For anyone who doesn’t boat much (yo, that would be me), it’s hard to grasp how yachting can be athletic, harrowing, admirable, or lethal. Maiden certainly shows the prowess, invention, and perseverance required.
Forget tales of drug-addled footballers and former All Black first five-eighths, this is the sporting documentary you need to see right now.
Maiden puts us all in the ship right there with them.
This is the story of how Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook in charter boats, became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World in 1989. Utilising a treasure trove of archival footage, director Alex Holmes celebrates the history of Maiden Great Britain.
Tracy’s inspirational dream was opposed on all sides: her male competitors thought an all-women crew would never make it, the chauvinistic yachting press took bets on her failure, and potential sponsors rejected her, fearing they would die at sea and generate bad publicity. But Tracy refused to give up: she remortgaged her home and bought a secondhand boat, putting everything on the line to ensure the team made it to the start line. Although blessed with tremendous self-belief Tracy was also beset by crippling doubts and was only able to make it through with the support of her remarkable crew. With their help she went on to shock the sport world and prove that women are very much the equal of men.
The women who embarked on this journey are trailblazers who, when no path was made available to them, carved out their own and left their mark on a sport where women were never a factor until they arrived. They were unwanted and undervalued the entire way, but yet they persisted and succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of those that doubted them the entire way. And believe me, there were many doubters. But for Tracy and her crew, it wasn’t just their wildest dream. It was the main objective, a task to be accomplished no matter what, and to watch them succeed and turn the world on its head in the process was such a delight to watch.
NZ 2019, 97 min, rated M (offensive language)
Directed by Alex Holmes