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film review
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Tracy Edwards, left, Dawn Riley, Sally Hunter, Angela Heath, Mikaela Von Koskull, Amanda Swan Neal, Tanja Visser, Jo Gooding, right, aboard Maiden.Courtesy of Mongrel Media

  • Maiden
  • Directed by: Alex Holmes
  • Starring: Tracy Edwards and Jo Gooding
  • Classification: G; 98 minutes


3.5 out of 4 stars

A sort of seafaring Battle of the Sexes, Maiden is an enlivening bit of documentary filmmaking about a full-female sailing crew that takes on harsh oceanic conditions and even rougher treatment from the sexist international sailing community.

It’s mostly the story of Tracy Edwards, an unlikely young and untested British captain of the vessel appropriately named Maiden, which just as easily could have been called Audacity. Edwards, outwardly fierce but inwardly insecure, skippered the first all-lady team to compete in the gruelling nine-month Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.

Open this photo in gallery:

Tracy Edwards, left, and Mikaela Von Koskull, right, on the first all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.Courtesy of Mongrel Media

Using archival footage and fresh recollections, director Alex Holmes (Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story) offers an illuminating look into the weird world of jibs and rigging in a film that transcends the action of the sport. Blatant chauvinism was the dry rot of the sailing world; one male journalist called the Maiden “a tin full of tarts.” This story of personal redemption tacks drama by the nautical mile. "The ocean is always trying to kill you,” says Edwards, a woman, like most, who knows about facing high odds and salty conditions.

Maiden opens July 12 in Toronto, July 19 in Montreal and July 26 in Vancouver. The Maiden yacht docks in Vancouver (July 28 to Aug. 2) as part of a two-year world tour to raise funds and awareness for girls’ education and female empowerment.

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