Documentary review: Maiden Trip

Documentary title Maiden Trip
What’s it about
Teen sailor Laura Dekker wants to be able to take to the seas but she has to take on the system first.
Type Feature-length documentary
1hr 22mins
Cost US$15.99
Featuring Laura Dekker
Date released 2013
Social @maidentripfilm

Then thirteen-year-old Laura Dekker had to fight the system before taking to the seas after deciding she wanted to be the youngest person to sail solo round the world.

Courts in The Netherlands became so concerned for Dekker’s wellbeing, she was made a ward of court as they said it was crazy and too dangerous, even going so far as trying to separate her from her dad.

At the outset of the idea, dad had said, “If you want to do this, you must do everything yourself.” So Dekker got her own sponsors, planned the routes, refurbished a boat given to her by a friend.

A year later Dekker was given the all clear. Initially, the record was the focus but she becomes increasingly less bothered by the attempt.

Instead, she enjoys the sailing, the rougher the better, and stopping in various places around the world, meeting like-minded souls, until the lure of the sea draws her to it and she sets sail again.

Family unties
The back story of her divided family in which Dekker stayed with her dad and her sister with her mum when the parents split up, threads through the film. “I tried to see mum every weekend but felt she had too much going on so that faded.”

Her dad worked all time so she mostly fended for herself, got her own breakfast, cycled to school, got her own dinner and even looked after him when he had a breakdown.

Born on boat in New Zealand, Dekker spent first five years living on the water, so it’s no stretch to recognise Dekker wanted to go back to that happy time. Sailing from Holland to the UK when 10 she knew she had the ability and temperament to sail round the world.

Watching a teen’s rite of passage through the lens of an extreme event as this is fascinating and humorous as you go through the film.

At one point she hasn’t seen her dad for a year, and you can sense her prickliness when he’s having a go at her for sleeping in and not sticking to schedule.

Dekker responds: “I’ve kind got this far without you,” before conceding: “I learned a lot from my dad but I learned most from just doing it.”

The nice teenagery touches continue throughout with a messy cabin, and learning that “a home doesn’t clean itself”.

Already wise beyond her years Dekker explores her character at breakneck speed, “I don’t like sponsors. I don’t like people telling me what to do so I did everything for myself”.

No media hound
Dekker also gives journalists short shrift. She hated the media being in her face throughout the court case and was left with a loathing for “questions, questions”. This is no fame hungry teen.

Dekker takes video diaries along the way and it is these, pieced together with further footage of her family and a narrative throughout that brings the film together.

I loved it and so did my 12-year-old sailing-mad niece!

Download the video here for $15.99.

Watch the film Maiden Trip by clicking here to download it from the website. Honestly, it’s brilliant (and no I don’t make commission on this!). You’re so cynical ?

Ooh, there’s a book now, a book I tell you! Haven’t read it but let me know if you have at the Sports Liberated Hub on Facebook.

Or do what I’m going to do and buy it here!

Author: Jo Gunston

Roving blogging superfan shares behind the scenes stories of her sports life and the best of those from like-minded souls.

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