'It's so nail biting', says trail-blazing yachtswoman Tracy Edwards, 'Now is the time to pledge'...

British yachtswoman Tracy Edwards is calling for public support to help raise £9,000 to bring an iconic ocean race yacht home.

Edwards won international fame in 1989 as the skipper of the first

all female crew to sail around the world in the Whitbread Round the

World Yacht Race.

The boat, Maiden, won two legs and came second overall in her

class. The best result for a British boat since 1977.

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

to commemorate her 25th anniversary.

The crowd funding scheme will only be successful if at least £44,000 is pledged by 5:02pm this

Thursday, 3 July. So far just over £35,000 has been achieved.

What happened to Maiden?

Edwards, who was awarded an MBE for her achievements and became the

first woman to win the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy, was forced to sell

her beloved boat at the end of the

Whitbread.

Now 24 years on, Maiden was located abandoned and left to rot at a marina in the Indian Ocean.

The money raised will cover the cost of

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

refit.

The goal is for Edwards, plus four of the

original crew and seven guest sailors, to 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. 

Once back in home waters, Maiden will spend the first year touring Maritime Museums around the UK, visiting Falmouth, Swansea, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

She

will also be involved with various youth charities including The

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

sailing.

The son of King Hussein l of Jordan, the all-girl team’s former sponsor, has also got on board with sponsorship for The Maiden Rescue Project, with plans to link the yacht with his Peace through Sport initiative.

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.

Close to deadline

Tracy Edwards said: ‘It’s so nail biting! There are so many people who have said ‘Yes I’m going to pledge’ and over the next couple of days I’m going to be calling people and saying ‘Now is the time, don’t wait any longer.

‘There are still great rewards to pledge for to help rescue Maiden and

bring her home to the UK.

‘We have £35,076 pledged and need to raise a

further £8,924 by 5pm on Thursday 3 July 2014. If we do

not make our target – Maiden does not get a penny!

‘Please have a look

at the site – every single penny counts!’

www.crowdfunder.co.uk/maiden-rescue

Picture credit: PPL