Yachtswoman launches bid to save her history-making boat from disrepair

The yachtswoman who made history by leading the first all-female sailing crew to the finish line in the Whitbread Round The World Race has launched a campaign to save the boat that sailed them across the globe.

In 1990 the Maiden, skippered by Tracy Edwards, successfully finished the Whitbread Round The World Race.
In 1990 the Maiden, skippered by Tracy Edwards, successfully finished the Whitbread Round The World Race. Credit: ITN

The Maiden, in which Tracy Edwards and her crew won two of the race's six legs, was found abandoned and rotting on an island in the Indian Ocean nearly 25 years after its historic voyage.

Tracy Edwards' beloved Maiden was found abandoned on an island in the Indian Ocean.
Tracy Edwards' beloved Maiden was found abandoned on an island in the Indian Ocean.

Edwards hopes to raise enough money to save the 58-foot catamaran and bring it back to its former glory.

The jubilant crew of Maiden in 1990 with skipper Tracy Edwards (third from left in the front).
The jubilant crew of Maiden in 1990 with skipper Tracy Edwards (third from left in the front). Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Edwards explained to ITV News Correspondent Nina Nannar why she decided to fight for her beloved Maiden.

Tracy Edwards speaks to ITV News.
Tracy Edwards told ITV News Maiden was more than just a boat 'she was the 13th crew member'. Credit: ITV News

She really was so much more than a boat, she was the 13th crew member.

Every time we get together to have a reunion there's always one of us missing, and that's always been Maiden.

– Yachtswoman Tracy Edwards speaks to ITV News

She really was so much more than a boat, she was the 13th crew member.

Every time we get together to have a reunin there's always one of us missing and that's always been Maiden.

Tracy Edwards skippering the boat.
Tracy Edwards skippered the Maiden to victory in two of the race's six legs. Credit: PA Archive

Her campaign has already garnered support from celebrities such as Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon and Sir Richard Branson - both keen sailors.

Sir Richard Branson pictured with Tracy Edwards.
Sir Richard Branson has backed the campaign to save the Maiden. Credit: Handout

Sir Richard told ITV News, "Wonderful boats like Maiden should be saved in the countries that they came from and shouldn't end up languishing in the Indian Ocean and rotting away."

Tracy Edwards (foreground) and her all-female British crew on the Maiden.
Tracy Edwards told ITV News it was 'so much more' than 'just a bunch of girls sailing round the world.' Credit: Martyn Hayhow/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Edwards hopes to reunite her former crew and sail Maiden back into Southampton in May 2015 - 25 years after their triumph.