HOLD FAST: Best Sailing Movie Ever?


My last post about All is Lost, perhaps the worst sailing movie ever made, has garnered so much attention, I thought I better point to what I consider to be a most excellent sailing movie. True, Hold Fast, a documentary released in 2007, is not fiction, but it could be. It tells the story of a skinny white guy with dreads named Mike (aka Moxie Marlinspike) who cruises from Florida to the Dominican Republic with an all-female crew of post-punk anarchists in a decrepit Pearson 30.

The crew of Pestilence seems to view cruising under sail almost as a political act. By reclaiming an ugly hulk of a fiberglass boat and rebuilding it with scavenged materials (they step the mast with the dinghy davit of an untended superyacht), then sailing away in it despite its manifest unseaworthiness, they are making a statement against our disposable consumer culture. What they teach us is that only by stepping outside this culture can we truly experience life.

They aspire to be “sailing maniacs,” and they succeed: “The maniacs are the ones who have accepted their insignificance to the vast expanses of unrelenting ocean and yet still sail on quixotically, because they are in love with the direct, unmediated experience they find out there.”

Pearson 30 hulk

The good ship Pestilence before her guerilla refit

All girl crew

The all-girl crew: Kirsten, Allie, and Lisa

Heading ashore

Heading ashore for fresh water


Moxie hunts for food

Direct deposit

Making a direct deposit


Reefing down


Dancing with a water spout

One of the best things about it is you can watch it for free online. Running length is a bit over an hour, but it’s time well spent:

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12 Responses
  1. Charlie

    @SailFar: It’s weird. In the film Moxie identifies his boat as a Pearson 30. Perhaps the fellow who sold it to him told him that, and he never questioned it. Studying photos of both boats, I have to agree with you that it’s an Irwin, though the two boats are very similar. Congrats on upgrading to the Catalina! charlie

  2. The Dog House

    This was actually very entertaining. I am REALLY surprised that they made it as far as they did in that boat. Even the bag of bricks idea for anchoring was crazy but apparently it worked for them.

  3. Tom

    The first time I started to watch Hold Fast, I turned it off after ten minutes and told myself that I wasn’t going to waste my time. I went to bed that night and thought about it as I fell asleep. The next night I found it again and watched it through…and have watched it at least four times since then. Great story, great narration and a great adventure. I would love to know where they all are now. Especially Lisa, what a doll!

  4. Paolo Merola

    Exelente documental…admirable además! Por favor…alguien pordrìa subir los subtítulos en español formato srt? Gracias Moxie y todos desde Uruguay!

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