THE TEIGNMOUTH ELECTRON
Donald Crowhurst was a talented inventor with severe money troubles, looking for ways to promote his “navicator” marine radio-navigation device. Like many people in dire financial straits, Crowhurst decided the answer lay in entering a one-man yacht race around the world, earning himself both prize money and free advertising.
Setting out in his trimaran the Teignmouth Electron, Crowhurst almost immediately ran into trouble—he had little experience sailing the open ocean, and the Electron’s semi-experimental design was difficult for even veteran yacht racers to handle.
A desperate Crowhurst decided to cheat by loitering in the south Atlantic falsifying logs and navigational records until everyone else had finished, then limp in at last place hoping nobody bothered to check a loser’s records that closely.
Unfortunately for Crowhurst, he hadn’t counted on everyone else in the race having just as much trouble. Out of nine contestants, six had retired and one wrecked as they approached the final leg of the journey, leaving Crowhurst in the position of finishing second or even first overall and subject to a detailed analysis of his logs.
Crowhurst ended radio communications on June the 29th and stopped writing his increasingly bizarre journal entries on July 1. The Teignmouth Electron was discovered adrift and abandoned nine days later.