Classic Sailing Documentaries

Classic Sailing Documentaries

Take a look back in time. Stream this collection of 24 classic sailing films for 30 days. Shot in 16mm film and early video formats, they open a window on sailing’s past.

These titles were created from the 1960s through the 1990s by pioneers in transoceanic cruising and sailing history. Sailors include Eric & Susan Hiscock, Lin & Larry Pardey, Hal & Margaret Roth, Gene & Josie Evans, Ellen & Ed Zacko, Don Street, Yves Gelinas, and Erol Flynn. Where possible, titles shot in 16mm color film have been professionally digitized from surviving film prints to full 1920x1080 HD. Titles shot in early video formats have been color corrected and digitally remastered. If you are still attached to your DVD player, most titles are also available on disc at our flagship website, TheSailingChannel.TV.

Classic Sailing Documentaries
  • Beyond the West Horizon

    A film by Eric and Susan Hiscock.
    In the late 1950's, very few "middle class" sailors had taken small sailing craft on long voyages. British Sailors, Eric and Susan Hiscock became pioneers in making long trans-oceanic passages in a small sailboat to what was then quite remote destinations. Their...

  • Kicki & Thies on Wanderer III

    Interview with Thies Matzen and Kicki Erickson, longtime adventure sailors and current owners of Wanderer III, the vessel sailed by the Hiscocks and featured in their film...

    A film by Eric and Susan Hiscock.
    In the late 1950's, very few "middle class" sailors had ta...

  • Lin & Larry Pardey on the Hiscocks

    Lin and Larry Pardey remember Eric and Susan Hiscock, British sailors who pioneered making ocean passages in a small sailboat. As young sailors, the Hiscocks became mentors for Lin & Larry as they began their cruising career. The Hiscock film, Beyond the West Horizon documents the couple's circum...

  • Transatlantic with Street

    A film by Gavin Shaw
    One of the first sailing documentaries shot on video.
    Classic Atlantic ocean 5,000 mile tradewind passage shot in 1986 aboard noted sailor/author Don Street's 1905 engineless 44 foot yawl, Iolaire. Documents Iolair's ninth Atlantic crossing from Ireland, with eleven ocean i...

  • Don Street Antigua Race Week 1985

    A film by Charles Croft with Don Street
    A one hour award-winning documentary which lets you share the intense sailing action aboard Don Street's 80 year old, 44 foot, engineless yawl, "Iolaire" during Antigua Sailing Week 1985, Iolarie's final appearance in one of the world's top sailing events.

  • Kon-Tiki

    A film by Thor Heyerdahl (B&W)
    1951 Academy-Award for Best Documentary.
    The classic film about Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 adventure voyage spanning 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean aboard a balsawood raft. Expedition members: Thor Heyerdahl, Herman Watzinger, Erik Hesselberg.

  • Kon-Tiki Color Footage

    Rare color footage of Kon-Tiki underway and after a hard landing crossing a reef on a Pacific Atoll. Crew removing gear and celebrating their successful voyage.
    Courtesy of NRK and the Kon-Tiki Museum.

  • Cruising Has No Limits with Lin & Larry Pardey

    Join Lin and Larry Pardey at their New Zealand home base as they recount some of their most memorable adventures during more than 30 years of cruising. Adventures include a "Champagne Safari on a beer budget" in southern Africa, a Brazilian island encounter, and an Irish summer of music and class...

  • 600 Days Part 1: To Cocos Island HD

    Theater Edition Restoration in HD with added special features.

    A film by Gene and Josie Evans
    Completed in 1976, this is Part 1 of a two part sailing documentary shot in 16mm color film by noted Hollywood cinematographer, Gene Evans - cameraman for "Roots" the miniseries, and feature films inclu...

  • 600 Days - Pt.2: Cocos to the Galapagos Islands HD

    Theater Edition Restoration in HD with added special features.

    A film by Gene and Josie Evans
    Completed in 1976, this part two of a two part sailing documentary was shot in 16mm color film by noted Hollywood cinematographer, Gene Evans - cameraman for "Roots" the miniseries, and feature films in...

  • Tahiti and Bora Bora with Hal and Margaret Roth

    TAHITI AND BORA BORA with Hal and Margaret Roth.
    Twenty years on in the late 1980s, sailor authors and filmmakers, Hal and Margaret Roth reprise their 1960s cruise to Tahiti and the Leewards for Sailing Quarterly Video Magazine. Their sixties cruise was part of a circumnavigation of the Pacific ...

  • With Jean-du-Sud Around the World

    A film by Yves Gélinas
    NOW IN HD. TheSailingChannel is honored to offer what many consider to be the finest sailing film ever made.

    A professional, color-corrected 2K scan from a pristine 16mm print to 1920x1080 full HD.

    In attempting to sail non–stop between Saint-Malo and Gaspé through ...

  • Jean-du-Sud autour du monde

    The SailingChannel a l’honneur d’offrir le film de Yves Gélinas Jean-du-Sud autour du monde, deux fois Palme d’Or au Festival du Film de Voile de La Rochelle (pour la première partie en 1983 et la seconde en 1985) et de 8 prix dans d’autres festivals. L’ex-comédien et cinéaste raconte son tour d...

  • Voyages of Entr'acte: The Partnership

    A film by Ed and Ellen Zako.
    The Partnership is a story of love and friendship, discovery and improbability. Ellen and Ed Zacko met while playing in the orchestra of a Broadway musical and hatched a scheme to take a temporary brake from the hectic New York scene and explore the world together. T...

  • Voyage of Entr'acte: The San Blas Islands and the Panama Canal

    A Film by Ellen & Ed Zacko
    Join the crew of Entr'acte for a journey between two oceans. "The San Blas and Panama Canal" begins in Grenada and crosses the Caribbean Sea to the enchanting San Blas Islands. There Ellen and Ed Zacko re-unite with old friends Paula and John on Mr. John VI to explore ...

  • In the Wake of the Zaca

    A film by Luther Greene
    TheSailingChannel.TV is proud to bring you "In the Wake of the Zaca," the remarkable adventures of a California schooner. This award-winning documentary captures a lost age of adventure, romance, and Hollywood glamour told through the history of a 75 year-old, 118 foot gaf...

  • Zaca: 1933 Templeton Crocker Scientific Expedition

    A short film by Luther Greene.
    In the spring of 1933, Templeton Crocker and a team of scientists sailed his schooner, Zaca across the Pacific from San Francisco, California to the Solomon islands. There, they visited two outlying isolated islands: Rennell and Bellona. Basically untouched by wes...

  • Zaca: Making of the Film

    This is the story behind the story. It's often the way documentaries come about - by accident. In 1978 San Francisco filmmaker, Luther Greene was busy with his film production company when he received a phone call that would lead him on a decade plus journey to bring an incredible story to the sc...

  • The Last Sailors - Coastal Waters

    In this segment we visit coastal waters of third world countries prior to 2000 where working sail was still in use. Fishing and maritime commerce were the main uses of these aging craft, which were quickly being replaced by modern powered vessels, even in the remotest coastal regions. They have n...

  • The Last Sailors - Conclusion

    Thousands of sailors continued to man large numbers of working sailing craft, mostly in remote areas and less developed countries, well into the last decades of the twentieth century. As we move forward into the twenty-first century, those numbers are probably much, much smaller. This series prov...

  • The Last Sailors - High Seas

    In this segment, we look at the last remaining third world windjammers sailing offshore to remote ports during the final decades of the twentieth century. Sometimes the economics of sail works in their favor, but these opportunities were rapidly dwindling and with them the survival of these last ...

  • The Last Sailors - Inland Waters

    In this segment, we explore the inland waters of the thrid world where working sailing craft were still in use prior to 2000 on lakes, bays, rivers, and lagoons. These vessels were sailed primarily for fishing, and maritime commerce: hauling food, timber, and other products to local markets.

  • The Last Sailors - Introduction

    Describes the remaining classes of working sailing craft still operating in the last decades of the twentieth century in inland waters, coastal waters, and on the high seas. These craft were sailed by peoples in remote locations, in less developed countries quickly being modernized by globalizati...

  • Errol Flynn: Crucero en el Zaca (Cruise of the Zaca)

    A short film by Errol Flynn.
    Flynn purchased the Zaca after WWII and restored her as his private party yacht. Flynn directed and narrated this documentary filmed along the east coast of Mexico in 1952. His father was marine scientist and is along on this voyage to do some ocean research. Prior ...