The Maiden Rescue crowd funding project needs to hit its £44,000 target by 3 July

A crowd funding project has been launched by Tracy Edwards and the original all-girl crew of the Whitbread Round the World Race to bring their former yacht home.

The Maiden Rescue project is a mission to transport Maiden to Cape Town for a refit, ready to sail her back to the UK

to commemorate her 25th anniversary.

But the scheme will only be funded if at least £44,000 is pledged by 5:02pm Thursday 3 July. So far just over £24,000 has been raised.

The project has been created by the original Maiden

Team with the objective of rescuing this iconic lady of ocean racing and

maritime history.

Having secured Maiden, the team have to get her home and are asking for public support to do so.

The target of £44,000 would cover the cost of

building Maiden a cradle and shipping her to Cape Town where she will undergo a

refit.

Should the fundraising exceed the target, all extra proceeds will

go towards getting young people from The Prince’s Trust, Regenerate and

other youth organisations out on the water.

History maker

At 11am on 28 May 1990, Maiden crossed the finish line of the

Whitbread Round the World Race and sailed into the record books, as she

had carried the first all-female crew to sail around the world.

The skipper Tracy Edwards had risked everything to get her and the team to

the start line and when King Hussein l of Jordan came in with

sponsorship he ensured Maiden’s entry.

The four year struggle paid off.

Despite doubts from so many that the girls could sail around the world,

Maiden won two legs, and came second in her class – the best result for a

British Whitbread boat in the 35 year history of the event.

Edwards was

awarded an MBE and became the first woman in its 32 year history to be

awarded the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy.

However, Edwards was forced to sell her beloved boat at the end of the

Whitbread and 24 years on, it is now a different story for this once

beautiful vessel.

The Story Now

Abandoned in pirate infested waters in the Indian Ocean, this legend

of British Maritime history is a shadow of her former self, slowly being

left to rot away.

The Maiden Rescue Team is now in the process of getting her to Cape

Town. After repairs are completed, Tracy Edwards along with four of the

original crew and seven guest sailors will sail Maiden home to the UK

arriving in the Solent at 11am on 28 May 2015, exactly 25 years after

she crossed the finish line. 

Maiden will then be the guest of Maritime Museums around the UK. She

will also be involved with various youth charities including The

Prince’s Trust and Regenerate and available for young people to go

sailing.

Tracy Edwards said: ‘The success of the original Maiden project was entirely due to the

incredible people who became involved. Before we managed to raise the

sponsorship every penny that went into the project was generated by

volunteers selling T-shirts, balloons and badges at any event we could

think of!

‘We literally had strangers turning up on the doorstep asking

what they could do to help. I remember walking into my kitchen one day

and finding five people I had never laid eyes on stuffing envelopes with

sponsorship letters! I guess this was crowd funding in its earliest

form.

Maiden was so much more than a bunch of girls proving they could race

around the world. She means so much to so many people, not just in the

UK but all over the world.

‘She represented the will to succeed, the

power of ordinary people when we come together to achieve something and

how tenacity can overcome all odds.

Maiden was a dream come true to

some, an adventure to others and a triumph over adversity to many. To

me she was and always will be the most magical part of my life at sea. 

Please help us to rescue Maiden. Your pledges will get Maiden home

safely where she deserves to be.’