I saw All is Lost over the weekend, and I like it. Perhaps I am reading too much into it, but I started thinking that some of the criticisms may have been part of the back story. Take a fairly successful businessman, with a healthy ego and lots of self confidence. He retires and is bored. He bought his Cal new back in '79 and has been a fair weather weekend sailor, but reading all kinds of sailing books and magazines. He decides to sail solo around the world. He has 30+ plus years of sailing experience, but doesn't realize that its all near shore nice weather experience. He has maintained the boat by calling the yard and telling them to fix things, but he thinks of it as maintaining his boat. He has managed large companies therefore a 39 foot sailboat is a piece of cake. His wife and children are against the idea, but he ignores them. The get him a very nice sextant for a birthday present, but he never actually opens it or learns to use it. He read the book, or at least started to. He stops at West Marine and buys the gear they recommend. He's watched that fishing show on TV, so he gets Grundens foulies because they are "professional". He knows his Rolex will tempt the "natives" so he leaves it home and gets a Seiko diver's watch. He knows about fiberglass repair, but he has never done it. He is sorry, they were right. His pride is that he never gives up, not that he made the right choices or that he handled tough situations. If you look at it that way, the name brands are not just product placement. Wasn't there a picture of that adjustable wrench with the sinnet lanyard in Brion Toss' book? What else would you take up the mast? We all see ourselves as good competent sailors, who would never make such foolish errors, but I for one have done some pretty brainless things. I have learned to live within my limitations, at least that's my view of myself. I know guys like that, I may be one myself. And yes there is a copy of Mary Blewett's book on my shelf, even though I have never been far enough off shore to get away from all the light pollution. Just a thought.