The Best Sailing Movies To See You Through Winter

best sailing movies

Now we have a little more time on our hands I thought I’d share our top pick of the best sailing movies out there to keep you dreaming of your next sailing adventure! Adam and I have spent many a winter evening huddled together under a blanket watching sailing movie after sailing, and we found some great ones that we’ve watched over and over (and some awful ones too!)

Obviously films are a personal taste, but here’s our picks of the best sailing movies out there – you’ll just have to watch them all to decide whether you agree with us or not – and don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments below!

the best sailing movies
The best sailing movies – this post contains affiliate links

The Best Sailing Movies Based On True Events

the best sailing movies based on true events
The best sailing movies based on true events

These are our favourite sailing movies based on real events. Obviously the film makers have had a lot of artistic licence, and when you read up on what really happened it doesn’t always correlate with what you see in the film, but we still find these the most gripping sailing movies as you can imagine someone actually going through the events. Here are some of the best sailing movies based on true events.


Adrift is probably my favourite sailing movie of all time, because I am in awe of Tami and her survival skills! Although the movie itself rather overdramatises the events to pull on the heartstrings, it’s still a true story of Tami Oldham Ashcraft’s ordeal of sailing into a Pacific hurricane, dismasting, and then sailing solo under jury rig for 41 days alone to Hawaii with limited supplies.

It’s based on the book of her experience, ‘Red Sky In Mourning’, which you can get a copy of here. I’d recommend reading the book first. I got so involved with the whole story that I read up on Tami afterwards and her strength and courage through all she’s had to face in life, even after the catastrophic event, is really incredible.

You can get a copy of the DVD here.

Kon Tiki

Another of the best sailing movies out there, in our opinion. The ones based on real life events are so much more exciting! This sailing movie is based on Norwegian explorer, Thor Heyerdahl, who crossed the Pacific ocean in a balsa wood raft in 1947, together with five men, to prove that South Americans could have crossed the sea and settled on Polynesian islands back in pre-Columbian times.

We loved how the film was done, with the dramatic lead up to a voyage that seemed so sure to fail, to the days the men spent at sea in a tiny floating raft. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but it’s a must see sailing movie in our opinion!

You can get a copy here.


This sailing movie is the true story of Tracy Edwards, a 26 year old female skipper who led the first ever all women crew to compete in the Whitbread round the world race. She was awarded the 1990 Yachtsman of the year award – the first woman to have ever received the award. It’s an inspiring story of perseverance in the face of adversity and a must see for any sailors – especially women!

You can get your copy here.

The Mercy

In this sailing movie Colin Firth plays Donald Crowhurst, an amateur sailor who competed in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in the hope of becoming the first person in history to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe without stopping.

This is one of the best sailing movies out there, with some superb action shots and a great true story line. And an all star cast really helps too! Give this one a few hours of your time and you won’t be disappointed.

Buy now on Amazon.

The Best Sailing Movies For Escapism

the best sailing movies for escapism
The best sailing movies for escapism

If you’re looking to forget about life for a while and be transported to the sea then check out these best sailing movies for escapism and be transported to the wind and waves!


Wind follows a sailors dream of winning the America’s Cup. It’s pretty cheesy to be honest, with fast boats, lots of drama and of course a love story, but it’s a great film with some wonderful camera work – especially the sailing shots. We really enjoyed this easy to watch classic.

You can get a DVD copy here.


I’m not sure if you can really class this as a sailing movie, but it’s a movie about sailing, so I’m including it in this list. Adam and I aren’t Disney fanatics, but we did really enjoy this Disney sailing movie! It’s about a girl born to sail but held back by her family, until she just goes for it anyway and has the adventure of a lifetime. I think any sailor will appreciate the nautical themes and the adventurous spirit of this uplifting sailing movie.

You can get a copy here.

White Squall

This sailing movie is based on the 1961 sinking of the schooner, Albatross, in the Gulf of Mexico. When caught in a white squall, the skipper tries to lead a bunch of school kid crew through survival tactics at sea.

I’ve got to be honest, we didn’t really enjoy the actual film production. The special effects are a little unbelievable and it’s a bit overdone. But the actual boat is incredible and it’s an easy watch, it’s definitely one to make you dream of being out on the ocean again!

You can get a copy here.

So there you have it, our pick of the best sailing movies out there for you to enjoy sailing vicariously! Hopefully that’s enough to lift your spirits until the next time you can make it out on the open waters and creating sailing movie adventures of your own!

Watched all the sailing movies you can find? Check out our sailing adventures on YouTube for more sailing escapism!
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