Donald Crowhurst is an amateur sailor whose ambition eclipses his financial woes. When he comes across the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1968; an event in which sailors must circumnavigate the world in return for sponsorship; he sees it as the perfect opportunity for adventure, recognition and, indeed, the answer to all his financial problems.
His friends and family think he's mad to sign up to be alone on a boat for nine months, plus, while he's very much into sailing, his own boat is certainly not up to world-travel standard. Nevertheless, he enlists the help of his wife to build a new vessel that will withstand the tempestuous oceans and unpredictable weathers, managing to secure an investment from his friend Stanley Best.
Of course, his wife isn't thrilled with the whole idea. When it comes to it, the thought of watching her husband sail out to sea for the best part of a year is a heartbreaking and terrifying prospect. Indeed, he does face such a matter of life and death off the coast of Africa, and begins to realise that his new boat isn't going to get him much further.
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