The Rockland Public Library to screen documentary film, “American Challenge: Alone Against the Atlantic” on July 18

Posted:  Friday, July 7, 2017 - 9:30am
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The Rockland Public Library and Friends of Rockland Public Library will present a screening of the documentary film, American Challenge: Alone Against the Atlantic, on Tuesday, July 18 at 6:00 p.m.

American Challenge: Alone Against the Atlantic is a riveting documentary that tracks seven solo sailors competing in the 1980 Observer Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race (OSTAR). The STAR, Single-handed TransAtlantic Race, from Plymouth, England to Newport, Rhode Island attracts an international roster of sailors -- all with a passion for winning. No American had ever placed in this prestigious race. American Challenge is the intimate on-board story of seven American solo sailors who tried. Automatic cameras installed on their boats record a unique, close-up view of men and women facing constant danger. Three thousand miles of pounding to windward strips away the veneer to reveal the human spirit alone against the inexorable power of the sea.

Recently deceased Rockland resident Judith Lawson was one of the sailors and features prominently in the film. From an article in The Boston Globe about the film by columnist Ian Menzies: "We see the mid-Atlantic drama of Judith Lawson's battle against a force 10 gale with 50 knot winds and 20 foot seas. The camera catches her hunched in the cockpit, dejected, scared, her torn mainsail in her hands. Her mast has gone; her boat, one of the smallest in the race, lies dead in the water. She is alone, helpless, her radio disabled. One feels almost embarrassed to look because this is a raw elemental moment, stripped of all pretenses. "God give me the strength to get through this," she tells the inanimate mike, and one knows she feels she may not survive. "Please," she adds quietly, "I don't want to be a heroine, I just want to survive." This has to be one of the great moments of documentary film, a scene of enormous power as well as meaning and for this we owe a debt to Judy Lawson and to the man -- Chris Knight -- who put the film together, installed the cameras and tapes, and instructed the lone skippers on how to use them."

This evening is hosted by friends and neighbors of Ms. Lawson.

Rockland Public Library is located at 80 Union St. in Rockland. This event, sponsored by, Friends of Rockland Public Library and Rockland Public Library, is free and open to the public. FMI: 594-0310.

Event Date: 
Tue, 07/18/2017 - 6:00pm
Event Location: 
Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St., Rockland,ME
Contact Phone: 
(207) 594-0310