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Maiden to embark on round-the-world voyage to raise awareness of the importance of girls' education

by Katherine Mackenzie 8 Sep 2018 13:45 BST
Newly restored iconic yacht Maiden made her first journey and sailed under Tower Bridge, before embarking on a campaign for girls' education © Maiden

Three of the world's most decorated yachtswomen are coming together for a life-changing, round-the-world expedition. Dee Caffari MBE, Wendy Tuck and Nikki Henderson have been recruited by Tracy Edwards MBE to skipper her iconic vessel, Maiden and embark on a new mission sailing round-the-world in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of girls' education.

Maiden gained acclaim as the first vessel to be sailed around the world by an all-female crew, in the Whitbread Round The World Race in 1989-90. Maiden and her glass ceiling shattering crew paved the way for all women, but particularly those in the yachting world, including her new skippers.

Maiden will set sail from the Southampton Boat Show at 2pm on 22nd September 2018 to begin a two-year world tour. As always, Maiden will be sailed by an all-female crew and throughout the journey, skippering duties will be shared by an incredible collective of record breaking female skippers, with Dee, Wendy and Nikki taking on the early legs. In a break with tradition, men will also be allowed to sail on Maiden as paying guests, helping to raise funds for girls' education.

Dee Caffari MBE will sail 'Maiden' for all of her sea trials until she leaves and then she will re-join her for additional legs on the tour. One of the best sailors in the world, Dee entered the record books in 2006 as the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world in both directions, for which she was awarded an MBE. She has gone on to complete the formidable journey a further record breaking four times.

Wendy Tuck will skipper Maiden from Fremantle in her home country of Australia, and on to New Zealand and China before docking in Tokyo. The sailor is at the top of her game and earlier this year she became the first female skipper to win a round-the-world yacht race, when she won the 2017/2018 Clipper Round the World Race.

The first record-breaking yachtswoman to take the reins will be Nikki Henderson, from Guildford in Surrey. The 25-year-old made history earlier this year by becoming the youngest skipper in the Clipper Round the World Race. Nikki will skipper Maiden from the UK to Jordan then on to Dubai and Mumbai.

Permanent crew members include Matilda Ajanko, a Finnish yachtswoman with over 50,000 sailing miles under her belt; Belinda Henry, an Australian with over 15 years' experience in the marine industry and 90,000 ocean miles; Mary Sutherland, a seasoned British sailor with 50,000 sailing miles; and Amelia Ralphs, the youngest crew member on Maiden (21 yrs.) who started sailing at 9 years of age and has already skippered her first transatlantic on a Farr 52 and has completed 36,000 sailing miles.

Maiden has been fully restored to her world conquering glory and has since appeared in public at London's St Katherine's Dock and HMS President for the first time since her rescue in 2016. The restoration and the yacht's upcoming journey has been made possible by the invaluable support of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, in a tribute to her father HM King Hussein I, who was integral in making the original Maiden Journey possible. HRH Princess Haya, who is supporting Maiden under Her 'Anything is Possible' initiative will meet Maiden for the first time today.

TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, as guests of HRH Princess Haya, were also invited to meet the newly restored Maiden before she embarks on her new journey.

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