Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Maiden yacht world voyage halted after 36 hours

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

A round-the-world tour on a famous racing yacht was halted after just 36 hours due to "unexpected problems".

Maiden set off from Hamble near Southampton on a global campaign to promote girls' education.

But its 54,000-mile voyage was cut short after the all-female crew discovered issues and sailed to Plymouth for repairs.

A statement posted online said the crew were "devastated not to be on their way" but safety was paramount.

A shore team are working on repairs but it is not yet known when the voyage will restart.

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.

Image copyright The Maiden Factor
Image caption The all-female crew, pictured during the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1990

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

Maiden set sail on 7 November as part of "The Maiden Factor" campaign to promote girls' education.

The first scheduled stop for the team when they get under way again will be Kerala in India, while they are expected to call at another 22 destinations over two years.

The yacht is sailing with a baton which contains messages of hope and encouragement written by pupils from the UK to girls around the world unable to access an education.

These notes will be carried on Maiden in the baton to each stopover, then children's messages will be added in each country and passed on to the next one - like a relay.

The project is being supported by Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan in memory of her father, King Hussein I.

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