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Latitude Movie Club: ‘Cast Away’?

We’d like to introduce a few films that wouldn’t necessarily be considered ‘sailing movies’, but have references to, or underlying hints of sailing and/ or seamanship. Back in August, when we first solicited readers for their favorite sailing films, Lee Johnson wrote:

“My favorite sailing movie is Cast Away, a Robert Zemeckis film starring Tom Hanks, which doesn’t have much actual sailing in it, other than the one scene where Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland, tops the breakers to escape the island with his raft using a broken outhouse [portable toilet] shell for a sail. The reason I call this a ‘sailing movie’, however, is because Noland shows that the skills and life lessons of an avid sailor can be both life saving and life affirming.

“What? You didn’t catch the fact that Noland is a sailor? It comes about 14 minutes into the movie. Chuck and Kelly Frears (played by Helen Hunt) are asleep with the TV on. The camera pans across the room, showing a trophy shelf where Noland’s sailing school certificate and pickle dishes are displayed. That’s how the Fed Ex guy knows enough about buoyancy, sail power, and weather patterns to plot his escape and build his raft. Indeed, the whole movie is a testament to the sailor’s core skill of ‘adaptive attunement’ — successfully dealing with a changing external set of circumstances.”

© 20th Century Fox Screenshot by Lee Johnson

And what about What About Bob?, which has a brief but (yes, we’ll say it) iconic sailing scene:

After returning to shore, Bill Murray exclaims: “I sail. I’m a sailor! Is this a breakthrough, that I’m a sailor? That I sail now?”

Reader Michael Moen had another offbeat suggestion: “I’d like to nominate The Four Seasons,” the 1981 film written, directed and staring Alan Alda and co-starring Carol Burnett. “The segment on charter rental with friends, acquaintances, and strangers is a valuable lesson to us all on accommodation of others.”

And Tom Varely wrote: “There is one movie that is quite overlooked, and quite ridiculous: Cabin Boy. Chris Elliott is the absolute best playing his role as a ‘Fancy Lad,’ and David Letterman’s cameo as a sock-monkey salesman is epic (“Big girls have big appetites!”). And yes, we have a copy on our boat, along with the ever-beloved Captain Ron. (And of course, Dogtown and Z Boys).”

Additional movie suggestions include Wake of the Red Witch, staring John Wayne, and featuring Duke Kahanamoku, the godfather of modern surfing, and The Sea Wolf, starring Edward G. Robinson and adapted from Jack London’s novel of the same name.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Please send them here.

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The recent New York City marathon may have a lesson for sailboat racing and those seeking the ever-elusive ‘fair’ rating rule.