"I worried the film might be a hagiography of Don McIntyre"... our resident YouTube aficionado reviews The Voyage of Madmen

I write this with my head full of images from the arrival in Les Sables d’Olonne of Michael Guggenberger (Austria), the third and final finisher of the 2022 Golden Globe Race, after runner-up Abilash Tomy (India) winner Kirsten Neuschäfer (South Africa), and Simon Curwen (UK) who was disqualified from the race by virtue of his pitstop in Chile for repairs, yet arrived ahead of the others despite his 2,000 mile diversion.

It was lovely to see all four on stage to celebrate Captain Gugg’s achievement, with the competitors’ mutual respect and affection very much in evidence.

Finale of the Golden Globe Race

This was the second edition of the controversial revived retro-style solo non-stop race around the world, first organised by Don McIntyre in 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sunday Times’ Golden Globe Race, won by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

As the Summer issue of PBO hits the newsstands, the 2022 starters will gather for the prize-giving, to swap stories, sign autographs and perhaps watch The Voyage of Madmen, the official documentary about the 2018 edition.

A preview was shown to a select audience of competitors, press and VIPs just before the departure last September, and the film is now available to buy or rent online.

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McIntyre warns me the final version will be shorter, at 90 minutes, which is a shame, as even 112 minutes seems too short to do justice to the history and background of the race and the stories of all 18 competitors.

I worried the film might be a hagiography of McIntyre, but director/writer Jesse Martin (yes, the Australian who in 1999 completed a non-stop solo circumnavigation aged 18) does a great job of portraying Don the spruiker, who despite the odds, and opposition from the French Sailing Federation, gives the public a great show, even if it bears only passing resemblance to what many would consider a yacht race.

Martin has a sympathetic eye for the sailors’ challenges and frustrations, both at sea and on land.

Screen shot from A Voyage of Madmen film

Screen shot from A Voyage of Madmen film

The Voyage of Madmen left me wishing I could watch a full length documentary by him about each competitor.

I look forward to the films that will be produced for the edition just finished. If they’re as well done as this one, we’re in for some treats…