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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Last of the breed

Last night we watched "Deep Water", the documentary about Donald Crowhurst, the chap who in 1968 joined the Sunday Times round the world yacht race wearing a collar and tie. It's a story about male pride, I guess. The extras tell the stories of his fellow competitors: Chay Blyth, who set off despite having never been in a yacht before, Bernard Moitessier, who was a long way in front when he decided not to go to the finish line but instead to go round the world again, Robin Knox Johnston, who won the £5,000 prize and gave it to Crowhurst's widow and, most amazing, Commander Bill King, a 58 year old former submarine captain who built his own craft, read The Bible, the Koran and Tolstoy on his way round but had to give up and put into Cape Town. Forty years later here he is, all his own hair, smart as a whip, telling his story and apologising whenever the odd detail slips his mind. At the age of ninety-eight.