The 110ft maxi-catamaran Maiden II was lowered into the water for the first time under her new name yesterday

The 110ft maxi-catamaran Maiden II was lowered into the water for the first time under her new name at the French yachting centre, La Ciotat yesterday. This red letter day marks the start of Tracy Edwards’ challenging three-year programme incorporating both the Jules Verne in 2003 and The Race in 2004.

The giant multihull was lifted from the dry dock and carried by a huge crane towards the water, finally landing with a small splash and a cheer from the crew. Afterwards the huge daggerboards and mast were craned on to the boat and the crew began to sort out the rigging.

The Ollier-designed catamaran, Maiden II was previously the world record-breaking yacht ‘Club Med’, and has spent her time in the fast developing French yachting centre, La Ciotat, since the finish of The Race, almost a year ago. It is from this enormous boat yard that one of the largest and fastest sailing vessels ever made, was prepared for her new life as Maiden II, under the watchful eye of Maiden II Challenge Project Manager, Howard Gibbons:

‘Today is a very important day for this exciting campaign and the team behind it. Fifteen people from seven different nations have worked extremely hard to get Maiden II on the water and to get her there on time! ‘The boat looks fantastic and has been meticulously prepared for the next three months of sailing – a crucial time for all involved.’

The international, all female crew have been based in La Ciotat since Edwards launched Maiden II Challenge at the end of February. A mixed delivery crew will now take the boat to the main training ground in Vilamoura, Portugal, where the crew will begin their training in earnest climaxing in an attempt on the Route of Discovery record from Cadiz to San Salvador in mid April.

Proposed Itinerary for Maiden II Challenge



  • Training in Vilamoura
  • Route of Discovery
  • Antigua Race Week


  • South Florida
  • Miami to New York record


  • New York to Lizard Point record

    July/ August

  • St Katharine’s Dock

  • Cowes Week
  • Channel record
  • Round Ireland record
  • Round the Isle of Wight


  • Training and hospitality


  • Refit


  • On stand by for Jules Verne Trophy attempt


  • Jules Verne
  • 24 hr record attempt
  • New York – San Francisco
  • Transpacific E to W, San Francisco – Yokohama
  • Transpacific W to E,Yokohama – San Francisco
  • Transpacific, Los Angeles – Honolulu


  • The Race