Maidentrip sails alone—and beautifully


Featuring Laura Dekker. In English and Dutch, with English subtitles. Unrated.

The voyage depicted in the beautifully shot on-the-water doc is hardly a first for the maiden in question. Born in New Zealand but raised in Holland by Dutch parents who split over their aquatic lifestyle choices, Laura Dekker began sailing long before she undertook the two-year journey, starting at age 14, to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone, on a red-hulled vessel called Guppy.

Shot primarily by Dekker herself, the record was subsequently supplemented and assembled by American Jillian Schlesinger, who uses charming watercolour maps and spare musical cues (from indie artist Ben Sollee) to flesh out the experience. Perhaps because Dekker’s pretty busy keeping her 40-foot boat afloat, there’s a minimum of onboard psychologizing. We do know that when her parents split up, she chose to stay with her father—a talented but underpaid boat craftsman—while her younger sister went with their rather hard-bitten-looking mother, who only recently started relating to Laura again.

We also learn that the Dutch government spent 10 months attempting to abort the voyage. “They tried to break Laura down,” her dad recalls, off-screen, “but she’s too strong.” Indeed, she seems highly independent on first impression, and gets only more so as she matures before our eyes.

En route, the winsome, windswept girl meets her family and some sailing buddies at various stops in the ocean. She takes the longer, southern route, around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope (“to avoid pirates”), and endures storms and nautical breakage, the questions of annoying journalists, and ravioli all over the cabin floor, but not much loneliness or introspection. It will be interesting to check back with Laura Dekker further into her journey.

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