Englishman Donald Crowhurst competed in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe round-the-world yacht race in a flimsy, single-handed plywood boat, Teignmouth Electron, that had no chance of winning. As he floundered he relayed false reports on his excellent progress, making it look like he had a huge lead. In fact, he was way off course and decided to lay low in South America and wait for the other competitors to come back around. Then, after 111 days of radio silence, he reported that he was just behind the race leader.
Unfortunately, one of the other 8 competitors, Nigel Tetley sank trying to "beat" Crowhurst, leaving Crowhurst overcome with guilt. His logbook, later found on the drifting, unmanned boat, contained his confession. It appeared he stepped over the side of his boat and was never seen again. He was 36 at the time.
The story is being made into a film, starring Rachel Weisz and Colin Firth, to be released soon.