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Retired yachting star to sail again - for the love of her boat

by Nancy Knudsen on 16 Jun 2014
Maiden and her summer crew in their starring days .. .
Tracy Edwards, celebrated racing yachtie and inspiration for a generation of ambitious female sailors after her stellar performance leading a crew of women in the Whitbread World Race in 1990, vowed she would 'never set foot on a boat again', but she's changed her mind and it's sentiment not competitiveness driving her on.

The problem is that her boat Maiden, the 21 year old 58ft yacht used as her race boat, self-funded by Tracy, and which won her two of the six races of the famous race, occupies a place in her heart that goes beyond competitiveness, and now the boat is in trouble.

Since completing the Round the World yacht race the yacht has had several owners and has fallen into a state of disrepair. It is pictured here in a marina on an island in the Indian Ocean - nobody's telling which.



Having recently discovered its plight Tracy has launched a fundraising campaign to salvage the boat, bring it back to Britain and restore it to its former glory.

She hopes to reunite her former crew and re-enact their historic race finish 25 years ago by sailing Maiden up Southampton Water on May 28 next year.

The vessel will then go on display at maritime museums around Britain and also be used to take young people from charities sailing.

Tracy, who was awarded the MBE and named Sportswomen of the Year in 1990, needs to raise £50,000 to ship the boat to Cape Town where it will be refitted before sailing to the UK.

She now lives in London with her 14-year-old daughter Mackenna, running a company providing advice on internet and travel security and is a sought after motivational speaker.

Of Maiden, she says, ‘I have kept an eye on her for many years and it has been heartbreaking seeing her gradually rot away unloved. I got an email from someone saying they had found Maiden in a marina on an island in the Indian Ocean. She had been there for a few years and was in a terrible state looking like she had just been dumped. I contacted the marina which had seized her after her last owner disappeared. The staff asked if I would like her.

‘I’ve gone from swearing that I would never set foot on another boat as long as I live to facing the prospect of resurrecting Maiden and sailing her again.

'With a little bit of TLC we can restore Maiden to her former splendour and our hope is she can inspire countless people to sail. There is still plenty of life left in Maiden.'

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