A Voyage for Madmen
June 12, 2008 1:13 PM   Subscribe

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the ill fated Sunday Times Golden Globe round the world solo sailing race. Of the 9 starters, only 1 finished. The race featured courage, madness, and a cast of characters out of a book. The mad Donald Crowhurst, the enigmatic Bernard Moitessier, and the eventual winner Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
posted by Xurando (17 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Poor old doomed Crowhurst.

Seems like every few years someone announces some grand scheme to restore the Teignmouth Electron. But it only ever sits rotting on the beach.
posted by enn at 1:17 PM on June 12, 2008

There's a great opera based on Crowhurst's story--Ravenshead, by Steve Mackey.
posted by Prospero at 1:23 PM on June 12, 2008

The current solo 'round the world record holder is Francis Joyon, doing it in only FIFTY SEVEN DAYS. http://www.trimaran-idec.com

The IDEC trimaran he used to set the record is a marvel (relative to other maxi tri's) of low-budget simplicity.

Stay tuned for the next America's Cup, which will be raced in massive trimarans, early next year.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 1:35 PM on June 12, 2008

A Voyage for Madmen and The Long Way (both linked in the post) are really enjoyable accounts of this race. Great books? No. But thoroughly entertaining even to someone (me) who doesn't know a sheet from a line.
posted by dersins at 1:49 PM on June 12, 2008

Coincidentally, I just Netflixed "Deep Water" - the astounding documentary about Crowhurst's fraud.
Completely riveting - (for this landlubber), and desperately sad.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:55 PM on June 12, 2008

Coincidentally, I just Netflixed "Deep Water" - the astounding documentary about Crowhurst's fraud. Completely riveting - (for this landlubber), and desperately sad.

I, too, just watched it (last week) and found it engaging. The film's website.
posted by ericb at 2:03 PM on June 12, 2008

a sheet is a line with a specific use
posted by captaincrouton at 2:13 PM on June 12, 2008

The Crowhurst story is amazing and sad. Wow. I think I'm throwing that on the queue as well, yeah.
posted by cortex at 3:52 PM on June 12, 2008

i find crowhurst strangely evocative. i think that whole conflict between what you've done and what people think you've done somehow resonates for me. heartbreakingly sad, and so inexorably doomed.

moitessier's solution seems so wonderfully contrary. "i could win. oh, screw this, i'm going to tahiti."

i've read "a voyage for madmen" and really enjoyed it.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:01 PM on June 12, 2008

Deep Water is a great flick. I had never heard about this previously and stumbled across it on netflix. I enjoyed the movie, albeit in one of those trainwreck-but-can't-look-away kind of moods. Sad.
posted by Big_B at 4:19 PM on June 12, 2008

BTW -- "Deep Water" is by the same producer as "Touching the Void," another engaging documentary I highly recommend.*
posted by ericb at 4:56 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Excellent story! Thanks!
posted by not_on_display at 6:30 PM on June 12, 2008

Anyone who’s gotten this far in this post is well advised to check out “Far Tortuga” by Peter Matthiessen.
posted by Huplescat at 9:15 PM on June 12, 2008

Tacita Dean's short film Disappearance at Sea I made a big impression on me and, by the looks of it, on Jeanette Winterson.
posted by lukemeister at 9:34 PM on June 12, 2008

I crewed on and off for a few years on an (extremely) amateur racing yacht competing in the round the island race (Isle of Wight, UK). Knox - Johnson entered a few years ago, in 'Suhaili' - the boat he used to circumnavigate. We ended up sailing next to each other's boats in calm winds and had a great conversation. It was incredible to meet the man.

Our skipper was in thrall to him as well, and when Suhaili changed course, we followed, on the basis that Knox - Johnson had had some clever idea to find better wind and move up a few places in the race. Turns out he'd got bored and was heading to Spain instead. We didn't do well that year.

Knox-Johnson's book of the voyage, 'A world of my own' is one of the best books I've ever read.

The skipper of the yacht I crewed on has never returned my copy, the bastard.
posted by dowcrag at 2:21 AM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

Just to clarify, 'A world of my own' is about the round the world race, not his jolly to Spain with some idiots following him in their boat....
posted by dowcrag at 2:24 AM on June 13, 2008

Missing the Moon. And from Crowhurst's log "It is finished. It is finished. IT IS THE MERCY," Tacita Dean tracked down and wrote about the Teignmouth Electron.
posted by adamvasco at 4:27 AM on June 13, 2008

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