Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Deep Water

Last night Scott and I watched the film, "Deep Water" (at the suggestion of our friend Todd) about the 1968 Around the World Yacht Race.  I have read several books about this particular race and have been fascinated by it for a number of years.  For those of you who don't know of it, go out and grab a book about it.  You don't need to be even remotely interested in sailing to find it totally gripping.  If you love sailing, well then - you'll be tied up for the next couple of days.  It's a real nail biter.

The year was 1968 and the world was running on the excitement of Sir Francis Chichester's completion of the first solo circumnavigation by sailboat just the previous year.  The world was thirsty for adventure, for heroism, for new horizons.  What could possibly be done next?

To sail solo, around the world, alone, and non-stop (Chichester had stopped in Australia for significant refits) that was what.

And so was born the first annual Around the World Race, The Golden Globe.

This movie is less the story of that race, but more the story of Donald Crowhurst - the ill-fated ninth competitor.  His tale is tragic and mystifying, heart breaking and sobering.  It is the story of a man who's heart was in the right place, when his head was not.  The story of a man who let his dreams get the better of him, while the sirens of fame and fortune gilded his judgement.

Donald left England in a tizzy on the very last day of the race deadline.  He sailed off in an all but sinking boat that was unfinished and unseaworthy.  As he sailed on those first few months, misfortune continued to befall him, until, eventually he realized he was totally and utterly in over his head.

Instead of turning back and heading home to face humiliation and bankruptcy, he decided to sail circles.  His plan was pretty slick actually; he would sail in circles for months (avoiding the Southern Ocean) until the other competitors were coming back around - at which point he would sail right back home with them.  He'd fool everyone.  The only glitch in his plan was how he'd keep his mental demons at bay - at sea, alone, for months and months.   Slowly but surely, he went insane* until the day he walked off the back of his boat, never to be seen again.

Watch this movie.  Read his story.  There is definitely a lesson to be learned from Donald Crowhurst, may he rest in peace.


Brittany (& Scott)

PS.  I have read two fantastic books on this race.  A Voyage for Madmen and The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst. I highly recommend them both.
*His journals and rapidly insane musings can be read in the latter book mentioned above.


Unknown said...

Um, why should I read it now? You just ruined the ending for me, Britt!

Last Paradise said...

My gosh woman, you are a blogging Machine!!! Keep it coming, I love reading it!

Windtraveler said...

Louis, the fate of Crowhurst is widely known, I swear I'm not ruining anything. In fact, I believe they give it away in the forward or the book, still lots of craziness to read about! xo

Dawn Ireland said...

Ok, guess I will have to watch this, wasn't sure about it, but after watching your other recommendation "180 Degrees South" (OMG, awesome movie!)this one is now at the top of my list!! Awesome blog BTW, I can't wait to read about your adventures, my hubby and i are retireing in 2 years and will be sailing also. I can't wait! You guys just make me want to go tommorrow!

WhisperBoat said...

A great movie and one of the few I have on board.

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Never heard of it, but will have to rent it now. Sounds great..thanks!

Maisis said...

Peter Nichols' book "A Voyage for Madmen" was the first time I had read about the Golden Globe Race. It was amazing, but I did not know there was a movie. I must now watch this movie. :)

What is this little excerpt? "…. Sir Francis Chichester's completion of the first solo circumnavigation by sailboat …." Be you so quick to give away the honors of your own countrymen? :) This must be your mother’s British influence seeping through. :) To my knowledge, the first solo circumnavigation by sailboat was accomplished in the 1890’s by an American named Joshua Slocum; he circumnavigated the globe in a 36 foot sloop named Spray. He later wrote a book about his adventures entitled “Sailing Along Around the World.”

:) I love the blog, keep it coming. :)

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