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All at Sea

Husband, father, sailor (IFC Films)

In October of 1968, a 36-year-old marine electronics salesman named Donald Crowhurst impulsively and ill-preparedly threw his sailor’s cap into a Sunday Times–sponsored contest to become the first man to solo circumnavigate the globe without stopping. One month later, the unlikely underdog was one of only four boats left in the race; what’s more, he was making astonishing gains on his competitors (including legendary seamen Bernard Moitessier and Robin Knox-Johnston). Only he really wasn’t, for by then Crowhurst had already begun to drift — nautically and psychologically speaking — far off course. Comprising new interviews with Crowhurst’s family and remarkable, recently rediscovered onboard film and audio recordings made by Crowhurst himself, co-directors Louise Ormond and Jerry Rothwell’s Deep Water reconstructs that ill-fated voyage with exceptional clarity and lack of sensationalism, fashioning from Crowhurst’s enduring mystery a drama of Kiplingesque adventure consumed by painful isolation and even madness. What really happened out there on the trimaran christened Teignmouth Electron, as it drifted toward South America and Crowhurst began falsifying logbooks and transmitting unintelligible telegraph messages? It is the point — and the power — of Deep Water that the vast, unknowable fathoms of the sea are rivaled only by those of the human psyche. (Nuart)

—Scott Foundas