"Maiden" tells the story of sailing pioneer Tracy Edwards, the first Captain of an all-female yachting crew to enter the prestigious Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.
You do not have to like, or know anything about, sailing or yachting in order to appreciate "Maiden," a new documentary from Alex Holmes ("Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story). "Maiden" is an appropriate title for his film, as it refers to its female subject, Tracy Edwards and her maiden voyage around the world skippering an all-female crew...but it's also the name of the boat that they sailed in.
Tracy Edwards is one heck of a subject for there to be a film about, as her grit and determination led her to be one of the most famous sailors in modern history. She came from humble beginnings in Pangbourne, England, a rebellious teenager who decided to get into boating simply for the freedom it provided her from real-world problems back on shore. Even joining a professional crew as a cook was controversial at the time in the male-dominated sport of sailing, but Tracy bided her time until she was ready to man - er, woman? - her own crew.
The Whitbread Round the World Race is the most famous of its kind, a literal nine-month journey around the globe, and it's as dangerous and harrowing as it sounds. Tracy and her crew were a laughing stock, as no one in the world believed them to be anything more than a novelty. That is, until they came in third during the first leg of the race, and then won the second leg. All the while, reporters and media were asking them sexist questions about their hair and makeup, and how they were getting along with one another, yielding any questions about skill or sailing technique for the male crews.
Unfortunately, the one rub I had with "Maiden" is that the film treats them in the same manner, focusing on the fact that they are women above all else. Clearly that's the story here, but it would have been nice to really delve into the "whys" of how Tracy and her crew were able to compete. How did Tracy's strategies hold up against her competitors? What truly made her a great Captain? Clearly it wasn't just because she is female, right?
Even still, "Maiden" is a great journey of perseverance and determination, and doesn't require you to have any knowledge on the subject to gain from the film. Tracy and her crew of characters give the story-telling an injection of spirit and keep this film afloat.
Genre: Documentary, Sports.
Run Time: 1 hour 37 minutes.
Directed by Alex Holmes ("Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story").
"Maiden" is in theaters on Friday, July 26th, 2019.
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