DUBAI// The iconic Maiden boat is to be restored and will sail again as part of a campaign to give more girls around the world access to basic education, thanks to Princess Haya bint Al Hussain.
The ship, which made history when its all-female crew became the first to sail the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1990, will return to the UK for restoration work.
The restoration and campaign is being made possible by Princess Haya, wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, in memory of her father, King Hussein of Jordan.
“My father, King Hussein I, would have been the first to offer his support and guidance to the new Maiden Project announced this week,” said Princess Haya.
“I, as a young girl, fondly remember his ‘hands-on’ involvement with the original project which made sporting history, and surprisingly feel how the issues of female equality and values he championed all those years ago seem even more relevant today.”
Tracy Edwards MBE, the Maiden's skipper, will return to the boat's helm and will be reunited with her team.
The Maiden won two legs of the Whitbread Round the World Race and came second overall – the best result for a British boat since 1977 and a record that has never been beaten.
Ms Edwards has worked tirelessly to bring Maiden back to the UK, said Princess Haya. Her restoration in Southampton will take a year, after which Maiden will return to the seas, spreading the message via the "The Maiden Factor" global campaign that every girl has potential and the right to an education.
"The knowledge that Maiden will once again travel the seas, means not only will the memory and legacy of my late father live on but we can all use this as a platform to highlight the need of equal access to education for girls in all corners of the globe, referencing something that he always believed in: 'anything is possible'," said Princess Haya.