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Alex Holmes, Tracy Edwards sail in to discuss the voyage of Oscar contender…

by Ace Damon
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Tracy Edwards was 20, had not studied, had no financial backing or reputation to attract supporters, and said she was not the greatest sailor. So of course she decided to lead the first female crew in the dangerous Whitbread World Race in 1989 – and also serve as a navigator.

"My passion was actually shipping," said Edwards, now 57. "So, on my second ocean liner, I had this amazing captain (who asked) 'Can you sail?' And I – how old was I? I was 19! 'Of course I can't sail; kicked out before the long division. ”He said,“ What happens if I fall on my side? ”, I asked,“ Well, there are other people in the boat – ” can't navigate, there's that electronic thing in there. ”What if the battery runs out?

“Then he said,‘ Why are you being a bystander in your own life? Why are you watching your life, why not participating? & # 39; One of the best and amazing advice I have ever had in my life.

Trailer for Alex Holmes' Maiden documentary about the first female team to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race, led by Tracy Edwards.

“I thought,“ That's a little deep for just two days in the Atlantic, what a pity. Then I thought, “Why don't I know how to do one of the most essential jobs on a boat when I'm taking my life in my hands and sailing the Atlantic? “So I learned to sail in two days. It was the first time in my life that I realized I wasn't an idiot. "

Edwards 'tireless effort to compete in the Whitbread years later (now known as "The Ocean Race") is captured in Alex Holmes' documentary "Maiden". The director and his now famous subject were available for a series of live envelopes. Q&A at the Montalbán in Hollywood on October 29th.

Los Angeles, CA – October 29, 2019 – "Maiden" star Tracy Edwards and director Alex Holmes answer questions in the Q&A series of the Los Angeles Times Envelope's live screening at The Montalban, Hollywood. (Photo by Ana Venegas)

(Ana Venegas / Ana Venegas / For The Times)

In addition to her desire to serve as a navigator in the dishonest race, she said: “The second reason why I would never give up was to think, 'If we give up, the next women's team that comes after us will not just have to fight all the things we had to fight for; they will have to fight our failure. "And I couldn't let that happen."

Young, with no financial backing or a reputation to back up, and limited in his navigational skills, Edwards found his way to navigate the first female crew in a famous race around the world.

Holmes, who won BAFTA for her 2004 documentary “Dunkirk,” said the story fell on her lap when Edwards came to speak in his daughter's class as she was about to graduate from elementary school.

“I was thrilled, and my daughter too. And I thought, "Wow, we can't always enjoy a story together." These 11-year-olds were excited. The adults were excited, ”he said, when asked how he knew he had to make a movie of Edwards pioneering adventure.

“There was another reason too: I was really shocked that night because it really took me into consideration that all those barriers that Tracy had taken down all these years ago were slowly, with time, raised and replaced. Probably pretty fast after Tracy passed them, I imagine. And they would be faced by my daughter in everything she wanted to do … And it really shocked me that, in fact, maybe they were in a more subtle and insidious way, but there would be so many barriers that she would face just as Tracy had done. . And for me, that was a good reason to make the movie. "

BAFTA winner Alex Holmes was delighted with the search for fellow Tracy Edwards and was inspired by thoughts of his own daughter's future.

Audiences may be surprised by the amount of images of the team during the documentary race. It turned out that Maiden had a secret weapon that the other teams didn't have when it came to documenting their adventure in the movie: they really wanted to do it.

"The Whitbread racing committee asked people to take cameras on the boat," said Edwards. “Cameras on the boat, quite revolutionary! All the male boats said, “We're too serious, ocean-racing sailors to film ourselves as we race around the world.” I will film! We will film! We will go!

Edwards longtime friend and new team member Jo Gooding were chosen by the team to go to the BBC for four days of film classes.

"What we did and nobody else did was what we did," Edwards said, explaining how they ended up with an extra camera that the other boats didn't have. It was a stationary camera set high because they realized they needed to capture the action when the sailors were too busy to film.

The documentary "Maiden" benefited from footage of the first female team at the Whitbread Round the World Race – and it was by design.

Without revealing any secrets of history, the boat reached the end of the race. For clear reasons in the documentary, their arrival was surprising.

Edwards said, “Did you know what my thoughts were at that moment? If I ever hit the boat, it will be now. Thirty-three thousand miles and not a ding; I'm going to do it now.

“It was a life affirmation, it was extraordinary. It restored my faith in just about everything, I have to say. "

Warning: The clip below contains spoilers about the outcome of the race.

Tracy Edwards says that what happened at the Whitbread Round the World Race finish line with her first female team was "life affirming". The moment is captured in Alex Holmes' documentary "Maiden".

To see more Envelope Live videos, visit latimes.com/screenings.

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