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Tracy Edwards won international fame in 1989 as the first skipper of an all female crew to sail around the world. The boat won two legs and came second overall in her class.
In 1990 Tracy was awarded Sportswoman of the Year and an MBE. She was the first woman to achieve acceptance by the British yachting community and paved the way for other women to follow.
Tracy wrote the story of her record-breaking Whitbread voyage, and the book Maiden was published in 1994 and remained at number one in the book chart for 19 weeks.
Tracy Edwards came into sailing by an unconventional route. Her father died when she was young and her mother travelled the world as a ballet dancer. She was expelled from school at 15 and began sailing as an on-board cook. Tracy overcame chronic sea-sickness to become a professional Sailor in 1980 and embarked on her first Whitbread Round The World Race 1985-86 as a crewmember on ''Atlantic Privateer'' which came 1st on the Cape Town - Auckland leg.
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 well on course for the record for more than half of their route, but was thwarted by treacherous seas off coast of Chile and her mast snapped in two. During the attempt Tracy and her team broke 7 world records.
Tracy retired from round-the-world sailing two years later when pregnant with daughter MacKenna, and published her second book ''Living Every Second''. She then decided to turn her attention to organising round the world sailing events, and the development of a formal governing body for Multihulls with championship tables and rules.
In 2003 she set up Quest International Sports Events and signed a six million pound sponsorship deal with the Crown Prince of Qatar to create two round-the-world races and a marina complex. HSBC sponsored the first event to the tune of three million pounds. The Oryx Quest 2005 was a huge success and created forty six million dollars worth of press coverage for the gulf state. However, Qatar refused to pay Tracy the eight million pounds she had borrowed to facilitate the event and pay the teams to enter. Qatar also refused to pay the one million pounds prize money. Quest consequently went into receivership and Tracy was forced into bankruptcy in September 2005.
Having been discharged in September 2006, Tracy is now rebuilding her life, consulting for companies doing business in the Middle East, doing motivational and teambuilding presentations and pursuing legal action against Qatar. She won her first case in Qatar in 2006.
She regularly gives her time for charity work and is Patron of The Ahoy Centre, Ambassador to the NSPCC working with CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) and Ambassador of One Parent Families. Tracy also supports The Lady Taverners and The Princes Trust.
Tracy is a unique speaker having experienced not only the upsides of winning but also the devastation of taking a calculated risk that resulted in financial ruin. She speaks eloquently and is disarmingly open about success and failure. The biggest lessons in life are learnt when things go wrong and Tracy's story of battling against the odds to survive is poignant and truly revealing.
Possibly the most extraordinary and horrifying part of 2005 for Tracy and her family were the 28 days that Tracy was held against her will in Qatar whilst the authorities tried to force her to sign a waiver exonerating them from the sponsorship. Tracy refused to sign, exhibiting the strength of character, fearlessness and tenacity that have characterised her sailing projects. Her refusal to sign and her fighting spirit ensured that legal action against Qatar could commence in the hope that she, her team and event suppliers can one day be compensated.
There are many lessons to be learned from Tracy's experiences of massive successes and devastating failure. In addition, Tracy has lost none of the sparkle and humour that audiences warm to and make her one of the most inspirational speakers of today.
''Tracy was really easy to deal with, just got on with it, very undemanding - On our evaluation forms, she is specifically praised. She was terrific - spot on for the audience''
Editor Nursing Times Magazine, 2008
''Tracy's presentation provided a great counterweight to our more turgid business programme next day and this format really worked for us''.
Combined Linen Service
''Good presentation which included comments on being an investor in people and how choosing the right team is essential. I enjoyed it very much''.
''Relevant to what the team had learnt during the rest of the course, a very vivid illustration of great teamwork. Tracy's passion for sailing is an inspiration Very motivational''.
Royal & SunAlliance IT Team Building Course
''Tracy's lively and somewhat irreverent leadership messages were brought alive by references to sailing, she made relevant and pointed comments, also lessons about leadership in practice. Thank you for your outstanding contribution to our HR workshop. The Team found you stimulating, the content fascinating and the messages highly relevant''.
''Very focused presentation from a very determined achiever, very vivid, practical demonstration of management in action, a fascinating insight into life as an ocean racer, useful and valued reminder of how to succeed''.
''With your motivational, passionate and also humoristic speech you have really contributed essentially to our most important event in the region. You really made it an unforgettable ''Voyage of Discovery'' with Lucent.''
''A very enthusiastic presentation highlighting the importance of teamwork some frank admissions of mistakes made the presentation very realistic''.
Buchler Phillips Partners Conference
''They all say how much they enjoyed your speech. Your experience in the around the world race was just what was required and I am sure will inspire those who heard it to raise their aspirations in their own lives''.
Count Durham TEC
''We asked Tracy to come along to talk to our management team about her experiences, trial and tribulations she had overcome crossing the oceans of the world. Her insights into successes of teamwork and her examples of how she had to find reserve after reserve of courage and self belief were motivational and inspirational. Many of our team managers were refreshed by the talk. Most of all Tracy's bubbly personality which exuded enthusiasm and fun, gave us all a new perspective''.
''She provided just the perfect balance of motivation laced with humour and appropriate contextual examples..she managed to uplift us all!''
Proctor and Gamble
''Excellent presentation, professionally presented, Tracy held the audience captivated''.
''Energetic, brought home the teamwork message. Excellent feedback from all Resellers''.
''Great demonstration of good things to come out of tough circumstances showing it's down to you to lead and you cannot show fear in front of the team. Good feedback from the team leaders''.
''Excellent, Excellent and Excellent! Exactly what we were after, it was something the delegates could really relate to in terms of the team working. Motivational and fun but with a serious message behind it. I hope you will be happy for me to come back to you in the future''.
IIR Conference Director
''Inspirational, Informative, motivational presentation. It was light hearted but really took in the focus of business. Great!''
Virgin One Direct
''Tracy's presentation was extremely interesting, lively and relevant. Given the time restrictions Tracy was able to cover all aspects of team work, change and leadership in a very funny and rewarding way. Perfect for what we wanted. We would very much like to use Tracy again please''.
Nationwide Building Society
''The feedback from the delegates has been excellent over 90 per cent rated your presentation as excellent. The skill with which you likened your experiences to our business was excellent and the following comments speak for themselves!
'Fantastic very motivational, passionate and enthusiastic.'
'Excellent speaker excited, motivated, inspired.'
'Very appropriate and motivating.'
'What can I say fantastic! Tracy has really fixed me up to believe that anything is possible with a great team (which we have).'
Thomas Cook Group Ltd
''Ten out of ten on every count. Her enthusiasm is quite extraordinary and her articulation of the subject was quite frankly stunning.''
Royal Bank of Scotland
''The sheer enthusiasm and drive to achieve goals inspired the audience. A lot of tired people were suddenly very much awake!''
''Enthusiastic, passionate and energetic. Just right for the audience. Left us feeling inspired to face the challenges ahead and we are in awe of Tracy and her team.''
Virgin Cosmetics Company.
''Initial feedback has been positively overwhelming you have left a very strong impression with our management team. My one objective was to find a speaker that our managers would be able to identify links from the individual' experiences to themselves and their own work situation. You not only achieved but also managed to create a situation where we felt the hour passed all too quickly and we wanted to listen to you for far longer''.
Nottingham Building Society
''On behalf of AT&T I would like to thank you for speaking at their UK Kick Off. So far all the delegates have given you the maximum score of 5!!! Comments range from Inspiring, captivating and entertaining to 'Go on Sponsor her!'.''
The Olive Partnership
''Shaping the Future Conference You gave a wonderful presentation which was funny and entertaining whilst delivering a serious business message, which was perfect for our audience. The feedback has been very positive with many delegates reporting that this was the best event they had attended in years!''
Norfolk County Council
''Tracy stood and spoke for an hour and the audience was totally captivated by her funny and insightful presentation. Tracy has a clear message and is entertaining in her delivery perfect for our event. I would recommend her to anyone organising a conference. The feedback has been very clear, that without a doubt this is the best speaker we have ever heard. Goodness knows how we will find someone to match her at our next event!''
''Possibly the best speaker we have ever heard, we gave Tracy ten plus out of ten! Tracy surpassed our expectations and is obviously passionate about her subject matter. Everyone is still singing her praises. She delivered her speech with passion, insight and wit.''
Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce
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