Given the attention paid recently to the deliriously duplicitous antics of Donald Crowhurst. a celebration of the genuine heroics of Tracy Edwards and the all-woman crew of Maiden seems long overdue. Counting sports doc doyen James Erskine among its executive producers, Alex Holmes's account of their epic voyage proves a worthy follow-up to Stop At Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story.
Some might quibble about the brevity of the backstory and the absence of a catch-up coda. But Holmes rightly focuses on the struggle that Edwards faced to be taken seriously after entering the fifth edition of the world's most grueling yacht race. Indeed, there's still a sneer in the voices of journalists Bob Fisher and Barry Pickthall, as they reflect on their negative coverage of Edwards's efforts to find sponsorship before King Hussein of Jordan agreed to bankroll the enterprise.
A self-confessed wild child who had run away from an abusive stepfather without finishing school, Edwards looks back on her treatment with admirable equanimity. But she is more interested in paying tribute to the achievement of her crew than in settling old scores with the hacks and rival skippers who had dismissed her challenge as a feminist stunt.
Typically, the media had stressed the glamour angle of the bid and had played up the tensions between Edwards and first mate Marie-Claude Heys. Consequently, she would come to regret sailing into Fort Lauderdale in bathing suits to distract from the woes in the Southern Ocean that had cost Maiden a shot at topping its division after building an 18-hour lead in winning two consecutive legs.
Shot in simple close-up, Edwards and her crewmates reflect with eloquent pride upon an unprecedented feat whose magnitude is reinforced by the spectacular home-movie footage that has been edited with precision and potency by Katie Bryer.