Deep Water (3 stars)

(PG) 93min


This cogent and authoritative documentary feature recounts the sad, regrettably true story of a British eccentric and loser. In 1968, amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst decided that he would take part in The Sunday Times’ first Golden Globe Race, a sailing competition designed to encourage the first non stop round the world single handed voyage. Pitted against eight other experienced sailors, Crowhurst, a marine electronics specialist who put his family’s financial welfare on the line to enter the race, was the dark horse contender. The British public, ever a sucker for a plucky eccentric, took him to their hearts. But when Crowhurst and the other competitors went over the horizon and into oblivion (satellite technology was very basic in 1968), a story of madness, mendacity, fear and true grit unfolded.

Directors Louise Osmond and Jerry Routhwell clearly had fantastic access to Crowhurst and the other sailor’s surviving families and records for this film. Using original 16mm footage shot during the contest, interviews and stylised recreations, this conventional but gripping documentary is a perplexing slab of true horror from an age when Sir Francis Chichester ruled the waves.

Selected release from Fri 15 Dec.

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