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Boating Flicks to Watch (2020)

Boating Flicks to Watch (2020)

If you are having some downtime and looking for films to watch, consider checking out documentaries. When it comes to those about sailing and boating, you are spoilt for choice. We found five documentaries perfect for boat lovers.



One of the most popular newer docos related to the boating world is Maiden. It was released in 2018 and is a feature-length picture that tells the story of Tracy Edwards. Edwards became the skipper of the very first all-female crew that entered the Whitbread Round the World Race back in 1989, using the 58-foot yacht Maiden.

The documentary concentrates on the strengths and accomplishments of the Maiden’s crew, but it also, naturally, examines the issues of sexism and bullying the women faced along the way. The film juxtaposes 1989 footage with interviews with Edwards and the crew today. It gives an ultimately informative, moving, and inspiring depiction of not just an epic sports tale, and also demonstrates the power of resilience, strength, and teamwork.



An older documentary to add to your list is Deep Water, from 2006. Narrated by well-known actress Tilda Swinton, this film recounts the story of rather novice yachtsman Donald Crowhurst’s attempt to win the inaugural Golden Globe Race in 1968. The story focuses on the deep – and ultimately fatal – psychological toll the weeks-long, round-the-world race took on Crowhurst. The sailor suffered a mental breakdown during his journey and overboard.

Although the content covers not the most uplifting of outcomes, the documentary is captivating. It provides a look into human pride, fragility, passion, strength, and hopes and dreams, using original 16mm footage plus tape recordings and interviews.



Maidentrip is a sailing documentary that came out in 2013. It tells the story of Laura Dekker, a New- Zealand born Dutch-raised teen who broke the world record in January 2012 for the youngest person ever to sail around the world single-handedly. She was just 16 years of age when she made history.

Dekker completed 5,600 nautical miles in her two- masted ketch during her approximately 18-month journey. She was 13 years old when she announced her plans, but had to fight her case in a Dutch court to be allowed to pursue her dream as a minor. At 14 years old, she finally had permission to set off. The documentary shares an in-depth look into the character of this determined and passionate sailor.



Red Dot on the Ocean: The Matt Rutherford Story is a 2014 documentary that, as the name suggests, focuses on a sailor named Matt Rutherford and his voyage to become the first person to sail solo, nonstop around North and South America.

The film lets viewers into the world of Rutherford, who was once an at-risk, rebellious youth. Rutherford bought a sailing boat online without first inspecting it, and then taught himself to sail. He set out on his journey when he was 21 years old and faced all sorts of dangerous conditions and problems during the 300-plus days of his voyage.



Created to mark the 50th anniversary since Sir Robin Knox- Johnston won the first Golden Globe Race (the same one depicted in Deep Water), Robin Knox-Johnston: A Force of Nature is a 2018 BBC documentary about one of the legends of British sailing.

The film features original footage and numerous interviews, giving wannabe racers insight into Knox-Johnston’s single-handed, non-stop race around the world, and the reasons behind why he chose to enter.


By Kellie Byrnes

Cover Image from Maiden (the film)



Published in the August – November 2020 print edition.




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