LEADING Isle of Wight sailor and instructor, Annie O Sullivan, has been forced to pull out of the planned Maiden East Coast tour of the United States because of the worldwide coronavirus situation — but has flown out to the Caribbean to help crew the Maiden back to the UK instead.

Annie, of Medina Road, Cowes — a RYA yachtmaster instructor — was to skipper a team of young women of the Scaramouche Sailing Trust on board Maiden, on a voyage from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to New York City.

But on Monday last week, Tracey Edwards, founder of the Maiden Factor charity — which supports millions of girls worldwide, not afforded an education — had to announce the tour had been shelved until possibly next year.

“Amid the developing coronavirus situation, it is with huge sadness Maiden’s US East Coast Tour is postponed,” she said.

However, Annie has now joined the Maiden crew in Antigua instead, to help crew the yacht back to the UK, having just taken part in the Sint Maarten Regatta.

She said: “It is a real shame not to be taking the Scaramouche girls to New York, but we plan to do it next year instead.

“I am looking forward to bringing Maiden back to the UK, as part of a crew of ten, alongside four other professional sailors.”