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Film About Pioneering California Circumnavigators

We were recently reminded of a movie about the Griffiths, who are on the Latitude 38 West Coast Circumnavigators List after circumnavigating back in the ’60s and ’70s. It was a whole different era of cruising. They circumnavigated three times on two different 52-ft boats named Awahnee between 1959 and 1978.

Sailboat foundering
Following Seas follows the adventures of the Griffith family and their 20 ocean voyages.
© 2020 High Tor Productions / Journeyman Pictures

Bob Griffith sailed into Honolulu Harbor in 1960 and met fellow iconoclast Nancy Hirsch. From that moment they were wedded to the sea. Steering their 52-ft cutter Awahnee to places no small boat had been before, they spent decades navigating the relentless pull of family and adventure. Following Seas combines recent interviews with exquisitely textured archival 16-millimeter film shot by Nancy on location from Antarctica to Polynesia, in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s not only a story of world records and sailing feats, but of a family who truly lived a self-determined life and made the sacrifices their dream demanded.

Awahnee wrecked on a reef.
The wreck of the Awahnee.
© 2020 High Tor Productions / Journeyman Pictures


  1. Neal Woods 4 years ago

    One of the best adventure films, “Following Seas”, is so good my wife even watched it with me – and that’s saying something! The archival super 8 (?) footage is awesome in that it was “discovered” and then made into this great film. This is the story of a family that just put themselves out there.

  2. Bryan Chavez 4 years ago

    My wife and I have watched this movie a couple times on line and have recommended it to all our sailing friends and family.

  3. Ben Shaw 4 years ago

    Just watched it thanks to your recommendation and really enjoyed it! Thanks

  4. milly Biller 4 years ago

    “Doc” Bob Griffith used to be our large animal veterinarian in West Marin, and was a Commodore of the Inverness Yacht Club. As a tiny kid, he used to invite me to dance with him on top of his shoes. His book ” Blue Water” is an amazing read. I got to hang out with Nancy at her home in Captain Cook Hi not long before she passed. I love these two people !

  5. Daniel Starsong 4 years ago

    I knew Nancy well she was one of my greatest sailing mentors. I never met Bob, because he had already passed. I remember one memorable sailing trip with her, and the rest of the crew, from Molokai back to the Big Island, those were good times. I also helped modify her 50 foot steel sailboat the Goodewind, which she owned after the Awhanee, from a ketch to a cutter.
    The Big Island Sailing Foundation, which sponsors youth sailing on the Big Island, showed the movie “Following Seas” at the Kona Sailing Club as a fund raiser. We all enjoyed it very much.

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