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DEEP WATER - the documentary
Just viewed this quite good documentary on the London Times Golden Globe Race - the first around-the-world-solo-nonstop sailing race held in 1969.
Won by Robin Knox-Johnstone (who was subsequently knighted), he was the only finisher from 9 starters. An odd race, in that you could leave at any time within a certain window with prizes for the first to complete, and also for the fastest time.
This race was frought with drama with dismastings, sinkings, etc as one by one the racers fell by the wayside. This documentary focuses primarily on the most bizarre story of all, that of Donald Crowhurst and the Tieghnmouth Electron, a 41 foot trimaran built for the race.
Using lots of BBC and other archival footage, it is interspersed with poignant present-day interviews of participants, family, friends and journalists.
Crowhurst found himself at sea in an inadequate boat, with high expectations at home, and long story short he began to falsify his progress reports, including reporting a then-record 243 mile 24 hour run, as he pursued the other racers after a last minute start. His intention was to "rejoin" the fleet as the leaders rounded the Horn and headed for England. He kept two logs, one of his "race" and one of his actual track. He even had to go ashore in Brazil for repairs, only to sneak away again without contacting his supporters.
In the end, he did announce his pending return in the thick of the remaing "fleet", but then went AWOL. A freighter found his boat drifting and abandoned and recovered the boat.
At this point the full story became known and the Press had a field day of course. A proud man, evidently Crowhurst could not see his way clear to returning to scrutiny, and could not bear the idea of exposure. Failure in the race would also have led to financial ruin, but the humiliation would have been the most untenable.
Made in 2006, it's astounding in how it reveals the primitive gear (by today's standards) these sailors used. There is also the Bernard Motiessier story, having sailed 3/4s of the way and heading to Europe he decided he could do without the publicity, crowds and hassle, turned to starboard and went through the Indian Ocean again, eventually reaching Tahiti.
Not as detailed as the books on this subject, but a good way to spend 90 minutes.