AMSTERDAM — A yacht that has twice raced around the world has been rescued from oblivion and made shipshape with AkzoNobel products as it prepares to embark on a global voyage of hope.
The Maiden yacht was the first boat in the history of the Whitbread Round the World Race (now the Volvo Ocean Race) to feature an all-female crew. After being abandoned, it has now been fully restored with the company’s yacht coatings ahead of a worldwide tour, which will help raise awareness and fundraise for girls’ education.
Tracy Edwards, who skippered Maiden in that historic 1989 race, found it languishing in a boatyard in the Seychelles and set about raising money for its restoration. With the work now complete, the yacht is set to circumnavigate the globe for a third time.
“We’re proud to have been involved with The Maiden Factor project for the last two years,” said Kaj Van Alem, Director of AkzoNobel’s Yacht business. “Our products, technical support and color matching set the standard in yacht coatings, and we were delighted to help restore the boat so it can inspire a new generation of women.”
It’s actually the second time the company’s International products have been used on the 58-foot yacht. The first was back in 1989, when King Hussein I of Jordan supported the Maiden’s round-the-world campaign. The same boat had also taken part in the competition eight years earlier, when it was christened Disque D’Or 3.
During the extensive restoration, AkzoNobel provided products for the whole vessel, from topcoat through to tank coatings. The process involved stripping back the original coatings to bare metal and then rebuilding the paint systems through to the finished result. Samples of the original colors were provided, which were then matched by the company’s experts in Felling in the UK.
Maiden — which is currently at the Southampton Boat Show — will set off from the UK city on Oct. 9 on a three-year voyage. This will include making 33 stopovers in 22 countries, when the crew will deliver a message of hope and solidarity from school children in the UK to girls around the world. The Maiden Factor will use funds raised to support charities working to empower, teach or mentor girls and that enable the education of girls not currently afforded this basic human right.
The end of Maiden's restoration — which has been supported by Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, the daughter of King Hussein I — comes just a few months after the finale of the latest Volvo Ocean Race. AkzoNobel was the official Boatyard supplier for the event and provided the coatings for all seven competing yachts, including team AkzoNobel, which finished fourth overall.
One of the guest skippers during the three-year voyage will be Dee Caffari, who skippered the Turn the Tide on Plastic boat in the recent Volvo Ocean Race. Commenting on the restoration, she said, "It's 30 years since the iconic Maiden yacht forged a pathway with a special team of women. Now she is back and continuing to push boundaries and help make a difference. Back in her Whitbread glory she was coated by AkzoNobel, and today she has been made to look fantastic again by the same company. The support to The Maiden Factor has been incredible and is testament to the impact she has made, and is continuing to make, on so many people."