Its 6:23 pm
twilight/cold/snow is coming
This month has been quite a nice one at one of our favorite places to hunt at,the public library. This month they featured a mighty sale of 5 CDs/DVDs/BluRays for a buck. 20 cents……for anything!! Its been an outstanding sale and for 3 of the 4 weeks,the inventory has been way beyond what we all expected with plenty of goodies to be had.
This is how I came to aquire “Maiden”. It was a discarded library copy and while I normally pass on those because they are pretty much scratched to hell,for 20 cents I decided to take a flier and pick up a copy. And so damn glad I did because “Maiden” is a absolutely wonderful documentary that Sony Pictures Classics released.
The story is about the first all-women crewed sailboat which competed in the 1989 Whitbread Round the World race and how this group came together behind a rookie 24 year old Englishwoman by the name of Tracy Edwards.
The film,directed by documentary filmmaker Alex Holmes,is blessed to have so much of Tracy’s past saved on pictures and on film. Its able to show the incredibly difficult life Tracy fell into after her once stable home life fell apart after her father passed away.
She was expelled from and then found a job on a boat as a cook. It was while on a boat she met the King of Jordan and the two stayed in touch.
When Tracy heard about the brutal Whitbread race,a 33,000 (and change) mile race,she wanted to do and tried to join a racing boat but only found a job as a cook once again. She bailed after the first leg and was determined to crew her own boat. Getting the boat,the “Maiden” into the race was just as hard as actually sailing in it. Tracy put her house up as she raised money to buy a throughly beat up boat.
But she also found a all women crew who knew their way about a boat including a skilled driver (the skipper plots and calls for changes due to conditions,a driver does just that,they drive). The women work all year to get the Maiden into race shape while Tracy travels up and down the UK looking for sponsers because boats are very expensive to run. She has no luck as no one believes a all women crew will survive the brutal Whitbread.
With time running out before the race,Tracy reaches out to the King of Jordan who graciously sponsers the “Maiden”. The repairs to the boat are complete and the crew begins a few practice runs. Due to some rough driving,the Maiden hits some rough water which leads to a crew member breaking her wrist. Edwards then has to replace her driver mere weeks before the race,not a good omen for Maiden.
Race day comes up and in typical shitty British journalistic tradition,the male reporters poke fun at the crew of Maiden asking them all sort of insulting questions and some of them openly doubting they would come back alive.
But when the gun goes off,the Maiden flies and the crew moves as one. Its a little bumpy as most shakedown cruises are but the team does very well in its first leg to Uraguay,finishing 3rd in its class.
While many people are surprised that not only did Maiden finish but finished very respectfully for a rookie boat. The women however are not pleased because they know they can do better and with the second and most dangerous leg up next,they’ll get their chance at not only proving themselves but saving a life in the process….
Maiden finished the Whitbread 2nd in her class and proved once and all that women could not only sail but could dominate older more established male crews.
Many things stayed with me while watching “Maiden”,Tracy Edwards is a awesome skipper and tremendous competitor,she was named the UK’s “Skipper of the Year” for her efforts. I did feel sorry for her because she never learned to relax and enjoy her pioneering steps. In the various interviews with the Maiden’s crew,you can still see that Tracy was still wound pretty tightly,even almost 30 years later.
I’m not sharing the entire film as I don’t like posting spoilers but if you don’t find yourself white knuckling your couch or loved one in watching this,you don’t have a heart.
When Holmes approached Tracy about covering the Maiden’s race,he thought he would have to re-create many of the scenes but what REALLY makes Maiden so damn good is the fact the crew filmed their entire race!! The coverage is amazing as it covers the good and the absolutely scary scenes of what could and did go wrong in some of the worst weather on this planet.
And the last thing that I’ll mention that stuck with me was the homecoming the Maiden and her crew got. Everyone is shown rushing out and escorting her home….but the hypocrisy of this is stunning. The crew was mocked and jeered by EVERYONE and Edwards couldn’t get anyone to sponser her boat. The reporters were insulting and asked lewd questions that they would never ask a male crewed boat and she had to go outside the country to find the money just to compete. It made me angry watching the Brits all pour out and bandwagon on this brave crew,they should have rallied behind them from the start instead of mocking them and their skills. I know its supposed it be a moving moment but it just a bad taste in my mouth watching it.
All in all,I loved this movie quite a bit and was very impressed by how Holmes put it together,I wish he could have shown the women together at the end in a group shot.
Maiden has a run time of 97 minutes and is rated PG. Special features include a Q&A with Tracy Edwards and Alex Holmes and the featurette “Women Making Waves”.
The cheetah and I can’t recommend “Maiden” enough and we gave it two thumbs/4 paws and a tail straight up!!
What documentaries have you seen lately? Drop a comment below and share it with us!!