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Posted in: Arts, Film & Culture

Published on Jul 02, 2019 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Phyllis Chesler

AN ALL FEMALE CREW SAILED AROUND THE WORLD


The footage is sensational and was taken in 1989 as the first-ever all-female British crew sailed for almost a year around the whole wide world and faced dangerously daunting waves with consummate courage and determination. Think of it: Twenty-two years into the Second Wave of feminism, male journalists, sports commentators, and the other male competitors were savage towards the women, mocking and demeaning them. It was Tracey Edwards’s idea and she tried for many, many years to attract a sponsor. She kept failing. But she kept trying. No one believed that a mere woman—in her case, a girl of 24 and her young mates—could muster the strength and the skill to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.

King Hussein of Jordan, whom Edwards met while she was the cook on another yacht, was the only man on Planet Earth who decided to sponsor the twelve woman crew. Let’s hear it for him! Edwards bought a second hand yacht and she and her crew restored it.

And then—“the girls” won two of the six “legs” of the race. And Edwards, who functioned as both the Maiden’s navigator and skipper, was named Yachtsman of the Year in Britain. Her very proud mother was waiting for her at every “leg.” Roaring crowds were also there to support the Maiden, smaller boats came out to escort them to port and the footage is sensational.

I admit it: I got a little sea sick while watching this dramatic documentary and, for a moment, decided to cancel my upcoming cruise… but I won’t. In their merit, I will again take that potential plunge into the arms of the briny deep.


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