Tracy Edwards and Alex Holmes on making 'Maiden,' and saving the boat to boot

Hosted by

The crew of Maiden. Courtesy of Tracy Edwards and Sony Pictures Classics

The new documentary ‘Maiden’ tells the incredible story of the first all-female crew to compete in the grueling, months-long Whitbread Round the World sailing race.

At the helm in 1989 was 26-year-old Tracy Edwards--an ambitious, totally untested skipper who, after a difficult adolescence in Wales, escaped to Europe and got her start sailing as a kind of nautical vagabond working on charter yachts.

Edwards had bigger boating aspirations, but the male racing crews were not exactly eager to hire her--or any woman. So she decided she’d skipper her own Whitbread crew--made up of all women.

Before the race even began, there was a yearslong struggle to find a sponsor for a boat and the 12 women who would sail her.

Few people in the mostly male yachting world thought Edwards would ever make her all-female crew a reality. And then, after she managed to put her crew together and restore an old racing yacht, they doubted Maiden would finish the race--much less win a couple of legs.

And after it was all over, Edwards became the first woman to win the prestigious Yachtsman of the Year trophy.

Almost 30 years after that historic journey, filmmaker Alex Holmes’ movie ‘Maiden’ gathers the crew back together and unearths original footage from the time to tell the story of the first group of women to race around the world.

Both Holmes and Edwards join us to share how the film came to be and explain their coincidental parallel ventures--as Holmes was trying to get his documentary off the ground, Edwards learned that Maiden the yacht had been abandoned and needed to be rescued.

“Maiden had been sort of put in a compartment of my life, although she continued with me through every other project,” Edwards said, “And then suddenly she burst back into my life, as if to say: I think you’ve forgotten someone, and, it’s me!”

And the story of Maiden may have yet another life--when asked about the possibility of a narrative film about her journey, Edwards is coy, but hints there might be something in the works.

Credits

Guests:
Tracy Edwards - Around the world sailor, subject of the documentary ‘Maiden’ - @TracyEdwardsMBE, Alex Holmes - Filmmaker, director of ‘Maiden’

Host:
Matt Holzman

Producer:
Kaitlin Parker