They are preparing to embark on a three-year journey around the world, but first the crew of the Maiden received some rather royal visitors before setting sail. HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein was joined by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in London on Thursday to tour the historic yacht and meet the crew ahead of the epic voyage.
The vessel first made history in 1990 as the first all-female crewed yacht to sail around the world – it was a mission made possible by the sponsorship of the late HM King Hussein of Jordan. In her father’s name, Princess Haya last year revealed she would support the refurbishment of the vessel, which will now take to the seas on a charitable endeavour designed to promote girls’ education.
“I, as a young girl, fondly remember ‘King Hussein’s] ‘hands-on’ involvement with the original project which made sporting history, and surprisingly feel how the issues of female equality and values he championed all those years ago seem even more relevant today,” HRH said when the project was announced last April. “As his daughter, I feel honored and humbled to be involved with the resurrection of the Maiden project as it embarks on its new chapter of maritime history.”
The boat was originally led by skipper Tracy Edwards on its history-making voyage, and claimed second place overall in 1990’s Whitbread race. Edwards has returned to take part in the three-year mission, which will raise funds for her Maiden Factor Foundation, a non-profit designed to “advance the education of girls” aged 5 to 15 who would not otherwise receive one. “The knowledge that Maiden will once again travel the seas, means not only will the memory and legacy of my late father live on but we can all use this a platform to highlight the need of equal access to education for girls in all corners of the globe, referencing something that he always believed in: ‘anything is possible’,” added Princess Haya.
Maiden will set sail on September 22 on the first leg of her journey, and her restoration was supported under the royal’s ‘Anything is Possible’ initiative. The initiative, which HRH launched in 2017 in her father’s memory, has also helped fund a mountaineering mission on Mount Everest.