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The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  621 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
The Sailor's Classics library introduces a new generation of readers to the best books ever written about small boats under sail

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 gr
...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published May 21st 2003 by International Marine Publishing (first published January 28th 1970)
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Community Reviews

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Barbara Roden
Feb 14, 2009 Barbara Roden rated it it was amazing
The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst is an extraordinary, moving, and harrowing book, haunting in every sense of the word, and a terrifying look at one man's descent into madness. Tomalin and Hall have done a brilliant job in recreating not only Crowhurst's voyage, but what led him to the position he found himself in: alone in a tiny boat in the middle of the Atlantic, facing two equally bleak choices: return home, admit defeat, and lose everything, or continue with his desperate voyage a ...more
Rebecca Skane

This could very well be the most boring book I've ever read. What a slog. Full review: The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst Book Review
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
As the author of this book is a newspaper writer, I was a bit surprised at how difficult I found it to concentrate on it. British journalists are known for their vivid, not to say lurid, style (unless you're delving into the Financial Times or similar) and yet I found myself skim-reading large passages. Another reviewer discribes the text as "turgid", and I'll go along with that! The first section, describing Crowhurst's "Mr Toad" type personality as a child laid the groundwork for the coming di ...more
Matthias
Aug 09, 2014 Matthias rated it it was amazing
Donald Crowhurst war ein britischer Amateursegler, der im Jahr 1968 am Sunday Times Golden Globe Race teilnahm, einem Wettrennen, wer zuerst allein die Welt umsegelte. Sein Boot war ziemlicher Schrott und so blieb er stets hinter seinen im Voraus euphorisch berechneten Erwartungen zurück. Nach zwei Wochen lag er erst bei Portugal, während andere sich schon dem Kap Horn näherten. Aufzugeben war für Crowhurst, dessen finanzielle und gesellschaftliche Existenz an diesem Rennen hing, nicht möglich.

D
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Mrs B
Nov 22, 2013 Mrs B rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough good things about this book, which I've read three times and which is a desert-island treasure for me, along with only a handful of others. It is massively moving -- the poetry written by Crowhurst, found in his trimaran's logbook, is not only affecting (which is more important in poetry (like singing) than any kind of technical perfection), but is also especially important in revealing yet another facet of this riveting and beautifully told real-life drama. Crowhurst's moral ...more
Scott Foshee
Feb 26, 2013 Scott Foshee rated it it was amazing
Insanity in Lonely Places - The Dark Side of a Sailor's Mind

The Teignmouth Electron now lies abandoned, rotting on the beach near the Kidco Dock on the southwest shore of Cayman Brac. It was found ghosting alone in the North Atlantic near the end of the 1968 Golden Globe nonstop singlehanded sailboat race around the world. Its sole inhabitant for 243 days, captain Donald Crowhurst, was never found.

In the era before GPS and global satellite tracking, sailors' logbooks were relied upon for verific
...more
Tom Schulte
Sep 19, 2016 Tom Schulte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an excellent unravelling of an ocean mystery. A yachtsmen in a global race decides to hoax his success and the very success of that could contribute to the death of the rightful winner and catapulte the hoaxer to an uncomfortable first where his log books would be examined too closely. This all in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, the first round the world yacht race. Crowhurst's own log books reveal his trickery and philosophies and rantings that apparently led to his suicide after ...more
Cindy
Jun 10, 2013 Cindy rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting non-fiction accounting of Donald Crowhurst's attempt to win the prize for sailing around the world solo in 1967. When he realized his boat was so poorly constructed and outfitted and he would never make it, he decided to fake it and sailed around the southern Atlantic for several months before heading back to England to claim his prize. I won't give away the ending in case you don't know what happens. This is a very good psychological study as well as interesting accou ...more
Bob Lamothe
Mar 07, 2017 Bob Lamothe rated it really liked it
When I started this book I didn't realized it was a biography, based on the title I thought it was fiction. As the book progressed I began to become annoyed by the style of writing, I kept thinking, this is written like a biography. It wasn't until I googled Crowhurst that I found out it was indeed a biography (Had I read this rather than used an audio book I'm sure the cover would have explained this). After I realized it was a biography I was able to enjoy it much more.
Bob Peru
Mar 06, 2017 Bob Peru rated it really liked it
i enjoy extreme sailing accounts. this is a classic of the genre.
Stuart
Jul 25, 2012 Stuart rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up at Goodwill in town. I am a huge fan of circumnavigations in small sailing vessels. This is one book in a series called "Sailor's Classics."

As I paged through the book that night, I became fascinated with it. Then, I read it cover to cover over the next week. The authors did a superb job of relating the facts, history, and drama of this important segment of small boat sailing.

The account records Donald Crowhurst's attempt to circumnavigate in a sailing boat he designed. The
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Lori
Sep 04, 2008 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: biog-memoir, 2009
This is the story of Donald Crowhurst's attempt to win a nonstop boat race around the world, despite his amateur sailing skills and his poorly constructed boat. It is the story of how he faked his voyage, convinced the world of his lie, and how he almost won the race... had it not been for the fact that he committed suicide in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

There were several typos and some choppy writing in this book, but the story of Donald Crowhurst was just so interesting that *how* it was
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Donald White
Apr 26, 2015 Donald White rated it it was amazing
What's it like to try to deceive the entire globe, day after day, as the world watches, meticulously scrutinizing your every word and action for months on end, with nothing less than global honor and fame at stake? What is it to feel your mind unraveling, your sanity fraying, in complete isolation in the midst of the unforgiving Atlantic, with not one living soul in sight? This is one the most haunting books I've ever read. 30 years later I still puzzle at its meaning, but there are lessons to b ...more
Tony
Aug 10, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Outerbridge Reach by Robert Stone is one of my favorite novels, so I was intrigued to learn that Stone was inspired by the true tale of Donald Crowhurst. I never knew about Crowhurst and his attempt in a 1969 race to singly circumnavigate the globe without stop. His boat and, indeed, his history and psychology (pathology) were all ill-equipped. Knowing he would never make it, he stayed in the Atlantic and fabricated a global effort. Then, aware that he would certainly be exposed, he disappeared, ...more
Trebor
Aug 03, 2016 Trebor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Doomed from the start Donald Crowhurst's attempt at solo circumnavigation caught him between a rock and a very, life threatening, ego smashing, credibility canceling hard place. He took the bait and went for the softer easier way, until it came time for the final showdown. He ran from himself, the truth, and his honor and paid dearly for it. The price was his sanity, his family and ultimately his life. What a story, what a lesson and what a tragedy. The end of this book took the reader into a gl ...more
Christine
Jan 08, 2013 Christine rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I worked on a one-man opera years ago based on this story--the opera was awesome, BTW. But I've never read this book. I was reminded of it after reading _The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim_, which was a book I also enjoyed. What a feat of investigation the authors undertook, and they really hit it out of the park with the writing. Page-turner.

I was really struck by their compassion for Crowhurst. They say it themselves, but it's true--this stoery could very easily been "Man o
...more
Bradley
Dec 17, 2012 Bradley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: exploration, plus4, water
An astonishing account of Donald Crowhurst wing and prayer attempt to cross the worlds oceans non-stop in the first race of its kind.

Almost impossible now to put comprehend the communication blackout such an endeavour created back then which allowed Donald to fabricate his progress.

A fabrication which was probably his ultimate undoing.

It is a story of a deluded amateur adventurer striving to overcome enormous odds amid a mental collapse.

You cannot help but become involved in the story. It felt l
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Thomas Gizbert
Jun 23, 2015 Thomas Gizbert rated it liked it
Shelves: epub-on-kobo
Just ripped through this one in less than a day. It's riveting stuff, if you can get past the sometimes odd prose of the writers. Each section has something to recommend it, but the portrayal of Crowhurst's descent into madness is truly something. Reading it, I had to keep reminding myself that it was a true story, as it echoes so much what going mad 'should' look like, as portrayed in Victorian gothic novels or trashy tv.

In the end though, it wasn't quite the sum of its parts. If it had had on
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Jwalth
Oct 11, 2013 Jwalth rated it it was amazing
Strange and so inevitably sad. It's hard to decide whether Crowhurst was at least a little mad from the beginning or descended into madness once his situation became clear to him. Broadly sympathetic; you feel like you get to know the man as well as one could, and his backers don't exactly come out of it covered in glory. In the end one feels for his family; the recollection of one of his sons about dreaming he saw his father in his room, while in reality his father was thousands of miles away l ...more
Hera
Feb 23, 2015 Hera rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazing
Το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο αναφέρεται στο ταξίδι επιχείρησε να πραγματοποιήσει ο Ντόναλντ Κράουχερστ για να κάνει το γύρο της γης το 1968. Κυρίως αναφέρεται στο εσωτερικό του δαιδαλώδες ταξίδι, την ισχνή ισορροπία που υφίσταται στο μυαλό ενός ανθρώπου όταν για μήνες βρίσκεται αντιμέτωπος με τα στοιχεία της φύσης, τη βαθιά μοναξιά και την ίδια του την απάτη κατρακυλώντας στην παράνοια.
Δεν θα έλεγα ότι έχει την αξία ενός άρτιου λογοτεχνικού έργου, αλλά η πλοκή σε αιχμαλωτίζει, ιδιαίτερα όταν αντιλαμβά
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Chris
Jul 06, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brendan
May 15, 2013 Brendan rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable book about a harrowing and tragic attempt to circumnavigate the globe single handedly in a small trimaran. The story of the race is great, the navigational details and the issues of sailing at different latitudes are interesting, and the story of Donald crowhursts fraud and descent into madness is captivating. Crowhurst is clearly a villain in the story, but he is a very sympathetic figure at the end of the story.
Kamon
Oct 23, 2008 Kamon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What becomes of a man when being pushed to his limits; physically, mentally, emotionally and ethically. For a injuriously proud intellect, the struggle between facing national disgrace and reuniting with family or abandoning them and leading the world on to believe his careful and elaborately constructed lie is too great for his mind to resolve.

England's inaugural race around the world on a sailboat and Donald Crowhust's idea of how he would beat them all. Cosmic beings and Einstein.
Pike
Jul 18, 2016 Pike rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite
Even after seeing the documentary 'Deep Water' that also tells the story of the doomed Donald Crowhurst, this is a breathtaking read. I can hardly think of another tale that's so illustrative of mankind's follies. The writers generally did an excellent job of walking the tightrope of critical distance and empathy, even though they do slip up every now and then, in my opinion.
Words like 'unforgettable' and 'haunting' seem woefully inadequate to describe this book. They'll have to do.
David Manning
Jun 10, 2010 David Manning rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
True story of a guy who gets into something way over his head, then mysteriously vanishes at sea leaving others to try to piece together clues about what happened to him. I could write a lot about this book, maybe I will later. One of the most enthralling stories I've ever read. Really interesting as a psychological study.
Celia Barry
Sep 15, 2011 Celia Barry rated it really liked it
Donald Crowhurst must have been a very interesting character. He entered an around the world sailing competition in 1968 despite being insufficiently prepared or experienced. He ultimately made some very weird choices and documented them in his log books. His boat was found intact but no Donald Crowhurst.
Becky Safarik
Nov 20, 2012 Becky Safarik rated it really liked it
It took me awhile to get hooked into the story, but once hooked, there was no going back. This is a sociological story rather than a sailing story. it shows the outcome of the momentum of a decision, the power of what others think about you, and what happens to the psyche in extreme aloneness when faced with a moral conundrum. I found the last 3 chapters the most fascinating of all.
Robert Newell
Apr 01, 2014 Robert Newell rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book detailing the extraordinary true story of Donald Crowhurst's attempt at the Golden Globe race. The book is fascinating, from the ill prepared building and preparations all the way through to the whole deceit of Crowhurst's false journey after he realised the boat was not capable of the south seas and how this deceit eventually destroyed him. Well worth a read.
Graziella
Sep 30, 2011 Graziella rated it really liked it
Shelves: yikes
Oh boy what a train wreck of a human and human-event. This poor self-decieving, fantasy-driven schmoe, spiraling out of control all by himself in the middle of the ocean in the middle of a race. Fascinating detective work to piece together what happened "out there".
Les
Jul 03, 2012 Les rated it it was amazing
This book has been a favorite of mine since I read it in the early 1970's. I have read it probably 10 times, and each time it is a huge impact. The story of a man who believes that he can do what he cannot possibly do, and the results of this impasse in life.
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