Posts Tagged ‘Tracy Edwards’

Tracy Edwards (left), skipper of The Maiden

“MAIDEN” My rating: B

97 minutes | MPAA rating: PG

Grab your daughters and granddaughters and make a family outing of “Maiden,” an awe-inspiring documentary about a bunch of young women who defied institutional sexism to risk their lives in an around-the-world sailing competition.

For that matter, bring along your sons and grandsons. They could probably use what “Maiden” is selling.

Alex Holmes’ film centers on Tracy Edwards, a young English woman who out of sheer chutzpah raised the money to buy a yacht, assembled an all-woman crew and entered the 1989 Whitbread Around the World Race, a harrowing and life-threatening enterprise executed in five distinct legs for a total of more than 30,000 miles.

“You have to be a bit crazy,” one interview subject observes of the long-distance sailors.

Amazing, old home movie footage going back to Edwards’ childhood exists, and among her Whitbread crew was a woman who kept a film record of the epic voyage. This means that Holmes is able to tell this story cinematically using archival sources, with regular digressions to talking-head interviews of the women today.

Profoundly affected by the death of her father and her mother’s futile struggle to maintain control of his hi-fi business — not to mention Mom’s second marriage to an alcoholic —  Edwards left home early.

Long a lover of the sea and ships, she got a gig crewing on a luxury rental yacht.  One of the boat’s customers was King Hussein of Jordan, who befriended the young woman and, learning of her fascination with sailing, got her a job as a cook on an otherwise all-male boat.

In fact, the yachting world was one big boy’s club, at best patronizing, at worst openly hostile. While she doesn’t report any overt sexual harassment, Edwards says she was clearly an unwelcome outsider. That’s when she came up with the idea of an all-female Whitbread crew.


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