All posts by Zeke Quezada

The Best Sailing Movies

Since we seem to have a little extra time on our hands why not binge watch some sailing movies? These may or may not be mainstream movies. The recurring theme is rooted in an adventure with sailing being the common thread between these films. 

9 of the Best Sailing Movies Ever Made

Mutiny on the Bounty 

This 1962 film starring Marlon Brando as Acting Lieutenant Fletcher Christian tells a story of the mutinying of Captain William Bligh’s Royal Navy Vessel HMS Bounty. A modern version title, The Bounty was made in 1984 starring Mel Gibson.

Amazon Streaming: Mutiny on the Bounty

The Bounty

Amazon Streaming: The Bounty

Pirates of the Caribbean

There are 5 movies starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Are they really about sailing? Well, they are about sailors and there are some sailing scenes but more importantly, they are wildly entertaining. Also, if you have ever been on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney Parks you feel a certain kinship with the characters.

These movies are widely available on streaming services.

Amazon Streaming: Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl


This is a sailing movie. This is an adventure movie. This is a love story. It is not a happy story though as we follow a couple who decides to see the world from their sailboat and then things go bad. Based on a true story this film makes you want to go back to ASA 101 and learn everything all over again.

Amazon Streaming: Adrift

All is Lost

Robert Redford on a sailboat. Do you need anything else? An experienced sailor decides to solo sail the Indian Ocean when his boat collides with an errant shipping container. Well, you know what happens then. Water in the boat, a huge storm and Redford having to fend for himself. 

Amazon Streaming: All is Lost

Maiden Trip

Follow Laura Dekker’s journey as she fought to be able to sail the world as a teenager. It is an inspirational story that makes you believe that anything is possible.  Whether you agree with her decisions or not; it is a fascinating story.

Amazon Streaming: Maiden Trip

Chasing Shackleton – PBS Miniseries

This miniseries follows a modern expedition that re-creates Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which launched in 1914. The series joins a crew of five intrepid explorers, led by renowned adventurer, scientist, and author Tim Jarvis, as they duplicate Shackleton’s epic sea-and-land voyage in a replica of the original explorer’s lifeboat.

PBS Streaming: Chasing Shackleton

Amazon Streaming: Chasing Shackleton

Sea Gypsies: Far Side of the World

A hand-built boat heading to dangerous waters crewed by “a band of wandering miscreants, with no permits or insurance and an almost non-existent budget.”  This is almost the opposite of what you may have been taught in your sailing education. It is worth a view.

Amazon Streaming: Sea Gypsies: Far Side of the World

The Old Man and The Sea Return to Cuba

A film about returning to Cuba for an old salt. This is about adventure, sailing and the ability to persevere. The title makes you think Hemingway but it is misleading. This is a sailing film about 75 year old master sailor Finbar Gittleman.  He has lived a tough and dangerous life on the sea earning legendary status among the sailors in Key West and the Caribbean. This is his story as he returns to Havana, Cuba for the first time since Castro’s revolution.

Amazon Streaming: The Old Man and The Sea Return To Cuba

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Should You Be Sailing During The Coronavirus

Before you decide to go sailing you should check with your local county, city or municipality to understand what they are recommending. While some cities/counties are on a soft lockdown your locations may not be on restrictions. For example, in New York, everyone is ordered to work from home but solitary walks and outdoor exercise is permitted. In California, walks outside are permitted while practicing social distancing. Those two states are being effected greatly by the Coronavirus and your location may have different restrictions.

How those restrictions relate to sailing is somewhat ambiguous.

If you do sail, here are some guidelines to follow:

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ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Sailing – What You’ll Learn

I sat on the deck of a sailboat and I listened to a teenager explain the basics of sailing. I was impressed. The cloak of mystery behind something as simple as sailing is lifted when it is brought down to the simplest and truest form. “You need wind in your sail and the boat will move forward.”

The lesson continued with very little discussion about how things worked and more about why things worked.  The teens laughed a lot. They pointed out things on the water. At one point one teenager closed her eyes and let the wind hit her face. The teen instructor asked simply, “can you feel it?”

She smiled and kept her eyes closed a bit longer and then said, “I love it.”

In a nutshell, that is sailing. Yes, it is more involved than all of that and learning to sail is more than just having wind in your sail but at the root of the sailing lifestyle is the ability to close your eyes and appreciate the wind in your hair, the sun in your face and the feeling of the bow gliding across the water as the wind takes control of your day.

What you’ll learn in ASA 101 – Basic Keelboat Sailing:

You’ll expand on your Basic Sailing Terminology by getting a good understanding of sailboat parts and functions:

  • Hull
  •  Deck 
  • Transom 
  • Keel 
  • Mast 
  • Boom 
  • Gooseneck 
  • Bow 
  • Stern 
  • Helm / Tiller /Wheel 
  • Rudder 
  • Cockpit 
  • Cabin 
  • Standing Rigging 
  • Shroud 
  • Spreader 
  • Chainplate 
  • Headstay / Forestay 
  • Backstay 
  • Stanchion 
  • Lifeline 
  • Pulpit 
  • Winch 
  • Cleat 
  • Block 
  • Fairlead 
  • Fender 
  • Docklines

After taking ASA 101 you will be able to explain and identify, sails, sail parts and sail controls. You’ll understand and be able to identify the parts of a boat as well as the language used when discussing sailing, sailing terms and sailing instruction.

Points of Sail Diagram
Learning the points of sail, and how the sails look and the boat feels on each one, is fundamental to becoming a competent sailor.

ASA 101 will help you become familiar with as well as explain Maneuvers & Points of Sail

You will understand terms such as Close Hauled and Close Reach when referring to points of sail and be able to describe and perform maneuvers such as jibing and tacking. 

ASA 101 will also teach you how to effectively and correctly use an respond to helm commands:

  • “Heading Up”
  • “Bearing Away”
  • “Ready About” —– “Ready” —– “Helms a-Lee” (or “Coming About” or “Tacking”)
  • “Prepare to Jibe” —– “Ready” —– “Jibe-Ho” (or “Jibing”)

Navigation Rules are covered and utilized while taking ASA 101 and your certification in Basic Keelboat Sailing will make you familiar with the USCG Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook and help you understand basic right of way procedures on the water. 

In ASA 101, you will familiarize yourself with safety equipment and procedures.

Among other things, you will be able to:

  • List the federally required equipment for a recreational sailboat of 25-feet in length.
  • Identify the location and color of navigation lights used by a recreational vessel of 25-feet in length.
  • Describe the purpose of a Float Plan, give examples of information contained therein and to whom it should be submitted.

ASA 101 will teach you to sail. A certified sailor will demonstrate his or her ability to rig/hoist/set sails correctly.

An ASA 101 certified sailor will be able to skipper a sloop-rigged keelboat of approximately 20 to 27 feet in length by day in light to moderate winds (up to 15 knots) and sea conditions. The sailor will be able to demonstrate competence in these maneuvers:

  • Depart dock or mooring fully ready to get underway safely
  • Select and maintain a given tack and course
  • Demonstrate how to get out of “irons”
  • Head Up
  • Bear Away
  • Sail Close Hauled
  • Sail on a Close Reach
  • Sail on a Beam Reach
  • Sail on a Broad Reach
  • Sail on a Run
  • Tack
  • Jibe
  • As crew, give appropriate verbal responses and perform correct actions during the maneuvers listed above.
ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing

ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing covers 52 skills that must be completed to earn certification. 

Take a look at all of the skills that you will master on the ASA Certification page:

Find a school to earn your ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing:

Sailors and the Corona Virus

We don’t have to remind you that currently the hot topic in the news is the Corona Virus (COVID-19) but we could shed some light on how we think it affects the sailing community. After all, when we get on a boat and the breeze fills the main, we feel the tug of nature on the boat and our body;  it is hard to imagine that anything can harm us. Sailing often takes us into a state of euphoria.

It’s a great feeling but is that accurate? Are we safe out on the ocean and free of the contagion? Sailing is often a refuge from our life. Sailing takes us away from the ordinary. 

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Sailing Belize With Belize Sailing Vacations

Why Sail Belize?

On the shores of the Caribbean Sea and nestled between Mexico and Guatemala, English speaking Belize marries spectacular waters, hundreds of idyllic islands and the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world with a fascinating, culturally rich heritage. Still relatively undiscovered as a sailing destination, anchorages are so quiet you may only see a handful of boats in a more popular location and there are a myriad of islands to explore. The trade winds typically blow in from the east, ensuring the ultimate sailing conditions for sailing north or south. 

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BVI Trip Report: Sailing Arabella

A group of ASA members sat in the warm, calm waters of North Sound. In the shadow of Virgin Gorda, they wished for beers to quench their thirst.  Like magic, it happened. A call to Arabella and soon enough, a dive bag filled with ice-cold Carib Lagers showed up.

The crew on Arabella knows how to make everything right.

It is a simple formula. Smiles. Sunshine. Patience. Good wind. Paradise reveals itself.

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Charter Sailboat Resources

You might be daydreaming about a sailing vacation so we have put together a resource to help you plan your next great sailing adventure. 

Whether you have just begun to sail and have recently earned your ASA 101 certification or if you have already mastered ASA 114 and are a veteran of bareboat charters this resource should help you. There is something for everyone here with information on flotillas, sailing education courses, and bareboat charters.

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