Wow. Totally intense DVD watching last night.
Many sailors know the story of the first non-stop around the world boat race, The Golden Globe, which later became the Vendée Globe. The first year's race is a terrific true story that I can't give details about without ruining the crazy plot twists. It is where the mystic legendary status of Moitessier began, or at least was solidified, in the single-handing world and also where the name Crowhurst became infamous.
I originally was exposed to the story in a history of the Vendée Globe titled Godforsaken Sea: The True Story of a Race Through the World's Most Dangerous Waters. I'm not particularly interested in racing but this is a great book about racing for a cruiser to read because it is about racing non-stop across oceans while rounding all of the biggest capes.
For those unfamiliar with the Vendée Globe, it is essentially an out-and-back around-the-buoy race except the buoy is Antarctica. Boats leave France (originally from England) and head South and then East, below Africa and circle Antarctica keeping all of the land masses to port (i.e., to the left). The boats have a single sailor aboard who cannot touch land or receive any assistance (even routing assistance) without disqualifying themselves. They sail through the Southern Ocean, home of the most intense waters on the planet. They aren't called the Roaring Forties (i.e., referring to the latitude south) for nothing. Sick.
Last night, we picked up a copy of Deep Water from the public library, a documentary about the first year of the Vendée Globe. The movie has actual footage from the boats and interviews from friends, family members and survivors of the race. I wish I could tell you more without ruining the surprises but I can't. See it. Yachtie or not, I think you'll enjoy it.