Confronted by a perilous sea, bad weather, an unfinished boat and painfully slow progress, sailor Donald Crowhurst faces an impossible dilemma - to continue into the open ocean on his 1968 solo round-the-world race with a leaking boat or return home defeated and bankrupt. Using original 16mm footage, tape recordings and interviews, this film reconstructs one man's extraordinary physical and psychological journey.
Shattering story of a great race, courage, deception and tragedy
This is an account of events that have been covered in print several times, and I had read two books - 'A Voyage for Madmen' and 'The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst' before seeing the film in Sheffield just before Christmas. I must say, it exceeded all expectations in its telling of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe yacht race. These men set out to do something that had never been done before with no support vessels, wooden boats, no satellite phones, no GPS, and just their wits and skill to get them round the globe in one piece. Not to mention the months of solitude, the thundering southern ocean, little sleep, and boats that were often literally falling apart around them.
This documentary is excellently put together in my opinion, tightly edited, well paced with superb narration. The archive footage and the interviews are fascinating and bring the story to life. Clare Crowhurst's interview footage is especially revealing and moving as she relates the events that led up to her husband, Donald Crowhurst's departure from Teignmouth, the doubts and fears in his mind and her reaction as subsequent events unfolded.
I was moved and had even shed a tear or two by the time the credits started rolling, and overheard other people expressing similar feelings.
The two books I mentioned above are useful for more detail and back-story which couldn't have been fitted into the 90 minutes and I would recommend those too.
This is ultimately a true story of human courage and human frailty. A must see for anyone interested in sailing, adventure, human endeavour and real-life heroes.
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