The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst (The sailor's classics)

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9780071376129: The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst (The sailor's classics)

In the autumn of 1968, Donald Crowhurst set sail from England to participate in the first single-handed nonstop around-the-world sailboat race. Eight months later, his boat was found in the mid-Atlantic, intact but with no one on board. In this gripping reconstruction, journalists Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall tell the story of Crowhurst's ill-fated voyage, up to his apparent decision to take his own life rather than be discovered as the would-be perpetrator of one of the biggest hoaxes in sailing history.

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Review:

"The sea drama of the century."-Sir Francis Chichester "A masterpiece."-The New Yorker "Fascinating, uncomfortable reading."-Hammond Innes "Wholly riveting, superbly professional, brilliantly researched, and presented with the sort of critical compassion that is the mark of really fine journalism. It was quite a new sort of book to me, and it cost me an entire night's sleep."-James Cameron "The extraordinary story...Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall...tell brilliantly, with commendable consideration and compassion for all concerned; especially for Crowhurst and his wife Clare, For me their narrative goes with the essential documents of our time."-Malcolm Muggeridge "One of the most extraordinary stories about the sea ever to be published."-The Washington Post

From the Back Cover:

"A masterpiece."--The New Yorker

In the autumn of 1968, Donald Crowhurst set out from England in an improbable-looking plywood trimaran to compete in the first singlehanded nonstop round-the-world sailboat race. Although his previous sailing experience was limited, his boat unready, and the electronic gadgetry of his own design unfinished and untested, Crowhurst had managed to persuade first an affluent backer, then the contest judges, and, finally, England's media to regard him as a serious contender. Sailing south through the Atlantic, he radioed reports of record-breaking sailing performances. In the South Atlantic he announced that low battery power would require him to maintain radio silence through the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Eleven weeks later he broke his silence to tell the world he had rounded Cape Horn and was sailing north for England, the elapsed-time leader of the race. Then tragedy struck. Eight months after his departure, Crowhurst's Teignmouth Electron was discovered adrift in an eerie mid-Atlantic calm, intact but without her skipper.

In this tour de force of investigative journalism, Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall tell the story of Donald Crowhurst's ill-fated voyage. Working from Crowhurst's recovered logs and diaries, the authors reconstruct the events leading up to his disappearance: his first few weeks at sea and his growing distrust of his boat; his attempts to come to grips with imminent failure; his decision to hide out midocean in the South Atlantic, away from the shipping lanes, faking a round-the-world journey; and his final, desperate escape from discovery as the would-be perpetrator of one of the biggest hoaxes in sailing history.

From in-depth interviews with Crowhurst's family and friends and telling excerpts from his logbooks, Tomalin and Hall develop a tale of tragic self-delusion and public deception, a haunting portrait of a complex, deeply troubled man and his journey into the heart of darkness.

With its first publication in 1970, The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst became an instant classic. Sir Francis Chichester, whose record-setting 1967 circumnavigation inspired the 1968 - 69 round-the-world race, called it "the sea drama of the century." Robin Knox-Johnston, the winner of the race, has called it "one of the great classic sea stories." You won't be able to put it down, and you won't be able to forget it.

A Daring Hoax and the Man It Destroyed

July 1969. After a voyage of 240 days, Donald Crowhurst was less than two weeks from a triumphant return to England, the apparent victor in the first nonstop singlehanded around-the-world sailboat race. All England was preparing for his arrival. But then he disappeared. His boat was found, sailing sedately, undisturbed--but he was not on it. From the logbooks he left behind, Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall reconstructed this extraordinary, deeply unsettling tale. . . .

"A virtuoso demonstration of the soul's anatomy."--New York Times Book Review

"One of the most moving and disturbing books I have ever read. I don't think I shall ever forget it."--Washington Post

"An analysis of a true anti-hero and a record of human aspiration and human failing rare in the annals of maritime lore."--San Francisco Chronicle

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