Yeah I always questioned the 3 hour thing. Although there always seems to be an exception to every rule. Personally under those conditions I would have given myself about 10-15 mins. The way I'm built 28* water would have done me in quick. In my mind it would have seemed like 3 hours. His story is a colorful tale and like you said I never read anything where he tried to exploit his ordeal.Certainly there were selfish exaggerations, and no question that sadly, non-anglos were often falsely made into less than courageous examples.
The funny thing is that this fellow, Charles Joughin, never bragged about himself.
He actually turned down an opportunity to get into a life boat.
He said later that it didn't seem right.
It is almost as if he resigned himself to his fate, and simply kept busy by going back and forth to his bunk and having a stiff drink, raiding the larder and handing out the bread, going back for yet another stiff drink, tossing the chairs over board.
Then going back to his bunk again for one last drink, and finally stepping off the fantail as the ship sank at 2:20
Lord, said that his head didn't even get wet.
I suppose that we'll never know for sure what is fact and what is legend or exaggeration.
One thing is certain though. this chap Joughin was indeed a colorful character, and one whom I personally admire for his ability to remain calm and function under extreme pressure. Even with the help of a bit of liquid courage.