marmol is proud of her daughter.
“I’m excited, I’ve sailed,” Marmol said. “I know how life changing it is, how freeing it is. It frees you to be yourself.”
The stopover in Port Townsend was originally unplanned. It wasn’t until Aug. 9 that coordinator Kaci Cronkhite, the former director of the Wooden Boat Festival, had confirmation it would dock in Port Townsend.
Cronkhite had known there was a possibility the Maiden would stop in Port Townsend for about a month, and worked to make what preparations she could for the arrival. But the main work didn’t happen until she got the confirmation.
“It was tremendous. It was a complete scramble and it shows how our community can come together,” Cronkhite said. “I told maybe five people before the six-day notice, and when I gave out the notice people passed it along to everyone.
“My heart is full for everything it brought to the community,” Cronkhite dded.
“To me it was the most wide-open-armed event for anyone with daughters.”
Tuck takes pride in the educational opportunities that sailors aboard the Maiden have.
“We’ve had girls on board who are incredible sailors but never been across an ocean before,” Tuck said.
Among the crowd of supporters were visitors to the area.
Laura Majorana, an avid sailor, was from Florida visiting family in Port Townsend.
“I’ve sailed around the world,” Majorana said. “I’ve been following this. This is so exciting. It’s the greatest thing since toast.”
Majorana supports the Maiden Factor Foundation and encourages everyone to take up sailing.
“If you’ve tried everything, try sailing,” she said.
The history of the Maiden can be learned in the 2019 film “Maiden” which is being shown at the Rose Theater in Port Townsend through Thursday. A full list of showtimes can be found at https://rosetheatre.com/film/maiden.
Live updates on the Maiden’s current tour and information on the Maiden Factor Foundation can be found at https://www.themaidenfactor.org/.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].