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Round the World racer 'Maiden' welcomed back into Auckland

by Libby Mudditt 6 May 2019 01:48 PDT 6 May 2019
New Zealand in sight © Amalia Infante

Almost 30 years ago, Tracy Edwards MBE sailed into the record books on Maiden with the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race 89/90, winning the leg to New Zealand and overwhelmed by the welcome she received in Auckland.

Last Saturday Maiden and her new crew of inspiring women were once again welcomed to New Zealand in true Kiwi style and spirit.

Maiden's new mission is to promote girls' education on a three-year worldwide tour taking in 30 destinations covering over 60,000 nautical miles.

Maiden, on her new mission to raise awareness and funds for girls' education around the globe, left Sydney on 25th April for the 1,275 miles to New Zealand with an unforgettable official welcome taking place Saturday morning at Viaduct Harbour in Auckland.

On a foggy, windless morning Maiden met two legendary former Whitbread yachts, Steinlager 2 and Lion New Zealand out at sea and was escorted back into Viaduct Harbour. Children and teachers from the Auckland Girls Grammar School (AGGS) were invited by the NZ Sailing Trust to sail on the famous boats with Kiwi Ocean Race sailor, Bianca Cook.

When the three boats came together, the fog lifted, and the girls sang a 'Te Aroha' (about love and peace) to Maiden. The traditional Maori welcome continued when the boats berthed with a welcome ceremony known as a po¯whiri, performed by the AGGS students of the tangata whenua (people of this land) welcoming the manuhiri (visitors to the shores) of Tamaki Makaurau within Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Steinlager 2 was skippered by Peter Blake in the 1989/90 Whitbread, when both Maiden and Steinlager 2 won the leg into Auckland in their respective divisions. Lion NZ and Steinlager 2 now provide youth development sailing programme opportunities for up to 2,000 young New Zealanders each year with the New Zealand Sailing Trust.

Background:

Maiden gained acclaim as the first yacht to be sailed around the world by an all-female crew when they raced in the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race. Maiden and her glass ceiling shattering crew paved the way for all women, but particularly those in the yachting world, including her new skippers.

Tracy Edwards MBE worked tirelessly to bring Maiden back to the UK when she was found abandoned and rotting in the Seychelles; Maiden has undergone an extensive refit over the past 18 months and has been restored to her former glory. Maiden is sailing again and helping to spread the message that every girl has a right to an education.

Maiden is sailed again by an all-female crew and currently skippered by Wendy Tuck, the first female skipper to win a round-the-world yacht race, winning the Clipper Race last year, with Sharon Ferris-Choat co- skippering for the legs from Sydney to Auckland and Auckland to Honolulu.

Maiden will leave New Zealand on 9th June 2019 for the 3,820 mile voyage to Hawaii with an estimated 23 days at sea.

For further information, please visit: www.themaidenfactor.org

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