Maiden Review – Awesome, Inspirational, Triumphant

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Maiden, from Sony Pictures Classics, brings to the screen the story of Tracy Edwards, and her determination to captain the first all-girl crew in the most challenging and grueling sailing races, The Whitbread Round The World Race.

Directed by Alex Holmes, Maiden, a documentary, weaves in footage from the days and times of the herculean events along with interviews from members of the Maiden crew and of course Ms. Edwards.

The film opens with the methodical sounds of waves crashing and a voice over saying, "The ocean is always trying to kill you." This is where we meet Tracy Edwards, older now, vibrant she lights up the screen in pastel colors that genuinely become her. And she begins to tell us, invite us, into her life and the stories of it.

Growing up she says, life was idyllic, loving home, parents who were daredevils, full of adventure and imagination. A father who adored her and needless to say these formative years where everything they should be, with the world and it's troubles far away.

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Unfortunately, as she explains, it didn't last and her father, died of a heart attack one night. The ambulance couldn't get to their home in time and he passed away. She never got the chance to say goodbye. Life went from easy to extremely difficult and even worse. Her mom eventually remarried, and they moved to a small village. He was a drunk, violent, and she was angry, hurt, lonely and mad and a teenager.

This is when we meet a childhood friend, Joanna Gooding, who fills some of the events that led up to Tracy running away from home.

Suddenly she is in Greece and is doing odd jobs to earn her keep when, by chance, a skipper of a charter asks her if she wants to be a waitress on his yacht. After she said yes, it seems as if the intersections of destiny came in succession.

Soon the charter, by chance, was picked by a very important person who happened to King Hussein of Jordan. Under the guise of a regular guy, the King ended up, by chance, striking up a conversation with Tracy and they stayed in contact through the years.

By this time, Tracy has her sea legs and the call of the ocean is in her soul. Once they get back to port, she literally bangs on every hull, taking to every skipper trying to find a spot one on the Whitbread Yacht. She is picked up as a cook.

One year later, with one Whitbread down, she stepped off the boat and decided she would put together an all-female crew, find a seaworthy Yacht, seek out sponsors, and win it. And while the entire story is interesting, this is where we begin to understand the determination of Tracy Edwards.

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The first order of business we see is Tracy setting up the crew. Word spread quickly and first to join was her childhood chum Joanna, who with no Yachting experience became cook and documentarian. After that a crew was assembled.

However, even in the age of gender equality and female inclusion, the media was not friendly to the crew of honeypots and made it pretty clear they've had their bit of fun and moment in the sun and it was time to put away the naive dreams of competing against men in a traditional male only round the world Yacht race.

Building this dream, was a bit like making a movie, new rewrites on the scenes were common as no sponsors were showing up, so the entire production was poised precariously on the daily bread. Tracy explains this last leg of pre-sponsor, one -year out and they still hadn't secured the Yacht. It was time, she mortgaged her home and they found a Yacht. And the women went to work and rebuilt every inch of the boat.

All good, she was a beauty, and still no one wanted to dance with her. The risk was too great as no one wanted to be the face of sponsorship should the fate of catastrophic failure or worse meet our girls.

Tracy always one to pull a rabbit out of her hat call King Hussein, the mysterious VIP, on the Yacht years ago who seemed so interested in this young determined girl and her life and goals that after that Yacht trip the two remained in contact.

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It was during the time He was attempting to launch Royal Jordanian airlines so without hesitation, he said we'll sponsor, Royal Jordanian will be the sponsors. And they remained the only sponsor Maiden would receive.

Soon the crew with 26-year-old Skipper Tracy Edwards set sail in the 1989 Whitbread Round The World Yacht Race. With six legs, the first which began at the sound of the start cannon, a grueling 5,938 miles from Southampton England to Punta del Este Uruguay. The crew surprised all, as many a money bet was lost that day, by making it to port, even third was a surprise.

October 28, 1989 from Punta del Este to Fremantle Australia, the Southern Crossing. 7,260miles of swelling seas, deep inside the Southern Ocean where icebergs were waiting. 52 days at sea. Maiden finished first, winning the second leg for her class.

The third leg and the shortest, a mere 3,272 miles would again be won by Maiden.

Maiden was taking on water during the fourth leg and with little winds an pounding seas, the call was put out for the RAF to stand by for a possible sea rescue. Soon the found the leak, and as Tracy explained, the women formed a bucket brigade.

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Nearly 100 days at sea with no wind, and Maiden lost her lead position. The leak was in the mast and not the hull and found in port. Soon Maiden recovered a bit of time and now only sixteen hours behind the class leader, the Belgian boat Rucanor, The final leg approaches. 3,818 miles from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Southampton, England when the class leader Rucanor get stuck on a sandbar near the finish line, Maiden, the all-female crew and British Captain Tracy Edwards end placing second.

It sounds almost like a let-down, until you see the finale. As Maiden comes into Port, home, back from a daring, what should have been impossible journey.

Triumphant, inspirational, the ending will have you standing and cheering for the daring group of females who threw convention to the wind and for Tracy Edwards who took the heartache, rebellion and hurt she experienced as a teen and turned it into a treasure for the world to see.

Maiden opens Friday, June 28, 2019. See it.

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