I like sailing movies and documentaries. I’ve laughed my way through Captain Ron numerous times, and I’ve watched Deep Water in awe as Donald Crowhurst literally goes insane while attempting to sail solo around the world. I even love the campy overly-dramaticized 1970s story of Robin Lee Graham in The Dove — especially when the sharks eat his cat.
Needless to say I’m always on the lookout for a new sailing movie.
A few weeks ago I got a Facebook friend request from Beta Centauri. I think Daniel Paulson, or whoever is helping him with marketing, was just sending requests to everyone who was a member of various sailing groups on Facebook.
I noted that it was supposedly a sailing movie, but I wasn’t sure what to think of it. I kind of ignored the posts. But, then I was in the local Boater’s Resale Shop and low and behold, there was a stack of Beta Centauri DVDs for sale on the checkout counter. I decided I’d risk $12.99 to see what it was all about.
First off, let me tell you what is right about this movie because I don’t want to sound like I’m being negative. It’s an amazing feat that Dino Paulson and his daughter sailed around the world. I haven’t done it. I’m not yet prepared to do it. And not only did he sail around the world, he did the first half without a working engine. It was very impressive.
I also appreciated that he and the narrator worked to do some research and provide some history on each location in the film. There is some beautiful footage of the Coral Sea in Fiji and some great wildlife footage of the animals in South Africa.
However … there’s an awful lot of handheld selfie footage … like, A LOT a lot. There’s also a ton of graphics/stock images to fill the screen as the narrator tries to connect one thing to the next. Some of it, like the info about the dodo and animal extinction works. Some of it is just filler.
I liked the fact that Dino interviewed other cruisers in every port as he went around the world. However, the questions asked weren’t all that poignant and everyone seemed to want to wax philosophical. He interviews a guy shipwrecked on Palmerston Island, but he never asks him how he plans to leave … or if he even plans to leave … or if maybe he needs a ride.
The other thing about making a documentary about yourself is when you ask friends and family about yourself, they say really nice things about you. And the guy is obviously out there doing some amazing things on a Morgan 41, but it was refreshing at the end to finally hear his daughter say she hated sailing and to hear his mother say she wished he’d just settle down in the city.
So yes, there’s quite a bit of selfie footage. There’s some issues with the sound mixing. There’s some problems with the lower-thirds not being completely on the screen or being misspelled. But hey, the guy sailed around the freaking world and made the documentary completely by himself, I can cut him some slack.
Now there’s some things I really wish had been in the movie. For instance, we know that SV Hadar’s engine is dead half the movie. It’s too bad he never explained his power system and how he was keeping everything charged. I also assume he had a watermaker for those 30+ day passages, but I have no idea. What they did for water was never mentioned. The only things that get discussed are the heat exchanger, the starter and the autopilot because those are the things that break.
Hadar also has an amazing graphic of a woman or an angel or something on the hull. But there’s never a long clear shot of it with any discussion of what it is or what it means.
So was it worth $12.99?
I’d say, yes. I did learn something about each location in the movie, and I will be making a fishing lure with two weights, a frayed bunji cord and a hook. I have also added “pet a giant tortoise” to my bucket list.