For years here on the ASA blog we followed Laura Dekker’s amazing round-the-world sailing adventures. The Dutch teenager battled the legal system, contended with public opinion, and braved the seven seas on her own. Now filmmaker Jillian Schlesinger is telling the tale.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Laura’s story, here it is in a nutshell: Laura made her mind up at 13 to undertake a solo sailing voyage, and departed on her round-the-world journey in 2010 at the age of 14. This came after a long battle with Dutch authorities who did not want her to take the trip, and even tried to take custody of her. Rather than try to sail non-stop and go for speed, Laura stopped frequently over the next two years as she made her way around the globe, explaining that her purpose was to experience new places and cultures, not to set any sailing records.
She completed her circumnavigation safely in 2012 when she sailed into Simpson Bay at the Caribbean Island of St. Maarten.
This new documentary uses footage shot by Dekker, ranging from beautiful seascapes and personal reflection to thrilling life-and-death sailing adventure. Even in these brief two minutes you get a glimpse of Laura’s charisma, fortitude, and independent, willful mind. The film will be playing at film festivals across the US from January to April. Watch the trailer below, then see click here to see where you can catch it.
On our Facebook and Twitter pages we love to ask our fans for their opinions on all things nautical. In the last couple of weeks I’ve asked people for their recommendations on sailing movies & books. The guidelines were loose — as long as it has something to do with seafaring, it was fair game. Some of these are serious, some silly, some realistic, some not-so-much. Some you will certainly have seen or read before, some you may not have heard of. All of them are works that our members have enjoyed, and you might too. (Perhaps to fill the long winter months until sailing season starts again?)
These lists are not comprehensive by any means, but they’ll get you started. Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Movies: Captains Courageous (1937) starring Freddie Bartholomew & Spencer Tracy, dir. by Victor Fleming Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) starring Russell Crowe & Paul Bettany, dir. by Peter Weir Captain Ron (1992) starring Kurt Russell & Martin Short, dir. by Thom Eberhardt Summer Rental (1984) starring John Candy, dir. by Carl Reiner Cabin Boy (1994) starring Chris Elliott, dir. by Adam Resnick Wind (1992) starring Matthew Modine & Jennifer Grey, dir. by Carroll Ballard Morning Light (2008) starring Chris Branning & Kate Theisen, dir. by Mark Monroe Morgan the Pirate (1960) starring Steve Reeves, dir. by Andre de Toth & Primo Zeglio The Bounty (1984) starring Mel Gibson & Anthony Hopkins, dir. by Roger Donaldson The Adventures of Horatio Hornblower (1998-2003) miniseries starring Ioan Gruffudd, produced by A&E
For a more comprehensive list of sailing movies, click here.
Fiction Books: The Mutiny on the Bounty Trilogy by Charles Nordhoff & James Norman Hall (first volume 1932) The Aubrey/Maturin Novels by Patrick O’Brian (series of 20; first volume 1969) Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome (series of 12; first volume 1930) The Horatio Hornblower Novels by C.S. Forester (series of 11; first volume 1937) Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851) Middle Passage by Charles Johnson (1990) John Dollar by Marianne Wiggins (1989) The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (1952) Jaws by Peter Benchley (1974) Sounding by Hank Searls (1982) Mutiny on the Bounty by John Boyne (2008)
Nonfiction Books: Close to the Wind by Pete Goss (2000) Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz (2002) Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum (1900) The Last Grain Race by Eric Newby (1956) The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float by Farley Mowat (1969) Sea Change by Peter Nichols (1998) Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana (1840) Ten Degrees of Reckoning by Hester Rumberg (2007) Looking for a Ship by John McPhee (1990) Godforsaken Sea: Racing the World’s Most Dangerous Waters by Derek Lundy (1998)
Note: Though almost all of the books that made our list were written by men, I did come across this list of sailing-related books by and about women.