Book reveals fascinating angle to Golden Globe race

The Sunday Times considered witholding the shocking news that Donald Crowhurst – the yachtsman who never returned from the paper’s Golden Globe race – made up his circumnavigation with false plots in a set of spare logbooks.

After his trimaran, Teignmouth Electron, was found abandoned in the Atlantic in July 1969, it is thought he committed suicide following the realisation that his boat was cracking up and unlikely to survive the rigours of the Southern Ocean.

The Sunday Times who had organised the non-stop, round-the-world, solo race in 1968, with a £5,000 prize (worth £60,000 in today’s money) for the fastest boat round suddenly found themselves with a story they had not reckoned on when their chief reporters Ron Hall and Nick Tomalin turned up with the rogue logbooks.

Navigation expert Craig Rich, used by the paper to estimate the competitors’ locations throughout the race, was summoned to the then editor Harold Evans’ office. When he told Evans he knew Crowhurst had not gone round the world: ‘Harold Evans said a strange thing. He looked at me and said, very slowly, if we didn’t disclose this, did I think people would find out? I said, “Christ, you want me to say absolutely nothing about this for the rest of my life?” He said that was what it would amount to.
‘I think he either wanted to protect the family or he thought it might reflect very badly on the Sunday Times, encouraging the guy to go to sea for the money.’

The story was held for 10 days while Evans pondered then he held a press conference and later the full story came out in the book written by the two Sunday Times reporters.

The latest revelations on the story which still holds people in thrall, come from BBC reporter Chris Eakin’s new book A Race Too Far, published by Ebury Press at £16.99. Pic courtesy of Pathe Films who made Deep Water, the documentary about the ill-fated voyage.

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