White Squall

One of my boyfriend’s and my favorite films is the 1996 White Squall, based on the true story of the ill-fated 1961 school sailing trip aboard the Albatross. In 1960-61, the brigantine was the vessel that united a group of 13 school boys during their ocean academy in a strong bond of loyalty and trust – with the ship, Dr. Sheldon their “Skipper”, and with each other. The film eloquently captures the adventure and wonder that the boys experience on their travels from the Bahamas, through the Caribbean, to the Galapagos, and back again. During their voyage the boys  experienced rigorous sailing training, and with the disciplined encouragement and guidance of their “Skipper”, they became men. About eight months into their journey, the Albatross was hit by a white squall west of the Dry Tortugas. She keeled over almost instantly, taking with her Dr. Sheldon’s wife, the ship’s cook, and four of the boys. This tragic tale is brought to life by director Ridley Scott, heavy hitter Jeff Bridges (tanned and tough as ever), and 90’s teenage heartthrobs Scott Wolf, Jeremy Sisto, and Ryan Phillippe. It’s a great film, not only for it’s heartfelt story, but also for the sartorial elements. For me it’s not as much about the pressed chinos and the of-the-moment short sleeved button-front shirts the boys show up in before they start their voyage. It’s what they wear while living on their new home, the Albatross. I especially love Jeff Bridges’ wardrobe. It’s the essentials of a sailor who spends his life at sea: chino shorts ripped and sunwashed, white T’s and polos worn thin from everyday wear and tear, boat shoes that have seen better days, and sunglasses secured by frayed peeper keepers. This is what style inspired by sailing looks like to me. It’s not just an idea, it’s a lifestyle.



Filed under Style

11 responses to “White Squall

  1. raven26

    That’s one of the few sailing films I’ve never gotten around to watching. This post is a pretty darned good endorsement, though. Thank you!

  2. In my top 20 preppy film.
    Highlights: Jeff Bridges on the deck of the ship in Ray-Bans and a white polo (collar popped), David Shelby’s character Francis Beaumont who sports and ascot to dinner with his son.

  3. I have watched this movie more times than I can count. On many levels I like it. Great shots and a good story. But I enjoyed the post as much for your comments on style and lifestyle at the end as for your mention of the movie.
    As I carefully watch the themometer and the calendar, I know that yet another summer will be here before we know it. My dress shoes and long pants will see less daylight and shorts and boat shoes will awaken from their long winter nap.
    Life on this planet started in the oceans. In todays world, it has just moved to the surface. No truer words were ever said than, “I’d rather be sailing.”

  4. Happy you all enjoyed the post! It’s definitely a film that speaks to both me and my boyfriend. I went to a boarding school in Newport, RI that has a well-known ocean classroom program and my boyfriend, a lifelong sailor from ME, actually went on ocean classroom in highschool. Looking back, I regret that I hadn’t taken advantage of the opportunity. I’m hoping that someday he and I can go on our own sailing voyage though!

  5. great great GREAT movie. you are so right about the sartorial elements of the film. look at how handsome that jeff bridges is in a polo. to die for!

  6. Glenn

    I own a copy! classic sailing film, and what about those Jeff bridges Wayfares!

  7. A.G.

    Agree: an excellent movie on many levels and…

    a well-written synopsis.

    This movie is now on my re-watch list.

  8. Dave

    Directors name is Ridley Scott. He’s only one the best directors of all time. I’ll cut you some slack if you do a date night post using “Alien”.

  9. Dave, funny that you were the first one to notice that typo. I am aware that he’s Ridley Scott and NOT Scott Ridley so thank you for pointing the error out. As far as Alien on Date Night goes, I’d be careful what you wish for. JK.

  10. SCBaby

    My father was one of the survivors of the Albatross! ❤

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