This documentary from Alex Holmes (Stop At Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story) has a rousing, adventurous spirit, besides yielding perspicuous use of talking heads (directly into the camera) and wisely chosen old clips.
Runaway teen Tracy Edwards is the linchpin of his Maiden which centers on the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race in her early adult years. The history maker paid her dues by cleaning and cooking on many a nautical vessel before garnering the capital needed to purchase what she would put to good use with an all-female crew.
This is during the 1980s leading to Whitbread as this group was hardly embraced by reporters like Bob Fisher whose dismissive description included ‘a tin full of tarts.’ It seemed like fellow sea dogs and a portion of the public also thought they didn’t have what it took to last in a ‘rich man’s sport’; a preliminary event in 1989 had the titular yacht disqualified by a jury just as it had begun.
This union of now and then has Holmes getting much from his craftspeople, notably editor Katie Bryer, to create a rather taut, even thrilling experience with the everyday vicissitudes nicely covered. How did an abrasive, but truly committed and respected leader like Edwards developed such a navigational acumen with victory coming in two of six legs of the global competition? Or, what makes her and her crew tick? Well, you’re not going to get that in the focus of this unique, largely unknown sorority who tethered themselves during volatile conditions when others were thrown overboard.
Even without a passing interest in sailing or America’s Cup (which isn’t as hyped in this millennium as back in the day when Dennis Conner roughed it for Australia in Newport, RI) Maiden dutifully cuts into the waves of misogyny in a #MeToo era with its share of ‘locker room talk’. The crew ruefully acknowledges appearing in swimsuits upon their Florida arrival. While ultimately ingratiating more than those cognizant of how it all wound up, unfolding in triumphal fashion