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(Dec 30, 2019)
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Maiden is the inspirational story of how Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. Tracy s 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 re-mortgaged her home and bought a second-hand boat, putting everything on the line to ensure the team made it to the start line. With the support of her remarkable crew she went on to shock the sport and prove that women are the equal of men.
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The film is put together using amateur footage shot by one of the crew members of the Maiden during the race and recent interviews, and it's nicely done. This is, of course, the story of strong women fighting for equality in the male dominated world of competitive ocean sailing, but it's also the kind of underdog story that's always fun to watch. Think Eddie the Eagle (another Edwards, though no relation of Tracy I trust) or Cool Runnings. Only this one is not fictionalized and lacks the visual effects that can only be achieved by professionals with professional filming equipment. That may yet happen, the story seems to beg for a big budget dramatisation. And if (or when) it happens I'll certainly seek it out.
As it is, this film is definitely worth watching. Informative and highly entertaining. I left the cinema smiling to myself and that's not a bad thing. Particularly not on Women's Day and after seeing what might be termed a feminist film. Highly recommended for all kinds of reasons.