In great epics, the hero faces tragedy around age ten. Scrappy, unruly, the hero overcomes great odds as they find themselves and their quest. In the best stories, the hero joins together with valued colleagues to conquer against great odds, risking death.
If Maiden was a fictional film, it would be a great film. But the story of Tracy Edwards and her friends is better than that. It is true.
Maiden is both a universal tale of an underdog making good and a specific tale of a woman proving gender should not be used to exclude excellence. No matter what your life experience, I project you will find that Maiden grips you, inspires you, and surprises you in all the best ways. To explain further why I am posting this to Millennial Star would be to post spoilers. And as much as possible, this is a story best told to an audience that doesn’t know what (exactly) will happen.
For those of us who have adult memories of 1989, watching Maiden is like looking back at a trailhead from a summit. It seems impossible that Tracy Edwards and her fellow female sailors faced such disdain and abuse. No businesses would initially back them, fearing negative press when the presumed fatal disaster inevitably occurred. When Tracy and her team arrived at the start of the race, the bets were not about where they would place, but how close to the start they would founder on the initial transatlantic leg.
This morning I was in a meeting headed by my Captain, a woman who was commanding officer of a US Navy Destroyer and now directs acquisition of military capability worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year. We who rejoice to see women able to achieve and lead in what were formerly male-only fields of endeavor owe a debt to Tracy Edwards. She did not excel through fighting in the courts or demanding a seat at the table, but by achieving a dream over which she had control, a dream for which she offered everything she had and all that she was.
From her web site: https://www.tracyedwards.com/aboutme/background
Tracy was expelled from school at the age of 15 and with no exams or qualifications she left to travel the world. She began working on charter yachts in Greece at the age of 17 and learned how to sail. Tracy took part in her first Whitbread Round the World Race as cook aboard ‘Atlantic Privateer’ in 1985/86 becoming the first woman to race around the world on a Maxi.
Upon completion she decided to enter the first all-female crew in the 1989/90 Whitbread and ‘Maiden’ crossed the start line on 2nd Sept 1989 and sailed into the history books. ‘Maiden’ went on to win two of the legs and came second in class overall. The best result for a British boat since 1977 and the best result for an all-female crew ever. Tracy was awarded the MBE and became the first woman in its 34 year history to be awarded the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy.
In 1998 Tracy put together the first all-female crew to race a Multihull, this time in an attempt to be the first all-female crew to sail around the world non-stop and win the Jules V erne Trophy for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation of the world by sail. Sponsored by Royal & SunAlliance, the women had broken five world records and were well on the way to beating the Jules Verne, when their 92ft catamaran was dismasted 2000 miles off the coast of Chile.
In 2002, Edwards created the first ever truly mixed gender team and broke four major world records in Maiden II.
In October 2003 she signed a sponsorship deal with the Gulf State of Qatar as part of a four year sailing programme. The Oryx Quest 2005 was the first round the world race to start and finish in the Middle East. The worlds’ four largest and fastest multihulls raced against each other for the first time in sailing history. The event ended with non-payment by Qatar.
In 2007 and 2008 Tracy worked for CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) as Project Manager for their International Youth Advisory Conference. Working with the UN she assisted in the creation of the 2009 Resolution to the UNCRC. Upon completion of her contract Tracy enrolled at Roehampton University taking a 3 year degree in Psychology and graduating with an upper 2:1
In March 2013 Tracy founded Safer World Training Ltd which spent 2 years researching the impact of Online Reputation, Sexting and Cyber Bullying upon young people. This research is now being utilised in the development of an App.
In addition to her many sailing adventures, Tracy is a Motivational Speaker and covers a range of subjects including;
Leadership and Teamwork through her various sailing achievements
How to bounce back after reaching rock bottom
The Maiden Factor and The Maiden Factor Foundation Charity
Description of the Whitbread Round the World Race, now called “The Ocean Race” : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ocean_Race
Though it is entirely possible to find out what happens in the movie, I personally preferred to watch without knowing the details. It made the actual experience of watching more suspenseful and impactful.
A reason I found this worth posting at M* was what happens at the end of the race. The team realizes that there is no way to overcome the time deficit they incurred in the fourth leg, which took them from having a lead of ~15 hours to trailing the leader by ~15 hours. But they are at peace, content to finish, if not win.
What happens as they approach land, however, was a complete surprise.
It made me think of what we might encounter upon our return to heaven, expecting our lives have been ordinary or even disappointments. People are usually pretty terrible at understanding how much impact they have had others. Even people I am upset with, who have hurt me, have also gifted me with great power and experiences. When you convolve that with a love that extends from all eternity in the past, our return to heaven will be amazing, no matter what we think we’ve done wrong in this life.
Meg, sorry, I should have put “spoiler alert” in the first comment. Feel free to edit out the spoilers, or add in the alert, or delete the comment entirely. Mea culpa.
No problem – I added “[Spoiler Alert]” to your comment.
Second reason I found this worth posting at M* was the situation that occurred resulting in Tracey Edwards firing a lead member of the team mere days before the start of the race. I was strongly reminded of D&C 28 and the way others thought they could order Joseph Smith around (and currently think it appropriate to order modern leaders around). When it comes to a boat/ship and life or death at sea, it needs to be clear who is in charge.