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Displaying items by tag: The Mercy

Dublin artist and round–the–world solo sailor Pete Hogan reviews The Mercy, the sailing movie starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz that is to be released in Ireland on Friday.

I was invited to the premier of this movie in the Lighthouse cinema in Dublin.

Many sailors will be familiar with the famous case of Donald Crowhurst, the tragic participant in the original Golden Globe race organised by The Sunday Times in 1968 and which Robin Knox Johnston won and thereby made his name.

Crowhurst, having first faked his progress in the race, is generally accepted to have killed himself by jumping overboard. It is a story which refuses to go away having inspired several books, documentaries, plays, poetry and now a reasonably big budget movie. Almost like the Flying Dutchman, the search for Franklin or the tale of Ulysses it has seeped into the lore of the sea.

The movie, starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz is a well-constructed affair. The nautical detail is good and includes the construction of an accurate replica of the 40’ tri he used in the race. It’s a lot better than many depictions of nautical matters by Hollywood. The movie follows closely the accepted narrative described in the original book by Tomlinson and Hall published in 1970. (The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst). There is little doubt as to the facts of the tragedy. Crowhurst purposely and pointedly left all his writings and charts for others to find - like a lengthy, gruesome suicide note.

The period detail is well done except for the corny London Boat show. It well illustrates the difference between yottin then and now. The hack journalist who promotes Crowhurst almost steals the show. Crowhurst comes across as a model, well adjusted, family man with a beautiful wife and three adorable cute children. Consequently it is less easy to explain how it all went so horribly wrong. Colin Firth makes a good attempt at portraying the mental disintegration of the lone sailor as pressure mounts and failure becomes more apparently inevitable. The boat looks appropriately shambolic and weathers well as the voyage progresses. Firth looks a bit too handsome towards the end rather than the demented tragic figure he must have been. When he hacks at his hair with a nautical knife he looks as if he has just visited Peter Mark.

Calm beautiful wife Rachel Weisz, does most to explain what went wrong. As she slams the door on the baying pack of media reporters, she declares ‘ You are all to blame, every one of you. You pushed him overboard’.

Happily we are spared the actual sight of Crowhurst’s end. Instead we follow into the depths his chronometer which he is believed to have clutched as he jumped off the stern onto the astral plane. This is not really a date movie but it is a brave one in that there was never ever going to be a happy ending.

This is a movie which all sailors will enjoy, especially those who lived through those pioneering heady days of the early OSTAR races and the Sunday Times Golden Globe race of 1968.

Postcript
At the premiere reception I was introduced to Gregor McGuckin who intends to take part in this year’s Golden Globe Race which is being held to commemorate the original one in which Crowhurst took part 50 years ago. Like Donald Crowhurst, Gregor obviously has a dream. But he seems much better grounded, balanced and prepared. I wish him good luck.

Published in News Update

Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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