Deep Water

Synopsis: A documentary about the disastrous 1968 round-the-world yacht race.
Production: IFC Films
  2 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
92 min

Ron Winspear:
We are all human beings,

and we have dreams.

This voyage is Don's.

For him,

it was the adventure.

There may have been an element

he wanted fame and glory.

He wasn't averse

to taking risks.

But, when you're alone...

just you...

and the ocean...

it's the whole

of your universe.

It's totally indifferent.

It's there

waiting for you.

If you make a slip...

then imagination

is the danger.

It's no longer

about heroes...

and adventures

at sea.

It's about isolation...

and the delicate


of the mind.

Ted Hynds:

It was this new Elizabethan age.

It was the Beatles.

It was sexual freedom...

freedom of the seas.

It caught

the imagination.


Francis Chichester aboard Gipsy Moth IV

is now in sight

of home.

He's merely 15 miles

from Plymouth,

at the end of his epic

round-the-world voyage.

Thousands of people have been

pouring into the city.

They're waiting for their

first glimpse of a man

who set out nine months

and 33,000 miles ago.


There were signs, there was noise.

It was mayhem.

You stood and watched

and let it

wash over you.

Chichester had done a single-handed


and brought his vessel

back home.

Stirring stuff,

boys-only stuff.


Chichester had started the ball rolling.

People were looking for

"What was the new challenge?

What's the next frontier?"

Robin Knox-Johnston:

Chichester stopped halfway.

He pulled into Australia

and did quite-serious refits.

I thought, "That's it.

One thing left to be done...

go around the world,

single-handed, but nonstop."

The general public

got into the spirit of it,

and newspapers

as well.

And of course "The Sunday Times"

came up with the idea

of a nonstop race around

the world.

Donald Kerr:
There could be

no greater challenge.

The first part, down to

the South Atlantic, was fairly kind,

but then your

troubles started.

Once you rounded

the Cape of Good Hope,

you were into

the Roaring 40s,

that endless band of storms

that circled the world.

Then, thousands

of miles later,

you pass south

of Australia,

New Zealand, and across

the rest of the Pacific,

to Cape Horn.

The seas became

narrow there,

and as they

fall together,

they grew wilder.

Then up past

the Falkland Islands,

cross the equator,

back into the North Atlantic,

and you were

on your way home.

Tilda Swinton:

In the spring of 1968,

some of the world's most

experienced sailors

began to gather

in the ports of Britain.

They were stepping forward

as contenders

in the greatest

endurance test of all time.

This wasn't a race in

the normal sense of the word.

You could leave

whenever you liked,

but you had to leave

before October the 31st,

to avoid the really severe

winter weather

at Cape Horn.

The first man to do it

would get the Golden Globe.

The boat that went

round fastest

would get the big prize

of 5,000.

This was something

that a human hadn't yet

attempted to do.

First of all, we didn't know if

a boat could take it.

Secondly, there was considerable doubt

if a human could take it.

Psychiatrists said

that a human would go mad

if they tried

to do it.

We're talking about

10 months of Ioneliness.

But the more people

told me it wasn't possible

and I couldn't do it, the more I was

convinced I could do it.

The one I thought would

prove real competition

was Bernard Moitessier.

He was highly experienced.

The French adventurer,

Bernard Moitessier,

and the British Merchant Marine Captain,

Robin Knox-Johnston,

were among nine men

announced in the final line-up.

Each knew the winners would

earn their place in history.

They were proper seamen,

experienced sailors,

and then...

there was the mystery man:

Don Crowhurst.


What sort of attitude of mind

does a single-handed

sailor have to have?

I think one's psychology

has to be fairly stable...

and one has to be

constantly aware

of the risks

one is running,


Nee... need not necessarily

be much greater.

I just thought, "It's too enormous

to take on something"...

I thought... I didn't

give it some serious thought.

But there is a moment

when an opportunity arises,

and if you don't

grasp it,

that's it.

The first time

I saw him,

we were at a party

at my flat.

I thought what

a wonderfully warm,

vigorous and lively

person he was.

I had a red dress on,

and he immediately said,

"Who's husband

did you arrive with?"

He started

telling my fortune,

and he said, "You're going

to marry an impossible man,

but you're going to

be greatly loved."

That was a ploy,

I'm sure.

He may have used it

with several others.

But it worked.

Don started his own

small electronics firm

making navigational aides.

They were very very slow-selling,

but we were able to eat from it.

It didn't bother us very much

that we couldn't have

a very exotic life.

But really,

we were skint, as it were.

Simon Crowhurst:
Things were difficult

and the business was struggling.

My father was at

a stage of his life where

he needed to take on

a challenge that would show

the skills that he had

and the abilities that he had,

which he had somehow

felt frustrated,

unable to

show in his business.

My father had grown up

with the Kipling stories of adventure

and of heroes

overcoming challenges.

Chichester had achieved

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Zach Helm

Zach Helm (born January 21, 1975 in Santa Clara, California) is an American writer, director, and producer. The son of school teachers, Helm was raised in a town of less than 50 citizens in the Sierra Nevadas of California. He first became known for writing Stranger than Fiction (2006), which garnered much notoriety for Helm, including awards from the National Board of Review and PEN International. He is best known internationally for his acclaimed stage play Good Canary, which has been translated and produced around the world, garnering multiple awards and accolades. He is also known for the film Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007) (which he wrote and directed) and his one-man performance pieces, most notably his revival of Spalding Gray's Interviewing The Audience. Helm has also spent much time developing his own "open input" approach to drama, a collaborative process focused on helping artists mine narrative material from the real world. Using interviews, physical research, devised theater techniques and dramaturgy, the egalitarian approach has been used by Helm to help artists around the world, from primary school children to amateur filmmakers. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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