Sailing Stories

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Our top pick of sailing stories from around the world.  Sometimes the next best thing to being on a sailboat, is reading about other peoples adventures in them.  Before we set off to create our very own sailing adventure, we spent hours scouring peoples sailing stories on the internet, reading books and watching true story films. 

Sometimes we were feeling brave and in the mood for something terrifying, other times we loved just daydreaming about beautiful places and faraway lands.  We’ve made a list of our top sailing stories, so that when you’re done with reading ours you still have something to entertain you!

Different Kinds Of Sailing Stories

Sailing stories have been told since the moment man created sailing boats.  People would gather round the fire to listen to fisherman’s tales of sea monsters, or adventurers tell of foreign lands.  Luckily for us, we no longer have to seek out a drunk old man with a large bushy beard in an ale house to hear stories of the sea and all it’s terrifying wonder.  Sailing stories now come in many different forms-books, audiobooks, blogs, podcasts, videos and films.  There really is something for everyone! 

We’ve split up our list into fiction and non-fiction stories, and organised them by type to make it easy for you to find just the thing you’re looking for!  Hopefully one of them will inspire you to try out sailing for yourself, or start a life of adventure on the sea! 

Non-Fiction Sailing Stories

First up we have our top real life sailing stories!  


A Voyage For Madmen

The true story of the famous 1968 Golden Globe sailing race: the first single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the world.  A wonderfully told story that covers all sorts of the emotions felt from being at sea, and what it can ultimately drive men to do.


Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men set sail for the South Atlantic on board a ship called the Endurance, with the goal of crossing the Antarctic over land.  The ship was trapped, then crushed in ice, where Shackleton and his men became castaways on one of the most savage regions of the world. 

For Better, For Worse

This book tells the story of a family who have a bit of a midlife crisis, leave their jobs and home and move onto a sailboat on the French canals.  It’s told from both the husbands and wifes perspectives, and is hilarious.  If you want something lighthearted and fun then this is a great read!


Swell Voyage

Liz, surfer and environmentalist, became captain of her own 40ft boat named Swell. She has since sailed over 20,000NM to Mexico, Central America, and the South Pacific. Her sailing boat is powered solely by wind and solar power.

Her blog is a brilliant read, with some interesting stories and lots of good advice on how to stay environmentally friendly.

a girl from swell voyage sailing stories sitting in her sailboat

Sailing Totem

Not many sailors keep their blogs updated, as they tend to focus more on videos these days.  But Sailing Totem still put up regular sailing stories on their blog, and we love reading them!  This family have circumnavigated the world and write about their adventures along the way.

a man fishing from his sailboat


The Sailing Podcast

Out of production but we still think it’s well worth mentioning. The Sailing Podcast hosted interviews with lots of interesting people – from YouTubers like Sailing Uma and Sailing La Vagabonde, to sailing legends like Lin Pardey. There are a lot of episodes on here with stories from sailboat cruisers like us, so we might be a little biased!


the sailing podcast logo

Sailing Stories

Sailing stories from the high seas is exactly what it says it is!  It’s podcasts feature some famous names and some quality listening.  You’ll want to pay attention though, and listen in order.  Check them out!

a sailing story podcast logo


Literally every sailor out there is making stories about their adventures.  You can watch dreamy footage of tropical islands, spicy sailing through storms or get a taste of life at sea.  Whatever floats your boat, you’ll find it on YouTube!  Here are two of our favourites for you to check out.  And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel if you’ve enjoyed this post-it really helps us out 🙂

Sailing Kittiwake

These guys show what living on a sailboat is really like.  No frills, just all the ups and all the downs.  They’re also great people (watch here to see the time they helped save us when we dragged anchor!)

Sailing Millennial Falcon

We’ve only recently discovered these guys sailing stories and we’re binge watching their episodes while we have unlimited internet in France!  They’re doing exactly what we’ve done, only they’ve been doing it for much longer. 



Ok, certainly not a happy watch, especially when you know it’s based on a true story.  But this film really did inspire us.  What an incredible woman to survive for so long on so little.  I still get a little teary just thinking about it!


Maidentrip is a documentary about Laura Dekker’s year and a half voyage to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world. Dekker, born in Holland, set sail from Gibraltar in 2010 and made the journey in a year and half, finishing a few months after her 16th birthday.  Incredible.

Fictional Sailing Stories

Prefer to lose yourself in fantasy rather than fiction?  Well we’ve got some great suggestions for you.  Some of these are perfect for kids too, so you can inspire them before that next sailing holiday.


Life of Pi

Yann Martel’s prize winning fantasy novel tells the story of Piscine Molitor ‘Pi’ Patel. After his boat is shipwrecked in the Pacific Ocean, Pi survives 227 days stranded in a lifeboat with Richard Parker – a Bengal tiger. The film is more famous, but we prefer the book!

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

A classic.  The novel is most notable for Verne’s description of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus which accurately predicted features of modern submarines – vessels that were still decades away from being invented when the book was published in 1870. There’s also giant whales and octopus attacks….

Kensuke’s Kingdom

So this is most definitely designed for kids, but I couldn’t put it down.  Michael has it all.  His family, a life at sea, no school and a dog.  Until he falls overboard and gets washed up on a desert island, and finds he isn’t there alone.  It has a little of everything in it, and of course a happy ending.  

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