Saw "All is Lost" last night.....The sailor Redford played was woefully unskilled, the boat was a POS and not set up for offshore sailing in any way, his emergency equipment or lack there of was pathetic. One would be asking for certain death if they were sailing off into the unknown with Redford's boat equiped the way it was. I'd be curious how many other Sailnet subscribers saw it and what they thought.
I can't comment in with any authority on this since I have not seen the movie, but from what I have read it is supposed to be be loosely based on the book 'Adrift', which is the true story of Steven Callahan who spent 76 days in a life raft after his Transat boat sank in 1981.
While Callahan was a very experienced sailor, for some reason the movie folks chose to make the Redford character a comparatively new sailor and the boat a stock coastal racer-cruiser.
I don't know when in time the movie is set, but if it is set during the early 1980's, the lack of safety devices, or the lack of an offshore cruiser would not be all that surprising, and would be authentic to that point in time. These days we are used to even small boats with very sophisticated equipment. But things were very different in the early 1980's.
There certainly were purpose built cruisers back then, but sailors routinely went offshore in what they owned, and with minimal modifications. Before the internet there simply were not these kinds of discussions. It was "run what ya brung" and lots of folks did. People would do all kinds of distance cruising in boats which by any modern standard were just plan poor offshore cruisers.
Similarly basic safey gear that we think of today was almost unknown. Hardly anyone wore harnesses.
Navigational and safety electrionics were largely absent. It was a big deal to have a VHF radio, let alone single-sideband. There was no such thing as GPS back then and Loran was prohibitively expensive and you needed to be near shore to use it. We did have RDF's which on a small boat gave you a pretty big triangle where the boat was supposely located. Epirbs existed but were wildly expensive and in my circles quite rare except on offshore race boats. We still used wind-up chronometers to tell time for use with the sextant for navigational purposes. You calculated the known error on the chronometer and wound it every day at the same time so that that error would remain constant. You tried to get a radio time check every couple days and log the error and reset the chronometer from that.
So I would not necessarily say that the POS boat or lack of safety gear was unrealistic. It might be, but depending on the era (or the error), it might not. It may just be different times.