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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.
A heartfelt story of a mans dreams turning to fears
I happened upon this by chance. I was at my friends house and he had just started watching it, so I sat down thinking we would shoot the breeze whilst this was playing in the background. However, within seconds I was immersed in this docu-drama, and we both spent the rest of the time completely focused on this and not saying a word to each other.
I never knew the tale of the the first solo around the world yacht race, let alone the tragic events of one man's attempt against the odds, which set out to be his redemption for all of his misfortunes in life, but ultimately ends up becoming an example of them. Having not known of the story, I did watch this with the same fervor as I imagine those who were reading about the race at the time it actually was happening, engulfed in what was taking place and eager for more information, hoping the lone amateur was going to pull it off against the odds and beat the pro's, which makes the shocking twists of the story all the more tragic, I felt like I was living the story.
The story is told with great care, and the interviewees have clearly had time to reflect on the tragedy, which gives great insights, but is also contrasted nicely by the archive footage of interviews at the time of the tragedy, the recordings and photographs of the lone sailors is also excellently used, and the insights into the minds of the sailors and how solitude was affecting them was superb.
I'm shocked that this story isn't more widely known or has been turned into a movie, but also thankful. Thankful that we have this drama-documentary to tell the tale from those who knew the man, instead of some wishy-washy movie adaptation, and thankful that I caught this gem of a film by pure chance.
It's a must see, whether you like documentaries or not.
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