When 24-year-old Tracy Edwards, a stewardess who was working on charter yachts, decided to put together an all-female boat for the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Race, the doubt, lack of financial support, and raw sexism she and the team encountered was unparalleled by anything before seen in sailing. At the time, the sport — especially the offshore racing facet — was male dominated, though not without exception. Let’s not forget that in 1851, Eleanor Creesy was navigator aboard the commercial clipper ship Flying Cloud, which set a record for fastest passage between New York to San Francisco, a benchmark that stood for 138 years.
The story of Maiden is one of triumph over adversity. Given the extraordinary strides those women had to make, we hope it’s also a story that will take its appropriate place in history. With the last running of the Volvo Ocean Race being fully co-ed, we’d like to think that the sailing world has achieved some degree of equality — though we can’t say for sure. (Ask the women’s World Cup soccer team how they feel about equity.)
Maiden is now the subject of a documentary film that’s hitting Bay Area and West Coast theaters this week.
Maiden has been making the media rounds. Tracy Edwards was recently interviewed on Fresh Air about the documentary and the ’89 Whitbread. Out The Gate Sailing’s Ben Shaw also recently interviewed Maiden crew member Amanda Swan Neal. Also aboard that historic boat — and featured in the documentary — was the Bay Area’s own Dawn Riley.
Like other adventure stories our there, the story of Maiden doesn’t necessarily represent something all of us want to actually do, but it’s an adventure that can spark our imaginations. The Latitude Movie Club will have a full review of the film in the coming weeks.
Maiden opens July 12 at: Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley; Century 16 Downtown in Pleasant Hill; AMC Saratoga 14 in San Jose; Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.
The film opens July 19 at: Landmark’s Piedmont Theatre in Oakland; the Tower Theatre in Sacramento; United Artists Stonestown Twin in San Francisco; Landmark’s Nickelodeon Theatre in Santa Cruz; Summerfield Cinemas in Santa Rosa.
Not in the Bay Area? Not to worry — the film will be released widely around the world.
This story has been updated.