When I was a young Maiden, my mother had spoken to me. When I was a young Maiden, She told me be weary of the sea.
None of that is true, but it is similar to the plot of Moana. But unlike Moana, Maiden is a documentary and a true story of women power and conquering the oceans like many men before them. More importantly, it is a story about Tracy Edwards, the most bad ass sailor lady you will have ever heard about.
You see, in virtually most sports and specialized professions, they were generally for men only for some time. War, soccer, football, baseball, sailing, being a CEO, being King, you name it. Women have had the short straw. And in every one of these events, one woman had to be the first to break the mold eventually.
The mold to be broken? The Whitbread Round the World yacht race that was held every three years. It would take over half a year to complete, broken into various legs with the groups on the water for over a month at a time. A very expensive voyage, with a lot of obvious peril as well. Tracy wanted to sail around the world and be on a crew! And these men crews weren’t having it, even if she was talented. Eventually she landed on a crew as the Cook, got some experience, but no respect.
So she said screw all these asshole men. I’m gonna make my own crew! And I’m gonna have only women on board to prove we can still be successful!
And, you know, that’s why we have the documentary.
No one believed in the ladies of course. No, they aren’t strong enough, or experienced enough, or what have you. They were a media buzz for years before the race, in trying to secure funding, in repairing a boat, in finding a crew. But of course most people just made fun of them in the media and other teams.
But Tracy put together a team of ladies with various sailing experiences. They practiced as much as they could and they had a plan to work together. And most importantly, they had trust.
Now surely you can just look up the 1989 race and find out how they did, but if you don’t know the results along the way then the documentary will be that much more thrilling. There is a surprising amount of footage, both before, earlier in her life, leading up the race, and during the race that has been put together for this documentary.
What the documentary struggles with is the finer details. I had to look up way too much about the Whitbread Race, and it is clearly a good documentary to give better explanations for it. They were inconsistent when giving details about the various legs of the race. The first few they showed global lines, talked distance and the struggles. And then suddenly one leg had none of that, and I had no idea where they were heading or how long they would be out on the ocean. It just seemed silly to almost have all of the details and exclude information later on.
This documentary is very powerful and inspirational however. It is great timing for it to come out, both 30 years after the fact, and in such a troubling time of vying for equal rights and me too movements. It was inspiring then, and it is inspiring now.