Here are some sailing themed videos and movies that we have encountered over the years that you may find of interest. They’re in no particular order. The ones at the bottom of the page are direct from YouTube. The short reviews are taken from Amazon, iTunes or Google Play. Most of these contain Amazon links, for which we earn a (very) small amount as an Amazon Associate from qualifying purchases, but this doesn’t cost you any extra(!) To see our attempt at a comprehensive list, please visit sailingmovies.net.
Deep Water (2007) is the stunning true story of the first solo, non-stop, round-the-world boat race, and the psychological toll it took on its competitors. Amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst almost immediately comes apart as he faces the isolation of nine months on the high seas.
Wild Eyes: The Abby Sunderland Story (2011) is a story of the Sunderland family and 16 year old Abby, who attempted to sail solo around the world. If you listen for the trumpet playing in the background when she heads out of the harbour. That is Capt Alex, who we sailed with, from Paradise Bound Charters.
White Squall (1996). From acclaimed filmmaker Ridley Scott (BLADE RUNNER), Jeff Bridges leads a crew of seafaring students (including Scott Wolf from PARTY OF FIVE) on the voyage of a lifetime. Nature teaches the toughest lesson of all, turning this journey at sea into a test of the crew’s courage and will to survive.
Maidentrip (2013) chronicles the life and adventures of 14-year-old Laura Dekker, who set out on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone.
Dead Calm (1989) is a suspense thriller about a husband and wife, recovering from a personal tragedy, who encounter a stranger while cruising their boat in the Pacific and become ensnared in a drama of mystery, high emotions and extreme danger.
Wind (1992). In more than 140 years of competition, the US has lost the America’s Cup only once. Loosely based on Dennis Conner, an upstart group of American challengers whose drive to win back sailing’s top prize plunges them into a world where money, power, love and ambition are inextricably intertwined.
All is Lost (2013) is an open-water thriller about one man’s battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is destroyed at sea. Using only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, he is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him into a shipping lane in hopes of hailing a passing vessel.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003). Captain “Lucky” Jack Aubrey is a renowned fighting captain in the British Navy. When his ship is suddenly attacked by a superior enemy, Aubrey is torn between duty and friendship across two oceans to intercept and capture his foe.
Morning Light (2008). Fifteen rookie sailors have one goal in mind — to be part of her crew of the Transpac Yacht Race. From start to finish, it’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions and physical challenges, beginning with six months of intense training. Only eleven will survive to race in the grueling 2,225-mile Transpac.
Captains Courageous (1937). A wealthy spoiled brat falls off an ocean liner and is rescued by a Portuguese fisherman. Forced to endure a three month voyage, he learns to love the sea and earns his place among the crew. Based on the Rudyard Kipling story, this is a timeless family adventure classic.
Red Dot on the Ocean: The Matt Rutherford Story (2014). Once labeled a “youth-at-risk,” 30-year old Matt Rutherford risked it all in an attempt to become the first person to sail alone, nonstop around North and South America. Red Dot on the Ocean is the story of Matt’s death-defying voyage and the childhood odyssey that shaped him.
Turning Tide (2013). Yann Kermadec sees his dreams come true when he replaces the injured Frank at the last minute for the start of the Vendée Globe, a yacht race around the world. Nine days into the race and leading, Yann discovers a teenager, named Mano, on board. Faced with the risk of disqualification, their encounter leads to the most unforgettable round-the-world race ever.
Kon Tiki (2013). Based on the Academy Award®-winning documentary, KON TIKI is the story of legendary Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. In 1947, he and five other men crossed the Pacific Ocean in a balsa wood raft, proving that pre-Columbian South Americans could have crossed the sea and settled the Polynesian islands. After financing the trip through loans and donations, they set off on this epic 101-day journey across 4,300 miles of dangerous open water, as the world watched.
Captain Ron (1992). Russell plays hilariously laid-back Captain Ron — a vagabond seaman who charts a course for comedy when he skippers the newly inherited Caribbean yacht of corporate executive Martin Harvey (Short) and his family. With his dubious nautical skills, Captain Ron takes the helm and creates wave after wave of hilarity as he leads the Harveys on a wildly amusing oceanic voyage in their dilapidated sailing vessel, all the while driving well-meaning Martin Harvey off the deep end.
With Jean-du-Sud Around the World (1983). In attempting to sail non–stop between Saint-Malo and Gaspé through the Roaring Forties and around Cape Horn alone aboard his Alberg 30, Jean-du-Sud, Yves Gélinas added his exceptional adventure to the art of sailing a small boat around the world. To self-steer his boat, Yves invented and built his own wind vane system, today known a Cape Horn and used by thousands of sailors to steer their vessels across oceans.
The Bounty (1984). Based on the novel, ‘Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian,’ this is the story of a 1789 mutiny aboard the H.M.S. Bounty. This voyage to Tahiti for breadfruit begins well, but encounters difficulty when the Captain attempts to navigate around the perilous Cape Horn. After a dangerous struggle, the Captain admits defeat and reroutes his vessel. They arrive in Tahiti and find a tropical paradise, but the men soon become lazy and insubordinate. When the Captain announces that they will attempt to sail around the Horn again, the men rise to mutiny and send the captain and his loyal officers out to sea in a small open boat.
In the Heart of the Sea (2015). In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.
80° North: Sailing On Top Of The World (2020) is a great addition to your sailing movies library. It’s a new mini-series from SV Delos and 59 North that covers their sail around Svalbard, Norway. Over the past 2 years, they have been editing mountains of footage and created a very professional 4-part mini-series which totals roughly 2 hours if you watch the episodes back-to-back.
Lattitudes and Attitudes is the former TV show of the (in)famous Bob Bitchin. All 5 seasons are now available on DVD.
Distant Shores is an adventure tourism television series produced by Canadians Paul and Sheryl Shard. Broadcast in over 50 countries and still in production. All 10 seasons of the show are available here for digital download or DVD. They have also started to post their early episode on their YouTube Channel.
Twenty Eight Feet: Life on a Little Wooden Boat is a short documentary about David Welsford, who has given up the luxuries of land in search for happiness and adventure on a 50 year old wooden boat he restored from a scrap heap.
HOLD FAST is a documentary (which the author calls a videozine) that I came cross on YouTube that was made by a group that calls themselves the Anarchist Yacht Clubb. It won’t be for everyone, and the narrators voice may get on your nerves, but it does give a pretty good demonstration of what you can accomplish with determination and next to no money.
THE FASTNET YACHT TRAGEDY OF 1979 is a BBC documentary about the story of a Force 10 gale which decimated the 1979 Fastnet race, the last of the Admiral’s Cup events in that year. A massive search and rescue operation was begun as half of the 300 yachts competing went missing in a 20,000 area square of the Irish Sea. The death toll was 15, and the ramifications are still felt today with the increased safety requirements introduced in the aftermath.
THE TANGAROA EXPEDITION is a tribute to the original Kon-tiki expedition that crossed the Pacific in 1947 on a primitive raft made of balsa wood. Slow in some places but a fascinating look at what many thought were just some silly people on the water.
CAPTAIN LIZ CLARKS SOLO VOYAGE ON THE HIGH SEAS is not a bad 9(ish) minute YouTube video about her solo ailing since 2006.
Sailing the South Pacific is a video from 1993 (I think) from Bob Bitchin’ that looks like it has been converted from VHS and uploaded to YouTube…with associated video and sound quality. Since such videos are so prevalent now all over the net, all with much better quality, you may be disappointed with your viewing experience. It is interesting though to think about this in the context of the time it was made, and likely would have been a prized video for those who found it back in the early 90s.
Avred Fuchs Sails the North Atlantic Greenland to Germany is about Arved Fuchs and his team on their most recent expedition across the North Atlantic begins on the 80-year-old sailing ship “Dagmar Aaen”, from Greenland’s west coast, via Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ireland and Scotland to the North German coast. Very well made with some great scenery. This is Part 1 of a 5 part series. So far I’ve only found Parts 1 & 5 only. Anyone know where to find Parts 2-4?
Joshua Slocum: Sailing Alone Around the World is a documentary from History Television back in 2000. It’s about Joshua Slocum, a man from Nova Scotia that was the first man to sail single-handedly around the world.
Go Around Again. In this one-on-one conversation, Rich recounts his experiences during this voyage and previous voyages (including a harrowing rescue after a double somersaulting capsize in a 60′ trimaran off Cape Horn in 1990) and discusses his plan to race in the next Vendee Globe.