Cheating Can Be More Difficult Than Just Competing

Gellinger / Pixabay

In the 1968 Golden Globe round-the-world yacht race, 36-year-old Donald Crowhurst had a plan: he’d sail a small, plywood trimaran. He had no experience, and his boat was frighteningly flimsy, but he convinced all who listened that he was deadly serious.

The Mercy is a 2017 British biographical drama film, directed by James Marsh and written by Scott Z. Burns. It is based on the true story of the disastrous attempt by the amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst to complete the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1968 and his subsequent attempts to cover up his failure.

Shortly into the race, though, he realized his predicament and determined that his only options were to quit the race or probably die sailing. So, he decided to keep his boat in the South Atlantic Ocean while the other boats raced around the world, and then he’d catch up at the end. He fabricated his reports and his logbooks so it looked like he was winning the race. Eventually, the pressure got to him, as he constructed fake log entries that were “often more difficult to complete than real entries due to the celestial navigation research required.” His ship was later found abandoned – it’s believed he jumped out and drowned.

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