At 0930 GMT Tuesday, the 110ft maxi-catamaran Maiden II was lowered into the water for the first time under her new name.
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 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 exactly 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.
The truly 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. "It has been a long journey for the past four years but we are truly back," Edwards said. "Once we get sponsorship we will be up and running."