Hampshire & Isle of Wight

History-making Maiden yacht in girls' education voyage

Maiden crew
Image caption Maiden set off on its 54,000 mile world tour from Hamble

A famous ocean racing yacht has embarked on a round-the-world-tour, 28 years after it carried the first all-female crew round the globe.

Maiden made history in 1990 when its female crew, led by Tracy Edwards, became the first to sail the Whitbread Round the World Race.

The team won two legs of the race and crossed the finish line second overall.

Following restoration work near Southampton it has left on a global campaign to promote girls' education.

The 58ft (17m) boat was sold shortly after the race and was found in disrepair in recent years in Mahé, Seychelles, before being was taken for a refit in Hamble in Hampshire.

The first scheduled stop on "The Maiden Factor", a global campaign to promote education for girls, is Kerala in India. It will call at another 22 destinations over two years.

The project aims to support charities that are working to teach or mentor girls up the age of 16 who are currently unable to access an education.

Watching the departure at Hamble at the start of the 54,000-mile voyage, Ms Edwards said the trip would be at a "more sedate pace" than the 1990 race.

"I'm so delighted to see the girls on their way - I feel confident with them and the boat and just delighted.

"This tour is a celebration of where we've got to and a call to action of where we need to get to."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The history-making yacht, Maiden, was found in disrepair in the Seychelles
Image copyright The Maiden Factor
Image caption Maiden pictured crossing the finish line in Southampton in 1990

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