Donald Crowhurst: Mystery sailor inspires two movies

Now the tragic story of how an insufficient weekend sailor from Britain took on the world’s high yachtsmen in a 30,000-mile, nonstop voyage across the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa in a leaky boat has impressed a pair of movies.

In the meantime “Crowhurst” is a considerably lower-budget, British manufacturing anticipated to be launched within the UK someday this month.

The twist? Studiocanal is the movie firm releasing each movies.

“We labored out a deal to choose (‘Crowhurst’) up so we may management it,” Danny Perkins, Studiocanal’s UK CEO, was quoted as saying by the Hollywood Reporter. “It was simpler for us to have each of them.”

CNN takes a more in-depth take a look at the story behind considered one of crusing’s longest enduring mysteries.

Money prize

Having sponsored the massively well-liked Francis Chichester — who was knighted by the British Queen in 1967 for changing into the primary man to sail solo all over the world — the Sunday Occasions newspaper provided a ¬£5,000 money prize for the quickest circumnavigation in 1968.

9 sailors undertook the problem, an epic journey throughout among the most treacherous waters on the planet that had solely been accomplished by about 200 individuals earlier than the beginning of this 12 months.

Donald Crowhurst was the man who inspired a pair of movies about his life.

The reward — roughly $120,000 in right now’s cash — for the Golden Globe Race additionally caught the attention of UK Royal Air Pressure veteran Donald Crowhurst, a married father-of-four who was struggling to make ends meet operating a failing electronics firm in Bridgwater, southwest England.

READ: The person who sailed all over the world in 42 days

Pot of Gold

Born in British colonial India in 1932, Crowhurst had restricted crusing expertise. He largely took his household on journeys on his personal small boat, paradoxically named Pot of Gold, simply off the British coast.

Donald Crowhurst's boat, the Teignmouth Electron, is hoisted onto another vessel after being found.

Nonetheless, Crowhurst managed to steer a neighborhood businessman, Stanley Finest, to pay for the constructing of his trimaran at a Norfolk boatyard. However caravan seller Finest, who was additionally backing Crowhurst’s near-bankrupt electronics enterprise, had one demand — he must purchase again the boat if his journey failed.

In different phrases, Crowhurst would go bust until he pulled off the seemingly not possible job.

With a view to meet the October 31 deadline to enter the race, the trimaran was put collectively in a rush, which means Crowhurst set off on an a ship that wasn’t seaworthy.

“We have been watching from the shore. I do not suppose any of us fairly knew what was going to occur subsequent,” Crowhurst’s son, Simon, informed The Guardian in an interview in 2009.

Within the late 1960s, there was no GPS, no web and no trendy communication tools. As an alternative, long-distance crusing was finished by counting on the place of stars and use of sextants.

By July 1969, some 240 days after he set off from the British coast, Crowhurst’s yacht, the Teignmouth Electron, was discovered drifting in the midst of the Atlantic with its captain nowhere to be discovered.

“I do not suppose that my father realized how badly issues may go fallacious,” Simon stated.


What occurred between the beginning of his journey and the tip remains to be shrouded in thriller.

Was all of it a hoax? Or suicide? Or an accident?

There are clues in Crowhurst’s three log books, a tape recorder and 16 millimeter digicam discovered on his yacht, which urged he started to cable dwelling false journey stories about velocity and place two weeks into the race — as soon as he realized his insufficient vessel wasn’t going to win.

His stories have been publicized again dwelling by Rodney Hallworth, a former newspaper reporter Crowhurst had employed as a PR man for the journey. Hallworth made the British public consider underdog Crowhurst was in actual fact profitable the race.

READ: On board with the “Airbnb of the seas”

The log books additionally detailed how Crowhurst gave the impression to be slowly shedding his thoughts as he drifted aimlessly and alone within the ocean, writing a 25,000-word essay on time journey.

“It’s completed,” he wrote within the log e book on the finish of June, 1969. “It’s completed. IT IS THE MERCY… I’ll resign the sport.”

It was his remaining entry and he was by no means seen once more.


“I positively take into consideration Donald each single day,” his widow, Clare Crowhurst, informed The Guardian in 2009.

She stated she “was once indignant with Donald” in addition to indignant with herself. “It was a horrible factor to do to the youngsters.”

Might she have stopped her husband from enterprise the journey?

Go to for extra information and options

“You understand, I by no means thought he would increase the cash,” she informed The Guardian. “Then he was so full of pleasure. In fact I want I might stated, ‘Do not go.’ However on the time I assumed he was doing the suitable factor — I used to be not being courageous, however being loyal to his dream, as a spouse.”

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