Maiden sets sail to smash more bar­ri­ers

Yachting Monthly - - NEWS -

Tracy Ed­wards’ Whit­bread Round the World yacht, Maiden is now bound for Ker­ala, In­dia, on the first leg of a two-year voy­age sail­ing around the world to pro­mote ed­u­ca­tion for girls.

The 58ft Bruce Farr-de­signed maxi left the Royal South­ern Yacht Club on the Ham­ble on 7 Novem­ber 2018. On­board was a mix­ture of old and new faces, with Jo Good­ing, part of the orig­i­nal 1989-90 Whit­bread all-fe­male crew, join­ing Belinda Henry, Matilda Ajanko, Jenni Kneale, Amelia Ralphs and Emily Cham­bers. Nikki Hen­der­son, who, at 25, skip­pered Visit Seat­tle to sec­ond place in the 2017-18 Clip­per Round the World Race, leads them. She said skip­per­ing Maiden for two legs was an hon­our.

‘There is a great sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity. As soon as we leave this dock we are go­ing to be role mod­els for other women both in the in­dus­try and around the world and I hope we live up to the ex­pec­ta­tions,’ she told YM.

Maiden has been com­pletely re­fit­ted, hav­ing been found rot­ting in the Sey­chelles and brought back to Ham­ble Yacht Ser­vices in 2017.

Ed­wards, who made his­tory by lead­ing the first all-fe­male crew in the Whit­bread, said once Maiden was sand­blasted, the true ex­tent of the work was re­vealed. In places, the hull was less than a mil­lime­tre thick.

‘Now, she looks stun­ning. She is a lit­tle mod­ernised, not too much, we didn’t want to change the feel of her but the nav sta­tion looks very dif­fer­ent. My big old clunky nav sta­tion with the big old ra­dios and weather faxes has all gone now,’ laughed Ed­wards. Is it still her

Maiden? ‘Oh my god, that is my old boat, she just looks a bit shiny now,’ she replied.

Ed­wards still hasn’t sailed on the re­fur­bished Maiden, and is happy to ‘take a back seat.’. ‘I need to leave my

Maiden where she is – in my mem­ory and in my heart. This isn’t about me, this is about Maiden, women’s em­pow­er­ment and girls’ ed­u­ca­tion and our new crew,’ stated Ed­wards.

In­stead, she will fo­cus on The

Maiden Fac­tor. The not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion is us­ing Maiden to pro­mote girls’ ed­u­ca­tion and raise money to di­rectly sup­port a group of char­i­ties al­ready work­ing in the field.

There are cur­rently 130 mil­lion girls world­wide who have no ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion. At each of the voy­age’s 23 des­ti­na­tions, the crew of Maiden will be en­gag­ing with com­mu­ni­ties to raise aware­ness and will be vis­it­ing lo­cal schools, ed­u­ca­tional projects and char­i­ties.

ABOVE RIGHT: Tracy Ed­wards (bot­tom left) withMaiden’s crew, who will be vis­it­ing 13 coun­tries dur­ing the two-year world tour. BE­LOW: It took 18 months to re­fitMaiden af­ter she was found aban­doned in the Sey­chelles

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