Synopsis by Michael Hastings
Once the dominion of Hemingway novels and fish stick ads, the survivalist sport of single-person sailing gets a much-needed redress -- thanks, in part, to modern video technology -- in Alone Against the Sea: The Dangers of Solo Sailing. Seattle filmmaker Laszlo Pal profiles five such sea farers, from around the globe, each competing for the annual Around Alone sailing prize. Among the determined, solitary skippers: Isabelle Autissier, who suffers a harrowing capsizing incident, and Viktor Yazikov, who is forced to undergo self-surgery when an ailment strikes halfway through the trip. Other competitors run ashore, fall asleep at the helm, or, in some cases, call for rescue. In addition to tracking these sailors with his own camera, Pal equipped each of them with their own camcorders to record "voyage diaries," which reveal their hopes, fears, and brushes with death. Alone Against the Sea had its world premiere at the 2003 Seattle International Film Festival.