Does Hollywood Hate Sailing?

Published on November 19th, 2013

Glenn McCarthy writes a blog for the Chicago Now, part of the Chicago Tribune Media Group. His mission is to promote sailing, and comments here on the forces that are conspiring against him…

Here I am pouring my soul out trying to explain how easy it is to start sailing, how affordable sailing is and how much fun and adventure you’ll end up having for the rest of your life.

Then along comes Hollywood trying to scare the living bejesus out of you so you’ll never ever get on a sailboat.

The latest assault on sailing comes from Robert Redford’s latest movie “All Is Lost.” Hollywood again is showing another (fictional – Fake!) movie. When leaving this movie, my wife said (not knowing I was writing this piece) “This movie will stop the public from wanting to go for a sail.” With friends like this in Hollywood, who needs enemies?

All is Lost is about a guy whose boat runs into a steel container (like those that are moved from rail to ship to truck to move goods, there are said to be 5,000 of these floating in the world’s oceans at any time – for real) and the boat ends up sinking in the middle of the ocean. The guy goes from tragedy to ????? (I don’t want to spoil the ending).

Another movie in the theaters now is Captain Phillips, while not exactly sailing, is modeled after a real pirate attack on a Container Ship, and it does go to show that the world’s waters still hold real pirates. The U.S. Department of State today warns to stay away from the waters of Gulf of Aden, Venezuela, Straits of Malacca, and Malaysia. There are other waters around the world where one must remain prudent too.

At least there was something educational in this movie, that the world’s waters are safe in some areas and dangerous in others. I think we can put Lake Michigan in a “safer” category.

Read on as Glenn sorts through his assessment of the Hollywood sailing movies.

Editor’s note: Glenn’s review of ‘All is Lost’ was kind. Be prepared to lose two hours and get very little entertainment in return. One movie you won’t find on Glenn’s list is Jaws. While not about sailing, this 1975 flick still remains hard to forget.

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