"Deep Water" is a bizarre story that does not fit our models of the dangerous quest, the hero or triumph or tragedy.
Donald Crowhurst is a nice enough guy - a family man struggling to make his business work. He seems to have bumbled into dealing away his home and his business to build a boat so he can participate in an unprecedented challenge. He seems to have stumbled into a level of hype and hope that make him even less seaworthy than he already was.
Some filmgoers will be attracted to "Deep Water" simply because it is about sailing a boat, solo, around the world, without ever making a land stop. In 1969, this had never been done before. Of the nine men racing separately, this documentary film focuses most on the least likely person to master this unfathomable pursuit.
"Deep Water" maps a vicarious experience of being wholly alone for more than 200 days as it follows Crowhurst and his competition. Imagine the mental strain - the psychological forces amid oceans filled with unforgiving waves. Imagine being wholly alone, trying to accomplish a task as large as Earth.
On the maiden voyage of the specially constructed boat, it took Crowhurst three weeks to travel a three-day distance. This incident, prior to beginning the race, was not the only sign that he should never have set sail at all. Not too many days after he started the race, Crowhurst seemed to have only two options: He could return home to financial ruin and media-trumped humiliation or he could die trying to commandeer much tougher waters.
If you are a curious filmgoer, consider braving the peculiar attraction of this combination of archived material and interviews with Crowhurst's family and others. You will discover that Donald Crowhurst fashioned a third option from the deep water he had gotten himself into.