After discovering a love of sailing in her teens, Tracy Edwards dreamed of circumnavigating the globe in yachting’s most prestigious competition: the Whitbread Round the World Race (now the Ocean Race), a gruelling four-month journey of 32,018 nautical miles. Infuriated by the inherent sexism in the sport, Edwards was determined to enter the race on her own terms. Team Maiden Great Britain was born, and Edwards was to helm the first all-female crew to compete in the event in 1989–1990. No easy feat: they had to first find a sea-worthy boat.
The road to Whitbread was an arduous trek, and as soon as Maiden crossed the starting line in Southampton, the press began taking bets on when the boat full of incompetent girls would drop out of the race. Unbeknownst to their critics, the crew were on course to become feminist icons and inspire young sailors around the world, including those in New Zealand.
A testament to female strength, commitment and endurance, Maiden is this year’s power ballad for feminism and being fearless, no matter the odds. Utilising exhilarating race footage alongside new interviews with the original crew, director Alex Holmes weaves a story of hope, perseverance and lifelong friendships that were forged at sea. This stirring tale is sure to inspire every audience member – and to be greeted with the same rousing cheers that welcomed Maiden when it sailed into Auckland’s harbour on a balmy night in January 1990. — Kailey Carruthers
Those hungry for more of the story once the credits roll will be thrilled to know the Maiden is currently sailing around the world, empowering and mentoring girls, after being refurbished to its former glory (including vintage-style sails made in Auckland). “Maiden inspired a generation and now she has a new mission; to raise awareness and funding for girls’ educational organisations through The Maiden Factor Foundation.” — The Maiden Factor, themaidenfactor.org