Top 10 Sailing Movies

topIt’s early February, and here it’s a lot of ice, snow and frigid temps. With our new project boat about a month away from being here, what better way to melt away the winter blues than with some good sailing movies?

While there are many sailing documentaries we could recommend (Deep Water, Raw Faith,  and Morning Light, to name a few), the movies on this list are based on entertainment value, accuracy (or lack thereof) and most importantly, quotability when you are on the water.

So here they are… mostly in order:


deadcalmDead Calm – To be honest, I’ve never actually watched this movie, but according to all of my sailor friends, it is a must-see, if for nothing else than Nicole Kidman naked and on a sailboat.




crazysummerOne Crazy Summer – It’s Better off Dead on the water. Once again, starring John Cusack and Curtis “Booger” Anderson, as well as Bobcat Goldthwait and introducing a young Demi Moore. Underdogs win a sailing race that involves rowing, sailing and motoring (WTF) to save a girl.




wwWaterWorld –  I know that there are a lot of groans and sighs regarding Waterworld, but man, what screen presence from it’s biggest star (not Kevin Costner, but a 65 foot Jeanneau Trimaran). Also, keep an eye out for Kim Coates (aka Tig from Sons of Anarchy) who plays a water-worn mad-man.




windWind – See?!? Women can sail. Starring Matthew Modine and Jennifer Grey. No one puts baby on a port tack.




srentalSummer Rental – Best sailing etiquette tip EVER “The smaller boat always has the right of way”. Classic John Candy.




mcMaster and Commander: The Far Side of the World – The big-budget Academy-Award-winning epic based on Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey–Maturin series.




kontikiKon Tiki (2012 Movie)– Proof that you have to be a little bit insane to sail. Based on a true story, a raft with no motor sailed by people no sailing knowledge makes it from Chile to the Polynesians.




piratesPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl– The movie responsible for breathing life into the salt-encrusted, dried out corpse of pirate movies. While it’s easy to look back and see Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow as overdone, just remember, you loved it at the time. Hell, even Michael Bolton loves Pirates Of The Caribbean.



wsquallWhite Squall – Heart-wrenching drama, based on a true story of the Schooner Albatross which sank in 1961. Stars Jeff Bridges & directed by Ridley (Aliens)Scott




jawsJaws – This isn’t really a sailing movie (other than a brief encounter on a Sunfish), but don’t you love being afraid of sharks every time you’re in the water? Actually, according to John Williams, the composer of infamous score,  Jaws is more of a pirate movie than a horror movie, and what’s more sailboat than pirate?!?




cap_ron2Captain Ron – Wins the award for most quotable. “A diesel likes its oil the way a sailor likes its rum” “Why is that Captain Ron?” “Well, nobody knows”. “Dawn comes early on a boat. It happens every day, just about sunup.” I won’t spoil the rest. Kurt Russell should have won an Oscar.




Honorable Mentions

whataboutWhat About Bob –So there is only really one sailing scene, but it’s a good one. “Look at me! I’m Sailing!”. I’ll probably catch some heat in not putting this in the top ten, but to be honest it’s a gag that I hear from almost everyone I tell that we sail. But to be fair we have satisfied many guest requests to tie them to the mast and snap a pic.



swashSwashbuckler – Robert Shaw, James Earl Jones, Peter Boyle, pirates, and 1970’s camp. What’s not to love? PS – Horror movie fans: keep an eye out for Sid (Captain Spaulding) Haig as one of the pirates.




yesThe Voyage of the Yes – I have a special place in my heart for this movie.  A cheap, made-for-TV movie about 2 teenagers (played by Desi Arnaz Jr and Mike Evans (aka Lionel from All in the Family) sail from California to Hawaii on a Columbia 26 (which was Joe’s first big boat). How could you not be impressed?