Movie review: Maiden


Special to the Parade

Maiden, at surface level, is a documentary about a group of women and their skipper/ navigator, Tracy Edwards, finishing the Whitbread Round the World Race, but it more so shows how powerful we humans are, how even with the worst of flaws, and highest of obstacles, we can work together to do the seemingly impossible.

The documentary follows the first all-female crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race, on a yacht named Maiden, with much of the focus on Tracy Edwards, the Maiden’s skipper and navigator who, through discimination, danger, setbacks and self doubt, pulled through and finished the race with the help and support of her crew.

The Whitbread Round the World Race, now called The Ocean Race, is a gruelling 6-month, 33,000 mile race, split into six legs: starting in the UK, going to Uruguay, then to Australia, back to Uruguay, then to the US, and ending in the UK. The conditions can vary, from calm seas with little to no wind, to freezing temperatures and dangerous waves. The race was very treacherous, with constant fear of a crew member getting swept overboard and dying. The race was almost all male-only crews, with the only women on the crew being cooks.

The Maiden’s all-female crew was deemed ridiculous to the media who followed the event. To them, it was physically impossible for the Maiden’s crew to finish a leg of the race let alone finish it.

This documentary documents Edwards and the Maiden’s crew with all the hardships this race brought on to them. From all the doubt and negative press, to their cook (Jo Gooding) falling and breaking her wrist on the first leg of the race, to the Maiden almost sinking. All this adds to the greatness of what Edwards and her crew did. One thing that makes this documentary so inspiring is the fact that Tracy isn’t perfect, she’s far from it. Her anger issues and a lack of confidence pose a serious obstacle in the race for her and the crew, and it’s told to us time and time again throughout the documentary. All this would come into play dur
ing the race, where she would burst out at her crew and make bad decisions while navigating. But her crew still supported her, even managing to make it in first place twice in their division, proving that they were just as capable as any other crew in the race.

The documentary also shows just how bad the times were for women. No one believed they would even finish the first leg of the race. The press would ask the women of their relationship status, and if they were lesbians, and if they were fighting.They were never asked serious questions about their tactics or strategies to navigating the race: they were mostly treated like a sideshow attraction. The Maiden crew was taken seriously only when they got first in their division for the second time.

In all this is an inspiring documentary that shows that even with every single thing against you, you should still try and reach your dreams. And even if you don’t win, come in first, or become the best, you’re still going to grow and do something better with the time you have.

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