AN ALL-female crew skippered by a British sailor has set off from the Isle of Wight this morning (Saturday) to receive a heroes' welcome in Southampton having successfully completed the inaugural round the world Ocean Globe Race.

There was a great feeling of pride when the yacht Maiden and its all-female crew left Cowes at 8am, to head a 'parade of sail' to Southampton's Ocean Village, via Southampton Waters.


The parade is their official 'welcome home' after completing her final race and six-year world campaign to promote girls' education.

The 13-strong crew, made up of international sailors and skippered by Heather Thomas, completed the Ocean Globe Race on The Solent on Tuesday morning this week, after 218 days' racing.

The 2023-24 Ocean Globe Race marked the 50th anniversary of the first edition of the Whitbread Round the World Race and featured 14 boats representing eight countries.

The Maiden set sail from Cowes last September — travelling more than 27,000 nautical miles — as far as Auckland in New Zealand — stopping in three continents, all without the use of modern technology.

The Ocean Globe Race comprised four legs, with boats racing from Cowes to Cape Town, Auckland, and Punta del Este, Uruguay, before returning to England.

Heather, the youngest skipper in the race by 13 years, said: "We’re all really happy and think we achieved our goal of showcasing what women can do and inspire the next generation.

"With the amazing role models we have on the boat, I think we achieved that. We are very, very happy.”