The original Maiden Whitbread Round the World Race crew is expected to deliver the "grand dame of sailing" to London in September 2017.
Work to restore the iconic Whitbread Round the World yacht, Maiden, will begin in the coming months, with the vessel expected to sail into London in September.
The announcement from the Jordan Tourism Board comes following a renewed partnership between The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Maiden’s skipper, Tracy Edwards MBE.
In 1990, Edwards made the history books by leading the first all-female crew to the finish line of the Whitbread Round the World Race (now the Volvo Ocean Race) on board Maiden, which was sponsored by the Jordanian Royal family.
Her 12 crew on board Maiden defied the critics by winning two legs and finishing second in its class, the best performances in the race by a British boat since 1977.
The 58-foot yacht was recently discovered by Edwards falling into disrepair in the Indian Ocean.
Backed by the Jordan Tourism Board, and through a combination of crowdfunding and sponsorship, work to restore Maiden to its former glory is expected to begin shortly.
The yacht will then be used to carry on the legacy started in the 1980s by Edwards – to inspire women to take up sailing and challenge the perception of what women are capable of.
Maiden will become an “ambassador” for the not-for profit organisation, The Maiden Factor, which will work with charities such as I am Girl, Just a Drop, Girl Up and The Girl’s Network.
The yacht will sail the globe promoting the agenda of education for girls and raise funds for these associated charities as well as Maiden Education.
Commenting on the project, Edwards said: “Maiden is an inspiration and I want her to engage with people all over the world.”
“She is an icon of female empowerment, the ability and will to succeed against all odds and that’s something I want to harness and use to inspire young girls everywhere to achieve their full potential,” she stressed.
Filming has begun for a one off TV series which will follow the rescue and restoration of Maiden and also the selection and training of a new crew.
The original Maiden crew from 1989/90 will deliver the “grand dame of sailing” to London in September 2017 for her re-launch.
Celebrations will include sailing under Tower Bridge and handing Maiden over to her new crew.
Crew trials will test sailing skills on the water in the UK and in Jordan.
There is also filming already underway to accompany a documentary about Maiden’s completion of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race which will be aired on prime-time television and have a premiere in Leicester Square in time for Maiden’s reveal in London in September 2017.
Following the London film premiere, Maiden will attend the start of the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante. The yacht will then sail to Jordan for the winter.
Edwards said she was delighted that the Kingdom of Jordan had, once again, shown their support for women and sailing.
“We must ensure that the basic human right of every girl is to have an education, a conviction shared by His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan, who was the first person help me on my initial quest to get an all-female crew to sail around the world,” she said.
“It would be an understatement to say that I was delighted that the Kingdom of Jordan under the reign of his son, His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, has stepped in to help me on my new mission to inspire a whole new generation and make Maiden a vessel for peace and education across the world,” added Edwards, who is now a motivational speaker.
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