Initially conceived 30 years ago, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has renewed its partnership with round-the-world yachtswoman Tracy Edwards and her iconic boat Maiden. 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) with Maiden as the star of the show proudly displaying the royal crown of the Jordanian family on her sail.
In 2017 Maiden will be restored to her former glory, Jordanian colours and all, and will embark on a new worthy venture to carry on the legacy started in the 1980s by Ms Edwards, with the support of His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan. A pioneer of the times, His Majesty King Hussein believed in Edwards’ vision for a truly empowering female-only crew to sail around the world, breaking preconceptions and records at the same time.
Already 8 years old by the time of the race, Maiden and her 12-strong crew helped to inspire women to take up sailing and challenge the perception of what women were capable of, by winning two legs of the race and coming second overall in her class.
The yacht was recently discovered by Edwards, falling into disrepair in the Indian Ocean, and the Jordan Tourism Board has been a key advocate for ensuring this iconic boat is restored to her former glory and used as a vessel for inspiration and innovation.
Through a combination of crowdfunding and sponsorship, Maiden will undergo a huge restoration over the coming months. Maiden will then have a new purpose with The Maiden Factor, a not-for profit organisation which will work with charities such as I am Girl, Just a Drop, Girl Up and The Girl’s Network. Maiden as an Ambassador for The Maiden Factor will sail the globe promoting the agenda of education for girls and raise funds for these associated charities as well as Maiden Education.
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 the stamina and teamwork of the hopefuls will be tested along the magnificent Jordan Trail which stretches 650 km from Um Quais in the north of Jordan to Aqaba in the south.
Filming is 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 triumphant reveal in London in summer 2017. Following her London film premiere Maiden will attend the start of the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante after which she will sail to Jordan for the winter.
Of the project Tracy Edwards MBE 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. 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. 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.”
Dr. Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, managing director of the Jordan Tourism Board said, “When Tracy Edwards MBE told us of her new mission we were only too delighted to help. She has helped to inspire so many people and her new vision is something that aligns perfectly with our own in Jordan. Empowering women, championing girl’s education and inspiring a generation is such a powerful message; it is an honour to be involved in her project and we look forward to welcoming Maiden and her inspirational crew to Jordan in 2017.