Photos by Rick Tomlinson
Well, another day of excitement! The crew and supporters were on board the Seafin in Hamble by 8am this morning and off to Southampton Docks followed by various RIBS. The weather was perfect as motored towards the Roll Dock Sky and her precious cargo.
Our Project Manager Howard Gibbons, who had flown into the UK early this morning hot-footed it to Hamble Point to be picked up by one of the Sea Start RIBS and he joined us as we reached Berth 109.
Sadly the ship was berthed at the scrap dock and with Maiden facing towards it and I hoped she hadn’t spend all night worrying that was where she was going! Taff and the Peters & May guys had been there all morning getting her ready to be lowered into the water and the buzz was building.
We had to wait whilst a massive container ship was tugged out of the port and then we were ready to go. Jo, Sarah, Tanja, Angela and I were feeling so many emotions. We realised that the last time we had been with Maiden on that stretch of water we had been crossing the finish line of the 1989/90 Whitbread.
And then we saw her being lifted up and slowly swung over the side. It was quite nerve wracking watching her dangling over the side of the ship all that way up but the guys on Roller Dock were brilliant.
Gently, gently does it. Slowly she came down towards us.
And then there she was, back in the water. We cheered the crew of Roll Dock Sky and thanked them
and then it was time for us to get on board our beloved girl.
It was quite surreal but so wonderful being together on her again and Sea Start began to take us back to Hamble.
When we arrived, the pontoon was full of people which was absolutely wonderful and Maiden slowly came alongside to much cheering. We had made it and finally Maiden is safe and she is home where she belongs with people who love her.
The final order of the day was to announce the support of Maiden’s very special friend, the inspirational lady who has made all this possible; HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, daughter of HM KIng Hussein, the man, of course, who made it all possible in the first place.
The Maiden Factor will be a tribute to His Majesty and it is very special that we are now supported by his daughter HRH Princess Haya who in turn has done so much to empower women and inspire girls.
Tomorrow Maiden comes out of the water and we begin the year long restoration before she can begin her new life.
We could not have done any of this without the support of so many people who have helped us along the way. So, in closing, thank you to you all.
And a very special thank you to HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein from all of us …………… and of course from Maiden.