The Duchess of York has visited Southampton to welcome a history making yacht back to Southampton after its final race around the world.

On Saturday, the South Coast & Green Tech Boat Show 2024 hosted a welcome home parade for the crew of Maiden in Ocean Village.

The boat first made history more than 35 years ago, when the first ever all-female crew sailed across the world in the 1989 to 1990 Whitbread Round the World Race.

Daily Echo: Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of YorkSarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York (Image: NQ)During Maiden’s history making voyage, Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York, was made the yacht’s ‘Godmother’, having also named the boat at the original launch in 1988.

She also saw Maiden off from Southampton in 1989 - and has now seen Maiden return from the Ocean Globe Race, again with an all-female crew.

Speaking to the Echo, the Duchess of York said: “I’ll never forget the moment that I saw Maiden off from Southampton – I am immensely proud to be part of sailing and female history."

The crew crossed the finish line in fifth place on Tuesday last week in Cowes, having set off from Southampton last September and travelled 28,000 miles to Cape Town, Auckland, and Punta del Este, Uruguay, without the use of modern technology.

In February this year, Maiden made history again with the first black women and first Afghan crew ever to race around Cape Horn.

The Duchess continued: “Seeing what she has achieved has given me so much joy. Maiden is forever a part of my life, but I don’t think I could ever be brave enough to do what those brilliant young women have.

“Maiden is a symbol of inspiration for women and young people across the world.

“I told those fantastic young women this is just the beginning for them.

“Although this chapter of their life is now complete and they can tell people they have sailed across the globe, they will all go on to continue to achieve greatness.”

The Duchess of York was not the only royal name at boat show, with the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, Princess Haya bint Hussein, also joining the welcome parade.

King Hussein helped the 1989 Whitbread team with funding when they bought an ‘old wreck’ that was eventually transformed into Maiden.

Daily Echo: Tracy Edwards MBETracy Edwards MBE (Image: NQ)Maiden's skipper in the historic 1989 race, Tracy Edwards MBE, added: “The Duchess of York was one of the first women in the world to stand up and champion Maiden’s cause.

“When I first asked her if she would be Maiden’s Godmother, I was so scared she would laugh me out the room. When I asked, she said: 'I though you were never going to ask.'”