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  • One of the best sporting documentaries ever made, you are with the all female crew (even if you are male) all the way. Through the all the lows and all the highs. The original footage makes it totally authentic. There is excitement, humour and pathos. There are no dull moments or flat spots, the film just grips you from start to finish. You don't have to like sailing or documentaries to love this movie.
  • damienaus13 March 2019
    This is a film that doesn't leave you: the images of gigantic waves and ice bergs and superhuman levels of courage and endurance are hard to process. If it were a work of fiction you would dismiss it as Hollywood hype: but it's not, it really happened and you are with them in the boat to watch their epic achievements. Just see it.
  • Greetings again from the darkness. Thanks to Ron Shelton's BULL DURHAM (1988), a favorite sports phrase emerged: 'announcing one's presence with authority'. Perhaps no better phrase exists to describe Tracy Edwards at the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Race. The 24 year old Edwards was the skipper-navigator of the first all-women crew to compete in the race ... a grueling every-three-years event where yachts are sailed around the world in multiple stages/legs.

    Director Alex Holmes takes us back to Ms. Edwards' childhood. We see home movies, interviews with friends, and hear stories to prove she wasn't the easiest child to raise. Maybe too much time is devoted to this section, but it picks up when we get to adult Tracy's story about how she was first attracted to the race and got involved as a cook on one of the vessels. She talks about being treated like a servant by the crew and how that inspired her idea to assemble an all-woman crew and race their own boat.

    The interviews include other skippers (men, of course), the journalists who covered the race (men, of course), and the crew members from the Maiden. We see them today, and have the "then" photos and clips to gain an appreciation of the 30 years that have passed. We hear that "being girls is like being disabled in the sailing world", and one can sense the attitude (even today) of the competitors.

    The race covers 33,000 nautical miles, but Ms. Edwards' historic voyage started long before they set sail. She speaks to the difficulty of fundraising - two years of almost no money, and how Jordan's King Hussein not only inspired her, but also assisted. A second-hand boat at a reduced cost put the crew to work on rehabilitation, and this 'sweat equity' likely made them more determined than ever.

    "The probability of not making it is high." Self-doubt and insecurities bubbled up. Once the race got underway, the women were a team. Terrific archival footage puts us right there with the crew - massive waves, ice on the sails, incredible cold and wind. These obstacles from nature care not if the crew is man or woman. Ms. Edwards' leadership is on full display during the various legs of the race. It's clear by the end that they have gained respect of those who doubted them, and the warm reception proves how strong their fan base was. It's certainly not the first sports movie featuring underdogs. In fact, the Jamaican bobsled team is a comparison that comes to mind as a group of dedicated competitors given little chance to succeed by those 'in the know'. Here's hoping the inevitable Hollywood dramatization never occurs, as no actor could tell it better than those who performed the work and raced the race.
  • Sail around the world with a fearless female crew - the first ever only 30 years ago to race in the Whitbread and defy critics. Very entertaining, inspiring and funny! A must see even if you're someone who thinks they don't like documentaries.
  • After being reluctantly dragged to this movie by my spouse, I found myself surprising interested in a sailing race I would normally consider the silly pursuit of the idle wealthy. I came to care whether the female crew succeeded in its unlikely quest.

    The movie is well worth seeing even if you know or care nothing about around-the-world sailing.
  • judithwheelan8 March 2019
    This is a film for anyone who's ever been told they'll never make anything of themselves. Truly inspirational. The story of an amazingly strong woman and testimony to human resilience against all the odds.
  • lalachoi6 April 2019
    Who would expect a documentary about the first all woman crew competing in a yacht race to be so moving and poetic? It could have been an earnest piece but no, it was beautiful, emotional and exciting. You couldn't take your eyes off the massive rolling waves and the and how small the women in the great ocean, and how dogged they were to finish their race. Each change in mood was so well placed, often unexpected and surprising and the journey took you all the way from start to finish.
  • This is a gem. A great story about two things. One the first all female team to enter an around the world race. And an almost Greek epic tale of perseverance and success. Edwards is shown "warts and all" with insecurities, temper tantrums and self doubt. Despite this, or maybe because of it, she emerges as a genuine heroine. Someone has the foresight to shoot a lot of film during the race so we don't just rely on interviews or narration, but we get to see the actual race and its marvelous. The interviews with the ladies are well edited and you really get a very good picture of their real lives back then. Not marring the film, but a bit distracting, is the musing o feminism which is probably inevitable, as they were mocked and patronized by other racers and by the media. However the doc shows, without irony how the nascent feminists don sexy swimsuits to distract the media. Then as now "isms" are generally not propelling the story. One minor issue (but again it doesn't spoil the film) is a lack of any explanation of terms that those unfamiliar with yacht racing may not understood. Several time "match racing" is mentioned but its never explained, so its unclear why it is important. Similarly, it is explained that boats can win a "leg" of a race, but its never explained how winning discrete legs figures in to winning overall. If it whomever wins most legs? Yes? No? Where the film really scores big is in showing how a race (and by implication anything else) is more than a race, and how rising to a challenge can change entire lives. Reminiscent of the "Seeing the Elephant" effect experienced by settlers who walked West in the USA during the theft of Indian lands, the race becomes something much bigger and much more significant. Although the film sometimes slips into misanthropy, it should, really, be able to inspire any women or (if I can mention them) men. Yes its about a female team in a race, but its really about humans in any situation where they can fail big (if you fail at sea you die) or succeed.
  • jroscoe-7516923 November 2018
    It was great - inspirational, moving, emotional. Women of all ages should see this movie and believe they can accomplish anything. Well done Tracey Edwards
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's a good story, but I found the movie disappointing. And too much of the rest is uninspiring talking heads in front of the same studio backdrop, and the focus on misogyny ignores the breathtaking lack of long-distance offshore qualifications in the crew. Skipper-Navigator Edwards had been in a prior Whitbread, but only as a cook, and her other experience was as a stewardess on a charter boat. Their tuneup race was supposed to be the Fastnet, but they had to abandon when a member of the crew broke her wrist and there was no medkit. The movie makes it sound like Edwards planned to build her own boat, despite lacking relevant experience, but had to settle for a beat up used boat when she couldn't raise the money despite sponsorship by the King of Jordan. The movie failed to mention that the used boat was a 10 year old custom design by top designer Bruce Farr for a previous Whitbread in which it finished 4th overall (on corrected time), a considerably better finish than Maiden (18th overall out of 21 finishers, 2nd in class of 4 boats). The movie also suffers from a lack of crucial Maiden race details, with no mention of the serious crew injuries on Leg 4, dismissing the huge blunder on Leg 5 as just "overthinking" navigation, no mention of hitting a whale and a waterspout on Leg 6, and making it seem like they weren't that far back at the end despite being over 2 days behind the class leader. That they finished was equal measures of luck and perseverance. Still, I do think it worth seeing.
  • I emailed everyone in my (sailing) family telling them this movie is a must see. I was moved to tears by these extraordinary women, their spirit and bravery. This documentary is so inspiring. Bravo to them and the documentarian.
  • Maiden (2018) is a documentary directed by Alex Holmes.

    It stars Tracy Edwards, who, in 1989, skippered the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race. At the time, "everyone knew" that women didn't belong in competitive yacht racing. Yes--they could sometimes be cooks on long races, but not sailors.

    It seems Neanderthal now, but 30 years ago it was a true restriction.

    Edwards didn't only skipper the ship. Before then, she managed to obtain a yacht and find a crew. During the grueling race, she was also the navigator.

    Edwards was a determined, capable sailor. However, she didn't always play well with others. We learn this from her own words, as well as from two of her crew members--Jeni Mundy and Mikaela Von Koskull.

    Normally, I avoid movies about people who climb dangerous mountains or perform other dangerous tasks for thrills and glory. Not so in this case. Yachtsmen thought women couldn't race, and the all-woman crew thought they could. This was a true step forward for gender equality, and deserves to be applauded as such.

    We saw this film at Rochester's excellent Little Theatre. Because of the footage of the yacht in action, this is a movie that should be seen on a large screen. However, if the small screen is your only option, see it that way.

    Maiden has a very strong IMDb rating of 7.6. I think it's even better than that.
  • You don't have to be a sailor to appreciate this film (although I am one). Tracy and crew not only had to deal with mother nature's unpredictable elements when racing a sail boat, but, also had to deal with gender inequality in the 80's. The film captures Tracy and crew's challenges in the purest way. From start to finish, one can only imagine what these women had to go through. They never gave up and they handled everything with grace. Truly inspirational and in awe what these women accomplished before the #metoo movement.
  • Thanks to this documentary, a lot more people (including me, who'd never heard of it) learned that in 1989, 27-year-old Tracy Edwards put together the first all-female crew of sailors in the Whitbread's round-the-world yacht race and not only finished this 5-month epic journey but did spectacularly well. It's a story tailor-made for a good documentary. On YouTube you can find a really interesting recent interview with Tracy and the director Alex Holmes, which fills in loads of fascinating detail and backstory about the making of the film. It turns out that Holmes thought this was a terrific story, proposed the idea of making a movie version to Tracy complete with script and casting and everything. Tracy then told him they weren't exactly in the dark ages back in 1989, their cook doubled as embedded photographer, and there was lots of original film footage direct from the boat to work with. So -- a documentary. (Not that this wouldn't make a great movie too. Maybe someday.)

    One stylistic element I really enjoyed was that the women of the crew are all still around (now middle-aged of course), and the film regularly splices in some narration from them in between seeing their younger selves during the race. These ladies are great -- they're articulate, self-possessed, with mature reflections on what they accomplished back then. I'd have been happy with seeing more of them and I suspect there's lots more that was edited down.

    Minor complaints that reduce my rating "down" to a mere 8/10: first, there wasn't enough about the actual process of sailing and handling the yacht. I would happily have heard more about that. Second, what happened to the fifth leg of the race? That was the section from South America to Florida. I guess there was nothing very dramatic during it so it was cut. And last -- it didn't really tell us how Maiden stood relative to the other yachts in the race. They did finish second *in their class*, but many boats in other classes finished well ahead. Somehow they made it sound as if Maiden was among the leaders among all the boats, but that wasn't the case.

    However, it has a great finish. The last scene during the race sees them on a clear day sailing calmly and steadily in to the finish line at Southampton. Tracy and her crew are a bit depressed because they know they're not going to be first (in their class). But then, a little sailboat comes by, turns around, and joins them on the way in. Then another. And another. Then dozens more. Maiden comes in to harbor absolutely surrounded by a little fleet of boats, and with hundreds of cheering spectators lining the docks, all to validate that they had done something no one had done before. It's a magnificent scene almost too good for words. This is a totally engaging film throughout, but that sequence and the women themselves make this a first-rate piece of work.
  • Despite half of it being a talking head documentary, which I'm not for, the combination of the powerful women telling their story with the images shot in the eighties of the race is absolutely stunning. You cheer them on because they're there to set the trademark for all women after them, opening a door for them for opportunities. These girls are saying now again that if you listen to what people tell you you can't do, human kind would not have been great at all. And that is a strong message that I will take to heart.
  • The decision to have two cameras on board (one hand held) & to film everything during Maiden's 167 day race gives the viewers great insight into the beauty & dangers of the open ocean, and to the challenges both internal & external for a group of humans trying to both compete & survive. The special features interview of making the doc provides many answers, but would have liked a few minutes more background/update on participants as well as both that boat & that race's history.
  • This is a documentary in essence,which might put some people off, but that's probably the best way to condense and convey the Whitbread into film length proportions. I'm old enough to remember the jibes floating around at the time " they'll be fighting over the hair dryer while the boat runs aground" type of nonsense. These were tremendous sailors with great courage, greater cahonies than 99% of men. The swimsuit stunt was a mistake i thought but equally i can see it as one in the eye for the men, perhaps that would have looked great on the leg they won.. Tracy Edwards and her stellar crew deserve all the plaudits we can give. A fresh look at their achievements is a timely reminder that womens rights and respect for women in general, though slow to change, never the less has its compass pointing in the right direction.
  • Cavebear114 October 2019
    Warning: Spoilers
    An amazing account of young Tracy Edwards organizing an all female crew to compete in the 1989 Whitbread Yacht Race around the world. She went into debt to buy a second hand yacht, which was then rebuilt for the competition. She had to overcome misogyny of the times from not only the other competitors , but the media as well. They not only proved themselves capable of sailing, but won two of the six legs of the race in their class, coming in second overall. After months of being at sea, braving storms and sailing 33,000 miles, they won the respect of their racing peers and the hearts of their countrymen. Much of the on-board action was filmed by one of the crew and was used to take us up close and personal during the race. An excellent documentary.
  • dane-704 August 2019
    The story is of course fantastic, but the movie is disappointing. You learn less about the 'human-interest' side of the story than you would from the NPR interview with the captain (nothing of what she went through in the years after the race). And as more than one reviewer has noted, the details of sailing were sketchy at best (well over half of the movie is talking heads interviews): what are the rules of the Whitbread? the preceding Fastnet, the ocean conditions? the design and layout of the boat? what caused the leak that led to the loss of a leg? how much refitting is allowed between legs? what were their tactics? (the only leg that that was even mentioned was the southern leg, and even there, if you did not know beforehand something about the conditions in that area, you would have little clue as to what they tried and how dangerous it was). Their goal was to be treated like sailors (as they often state), not as "women-sailors"; but the movie then does exactly what they objected to. If that's really what the producers wanted, a radical solution might have been to scrap the sailing footage altogether, and focus solely on people involved. But that's a book, not a movie, and the cinematic aspects of this (waves and sails) is not a whole lot better than stock footage.
  • MAIDEN tells uplifting story of Tracy Edwards and her pursuit of leading an all woman crew on an around the world yacht race on board the ship of the same name back in 1989 - the first such voyage. Director Alex Holmes' interviews the magnetic Edwards and much of her crew (and some of her opponents and detractors) in depicting the tale of the runaway British teenager who somehow stumbled in the world of competitive sailing. While hanging out on the sailing circuit, Edwards fell in love with it and talked her way aboard a racing ship in the mid-80s - as a cook to an all-male crew. Along the way, she befriended King Hussein of Jordan, who would later provide crucial financing for her own 1989 crew. Holmes has made a fairly standard Doc. Interviews inter-cut with clips. Unfortunately, his decision to crop and stretch the mostly videotape period footage to full-screen makes the already degraded images look even worse than necessary. Oddly, the 8mm home movie footage IS shown in the proper aspect ratio (hardly the first example of doing this - But, why is old film sacred, but, it's ok to stretch TV news video?). The effect is to make the VHS stuff look extremely blurry and washed out. Obviously, you use what you have access to*, but, by stretching and zooming in it makes it look like it all happened even longer ago than it did. More fundamentally, Holmes does a mediocre, at best, job of giving the viewer all the necessary information about the Whitbread Round the World Race that is the centerpiece. One has to piece together how long it is, how many legs, what the rules are, the different classes etc.. How did a cook become a world class navigator? The movie doesn't even bother to explain who King Hussein was - and, I wager that for most folks under 50, when they hear "Hussein" they think of Saddam or Obama's middle name. Heck, you have to be an eagle-eyed end credits watcher to even note that Edwards has been awarded an MBE. Such fundamental questions and quite a few others are curiously never explained, nor even brought up. There is also no customary end of the movie on screen crawl updating what Edwards et. al. have been doing since (Edwards attempted another around the world trip with an all woman crew in 1998). Of course, not every Documentary has to follow the traditional format (although it does in most ways), but it leaves the movie seemingly curiously incomplete. MAIDEN is a great story told in an indifferent manner. It's worth seeing for the subject matter if nothing else (also, because it's visually so insufficient, it's hard to recommend it on the big screen; it will look better at home). Still, the images of this crew of women seen in tandem with those of the U.S. Women's World Cup soccer team is stirring. The constant use of the word "girls" when describing the women even in the contemporary interviews shows how all is still not equal (and, the vintage newscast commentary is a whole other level). One step at a time. One sail at a time.

    * Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be any 16mm footage included of the voyage itself. Hard to believe than no TV channels, Networks or filmmakers didn't film at least part of the race. It's all presented on videotape (some shot by the crew itself) and photographs (which look fine). It also doesn't look like there was much digital clean-up done of the taped segments (probably a budget consideration). It's too bad. With such great scenery on the open seas to behold, it's mainly an eyestrain.
  • "Maiden" (2018 release; 97 min.) is a documentary about the all-female crew of the Maiden in the Whitbread Round the World sailing competition. As the movie opens, it is "September 2, 1989, Southampton", the day that the Whitbread race begins, and we get to know Tracy Edwards, the 27 year old skipper of the Maiden. We then go back in time to Tracey's upbringing, where her parents instill a sense of determination in her. It eventually leads her to want to compete in the Whitbread race, and in 1986 she announces her intent to do the 1989 race with an all-female crew... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie.

    Couple of comments: this is the latest documentary from Alex Holmes. Holmes one the one hand uses the ample archive video and TV footage from that era, and also interviews the 12 member crew of the Maiden, who all look back to what took place in the late 80s with a sense of pride and amazement. Tracy Edwards makes a great subject matter and interviewee. When you see this young woman not only have the dream of doing this, and then actually DOING it albeit not without problems and challenges, you feel so inspired. (One of the biggest challenge turned out to be finding a sponsor for the boat: Edwards approached literally hundreds and hundreds of companies, and NOT ONE SINGLE company was interested in stepping up. How she managed this financially is explained in the film.) There is an amazing amount of footage from on the ship itself, and it raised the hairs on my arms as you see them sailing on the Southern oceans. I am going on record already to predict that "Maiden" will get an Oscar nomination for BEst Directory early next year.

    I had seen the trailer for "Maiden" and couldn't wait to see it. The film opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended poorly (5 people in total). That's a darn shame. Hopefully this film can find a much deserved wider audience as it launches on other platforms. If you like a good documentary whose timing in today's climate of gender equality is perfect, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
  • It is easy to find technical faults with this film. No one knew when Tracy started this journey that it would end the way it did and that along the way there would be heart stopping moments, and a fantastic story. So the movie was stitched together, after the fact, with old technology family movies, hand held video shot by the crew under challenging situations, some news clips, etc. No professional camera crew alongside the boat, no second shots, no time for set ups or make up. Just gritty segments of tough sailing conditions with a crew and captain coming through.

    The cuts from knife edge moments to studio segments of talking heads of the crew and their recollections/ comment on those situations only served to remind us how different the world is that we inhabit, in the theater to that on the killer ocean.

    It was only about 30 years ago but it seems eons since people thought girls could not possibly do big things.

    Thank god we have moved on. After watching the womens' world cup this nicely bookends the era of male chauvinism.

    I have three daughters. I want them to see this...
  • I was closing in on the last segment of my High school year when this story started gathering momentum.

    I'd started sailing a year or two before; only dinghies on a local reservoir. Not that learning to sail in and around a small village on the outskirts of Manchester was something common, and certainly not something your school friends really wanted to talk about when they were all obsessed with football. I'd rather don a wetsuit and go get wet sailing Toppers and enjoying the single challenge of sailing than talk about or play football.

    When this story really gathered speed though and started getting a lot of media attention it was like a hobby I alone enjoyed was suddenly becoming a huge topic at school.

    It was that big of a deal.

    Tracy Edwards is an amazing human being and did something phenomenal.

    Showed the world "Telling me no isn't acceptable". I looked up to her and admired her as a teenager and that message stuck with me till this day and still motivates me. Having watched this film, more so now as a grown man.

    She was a large part of the reason years later when given the chance to sail on yachts. I didn't flinch; I signed up and went for it. Even making sure I pushed others out of the way to ensure I got to crew and they didn't.

    (I was in the Army and a lot of more senior guys were signing up for a course to sail around the Greek islands and none of them had sailed before but were trying to pull seniority as they saw it as a fun holiday and an easy 2 weeks fun in the sun - So I made sure the fact I had sailed before and crewed on a 37 foot yacht was a better reason to get a ride than give it to someone who had no idea what was involved other than sunbathing and pretending they were in a Duran Duran video. Worked out well as when we sailed out from Cyprus it was into force 6 gales for 4 days and I enjoyed every moment of it while others were wishing they were dead and crying for someone to kill them as they were terrified and also sea sick.)

    I eventually got to crew on a 55 foot Nicholson Yacht which had won stages of the Whitbread previously before it had been bought and taken on by the Armed Forces. Stepping aboard that Nic55 was one of the highlights of my life because I felt the history of it and knew what it had been through.

    So I thought till I watched this film.

    This is a well put together film using archive footage and personal memories. Openly and frankly discussed with hearts and soul shown to the world.

    I'll avoid going into detail about the events as it's worth seeing the story unfold if you do not know much about it.

    It clearly shows also how much the world needed to change and the Maiden crew certainly did that, and rightly so. These ladies had everything to prove and they just got on with their jobs regardless of how much they were being looked down upon and slated.

    Not a fan of sailing, watch it anyway.

    It has drama and heartbreaks, smiles and tears of joy. Tragedy and elation in equal amounts. Without the whimsy and fluff often contained in "Sports films".

    Most of all though; it's about doing what people tell you that you cannot do. The underlying message isn't hidden nor shied away from.

    If you want it bad enough and are prepared to play for all the marbles, you might just surprise yourself and send a ripple around the world.

    The fact the Maiden crew did what 95% of the sailing world considered impossible is amazing enough. Against the odds all the crews faced and under the immense stress and pressure of being the first all female crew and being snubbed and snobbed over is simply inspiring to not just females. Though of course this story is hinged on that part. It's not hung up on it. Which is what makes this film so great.

    It's a heartfelt journey of adversity and epic trials. Sailing around the world on a yacht is not easy and it is bloody dangerous.

    It raises many questions, but also shows what happens when you raise your middle finger to the world and state "I will do this".

    So many people had to eat humble pie due to what the Maiden crew did and some of them were huge names in the sailing world or very famous.

    While the Brits are known for the underdog spirit, there is a reason; people like Tracy Edwards and the rest of the Maiden crew.

    You have to watch this till the end though; just to see how much Maiden changed the world and thinking. It's a very emotional and moving climax and highly unexpected.

    I've rated this 10/10 because it really did deliver what I expected and then added multiple layers on top.

    Don't be surprised if Hollywood jumps on this and does a theatrical version based on it.

    Hail Maiden, hail to Tracy Edwards and the crew who sailed on her. Thanks for being such an inspiration and giving me real life heroes to cheer for. I may not have gone on to crew in competition on yachts and sailed the world; I did get to sail on some lovely yachts and visit some exotic places though and in large part to you and this story unfolding when it did.
  • Alex Holmes does a great job at showing an evolution of Edward's self transformation. Her endurance in keep the Maiden,all-woman team together going for an adventure, whilst the then media securitized them.

    This documentary shows the bias attitudes of the sailing community. The film tries to idea of achieving the impossible. Edwards candid recollections of the 1989-1990 sailing by Maiden's sailing team is quite woven well together with members interviewed.

    Edwards was awarded an MBE, highest recognition in Britain for her involvement with being both the Skipper and Navigator on the Whitbread competition.