Director(s): Jillian Schlessinger
Country: United States
Language: In English
Documentary | 2013 | 82 min
Genre: Adventure, Sport
Recommended for ages 10+ (Parental Guidance: Cursing)

This fascinating documentary charts the adventure of Laura Dekker, a 14-year-old Dutch sailor, who set out alone on a two-year voyage to fulfill her dream of becoming the youngest person ever to sail around the world. The journey was not without controversy, but “Maidentrip” is pleasantly free from the hysteria that surrounded Laura for more than a year. It presents her trip in a judgment-free manner. It neither suggests (as it understandably could) that 14 is an alarmingly young age to traverse the mightily unforgiving Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, nor takes a blindly positive “Ra! Ra! Go Laura!” position (as would be tempting, given that Laura proves herself an admirable rebel in many ways).

Laura is portrayed as an independent outsider, at once open-hearted, enviably confident and a bit prickly, sick of what she sees as daily life in Holland—which she sums up succinctly: “Get money, get a house, get a husband, get a baby, then die.” She pines for a truly outsized adventure. While other young record-holding sailors completed the round-world trip without lengthy stops at ports, Laura gives herself two years for the excursion, so that she can soak in the land-bound culture of the different climes where she alights (among them French Polynesia, Australia, the Galapagos Islands and South Africa). Low-key yet lyrical, “Maidentrip” illustrates in vivid colors the mundane as well as the magnificent moments at sea and underscores the courage of one young woman, battling the elements—and the courts—and enjoying every minute of it.

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Annapolis Film Festival 2013, Best Documentary Feature; South by Southwest (SXSW) 2013, Audience Award

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