Screened as part of NZIFF 2007

Deep Water 2006

Directed by Jerry Rothwell, Louise Osmond

Jaw-dropping story of Donald Crowhurst, the "Sunday sailor" who set off in 1968, in an unfinished vessel, on a race to circumnavigate the globe.

UK In English
92 minutes Colour and B&W


Nina Kellgren


Justine Wright
Ben Lester


Molly Nyman
Harry Escott


Tilda Swinton


With all the thrills of a Boys’ Own adventure story, Deep Water tells the jaw-dropping story of Donald Crowhurst, a ‘Sunday sailor’ who, in 1968, set off on a race with eight experienced yachtsmen to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe – an unbelievable test of physical and mental endurance. Crowhurst might not have had much of a nautical background, but he certainly had pluck. With limited funds from a local sponsor, he prepared his trimaran as best he could until his departure deadline, sailing off (still wearing his tie) with vital parts of his vessel unfinished. His anxiety set in as it became increasingly apparent that the craft might not last the journey. Drawing from a remarkable arsenal of new interviews with his wife and son, archival news footage, audio log tapes and gorgeous 16mm footage taken by the lone sailor, Deep Water is a superbly constructed account of what it is to have a dream, and the unforeseen consequences that can follow.

“This well-made, thoroughly absorbing documentary is distinguished by the sympathetic picture that emerges of Crowhurst – less con man or fantasist, it seems, than family man and idealist caught in his own trap. It is a terrific sailing yarn, full of pathos and the odd dose of comedy (the French competitor, Bernard Moitessier, is described by his widow as ‘a poet and philosopher’: just how French can you get?); but it’s also an eye-opening period piece, showing how staggeringly remote the enormous world of 1968 is from the tiny GPS-encircled world of today.” — Robert Hanks, The Independent