The Maiden Factor Blog

Maiden is a Global Ambassador for the Empowerment of Girls through Education

Nikki Henderson – Skipper’s Log



Night just drew in.  Our last one for a while now.  Malta is 200 nautical miles away and we should be in by dinnertime tomorrow.

It will feel like a momentous achievement for all of us to reach this first milestone in Maiden’s world world tour.  Two years ago this iconic boat was rotting away – and now we have just sailed her 2500 nautical miles – across the Bay of Biscay (as we now affectionately refer to as BOB), through the Gibraltar Straits and  another 1000 nautical miles east into the Mediterranean.  She has held up well, albeit a little wet at times (!) – thank you Maiden.

For Tracy, Libby, Allie, Greg, Alex, Kaia, Mack and Nick, the team back home, this is the result of over two years work – for Amelia and Allie it’s been a year of hard graft down in Hamble – for the two girls Belle and Tilly this marks six months with the project.  My three months pales into insignificance in comparison to the relentless commitment and optimism this team has shown to get this girl back sailing safely.  Hopefully we are able to share these values of dedication and perseverance to all the girls we encounter around the world in their struggles to get an education and secure themselves a brighter future.

Zooming in to the last month – it’s been quite a journey – a little up and down at times in more than one sense of the word.  The kindness and generosity of people on shore in our various stops has been incredible. Total strangers have just dropped everything to give us a helping hand whether it be meeting us with a smile on the dock despite the gale and torrential rain, rewiring the radiator from the skip outside, sourcing the perfect grey material for a canvas cover, driving 5 hours each way in the world’s smallest mini cooper – twice!


Shortening jack’s stays, hand sewing our main on the dock, fabricating all sorts of weird and wonderful objects for our deck, applying sealant in the most indescribably awkward places on the boat, squeezing us into the worlds smallest lifting pen in Vigo, offering to lend us your car –  book hotels – recommend restaurants and generally be our Spanish guardians, leaving your family to fly out to Baiona last minute on a Sunday afternoon, coming to work at 09:00 am on a Saturday in Spain, opening a fuel dock early in Sardinia, and all other wonderful acts of support across Europe.  You all know who you are – from the bottom of our hearts – thank you so much.

And finally of course as always – a thank you twice the size – to HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein for your continued support and making this possible.  The opportunity that you have given us so that we can help others is immeasurable and we appreciate it more than you know.

I was once told that Maiden gets under the skin and now I know why.

Nikki Henderson

Maiden’s restoration has been made possible by

HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan in memory of Her father,

HM King Hussein I, via Her ‘Anything is Possible’ initiative.