Show & Tell: Maiden


Okay, I usually write something in these invitations about the weather and the change of seasons and how movies can see us through these changes and blah, blah. But tomorrow night, we’re going to be discussing Maiden, a documentary about the first all-woman crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race, a yachting race that took the most-recent winners 134 sailing days and was fortunate to see just one lost crewmen among the six boats competing.

The Whitbread (which has been through several name changes) is one tough mothering race, and the situation back in 1989, when skipper Tracy Edwards put together the first all-woman crew, was much harder. Besides the daunting challenge of the race itself, Edwards faced a typhoon of skepticism, ridicule, and derision from the male yachting community, with many veterans betting that the Maiden wouldn’t complete the first leg. Being the first woman to compete in any male-dominated activity is difficult, but Maiden’s voyage was something extraordinary. Open-ocean racing was (and probably still is, truth to tell) a very macho activity. Edwards didn’t win the race (the eventual winner was a much, much bigger boat, and in yacht racing, size does matter). But she scored an enormous victory by finishing (in 167 days) and took home some genuine honors. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s all very satisfying.

There’s no way to describe Tracy Edwards (and her crew) as anything but a hero. I know things are better now that women are graciously accepted without question and without resentment on the same footing as men in all human activities….As f***ing if! I hope you’ll join me for a discussion of this inspiring and stirring sea story. I usually run away screaming from any movie described as a “triumph of the human spirit,” but I think Maiden deserves that tag if any movie alive does. It should make for a great movie experience and a wonderful discussion.

Anybody in Portsmouth know anything about sailing? Join me for Maiden in The Historic Theater at 7:00 pm on Tuesday. See you there!

Paul Goodwin