Could sailboats turning into movie stars be a growing trend? First it was the appearance of two SailGP F50s in the sci-fi thriller Tenet, which featured the Japan and US foiling catamarans racing on the Solent. Now, the new Top Gun film starring Tom Cruise features a well-known Bay Area J/125, Rufless.
Rufless, owned by Rufus Sjoberg, finished first on both the Saturday and Sunday of this year’s Great Vallejo Race. But before that, she featured in a six-minute-long scene in Top Gun: Maverick, the film that brings Cruise’s character, Maverick, face to face with the now-adult son of his former wingman, Goose.
In the scene, Cruise and co-star Jennifer Connelly are sailing on San Francisco Bay — sailing upwind, reaching, and setting the spinnaker downwind. And according to Stephen Colbert’s interview with Connelly on CBS’s The Late Show, Connelly did actually have the helm, as is portrayed in the film.
Rufless appears to be moving very quickly, and Connelly looks to be in her element as she informs Cruise the conditions are, “A little rougher than I expected.” (Classic Bay Area sailing conditions.) After Maverick divulges his lack of sailing knowledge, he delivers another future classic movie line: “I don’t sail boats, Penny, I land on them.”
The boat scene had originally been filmed in San Diego amid beautiful conditions, and with dolphins! But the action was lacking, so it was reshot on San Francisco Bay, chosen for its windy reputation.
Here is the full interview, including a snippet of the co-stars sailing aboard Rufless:
The film is screening in theaters, and from what we’ve read, viewers are impressed!