Finishing second was, at this point, just fine with Crowhurst, who at all costs wanted to avoid the close scrutiny that victory would bring. But then, nearing the coast of Spain, Tetley's vessel broke up. Crowhurst suddenly had no serious opposition, and he began his final emotional collapse. At this point the journal becomes a visit to Inferno ("Cannot see any 'purpose' in game.... It is finished—it is finished"), until he describes the moment he will die: "I choose I will resign the game 11 20 40. There is no reason for harmful." His last words.
Messrs. Tomalin and Hall have not produced a literary masterpiece but an adventure story of remarkable depth—as deep, let us say, as a man's madness.