Accidents happen. When they occur at sea, things turn bad fast. It’s a dangerous world on the waves. If someone falls overboard, they can go missing without a trace. There are few witnesses to recount what actually happened, and there isn’t even a body to inspect for evidence. Distance, drift, salt-water and sharks, often makes one disappear.
Suspicion often surround man-overboard situations, but who’s to deny an accident? Who can disprove it is there’s no evidence to the contrary? A rolling ocean, water across the gunwales and slippery decks, are the right combination of circumstances that can cause such an outcome to occur. It’s a regular situation on a boat. Accidents aren’t unusual. Each month, somewhere in the world, a person disappears from a vessel and their body is never found. It’s true.
Sailing a small yacht comes with special challenges.
A yacht has ropes, wires, sails and many moving parts. If the weather turns foul, it affects the boat in substantial ways. A wave can easily crawl over its deck, tip the boat, wet every surface and cause a boom to swing violently from one side of the yacht to the other. An unaware crew member can be clouted by it, catapulted clear across the cockpit, and then be sent directly into the sea.
Sometimes an encouraging push will do it.
Landlubbers are aware of the perils-at-sea by reading sailor biographies. It gives them some insight, but there’s still a great gap between reading, watching from a shore and what happens between the white-caps.
There is also the nice one that appears in romance fiction. It’s a cute, fuzzy version of yachting. Golden sunsets, salt-kissed skin, blue waters and island paradises — is the dreamy alternative. This fairy tale has helped to attract a certain type of person to try out sailing later in life. It’s the kind of character I like to write into my dark fiction.
Single life in my late 30’s gave me a unique insight to the kinds of people who gravitate to yachting later in life. Recently detached women, many moving towards their second lives, weren’t afraid to invite themselves onto a sailor’s yacht, so they could see and experience something new.
Blending the sailing world with the second-life dating scene makes for an interesting study of interpersonal relationships. Quite often, an unhappy past life provides significant motivation to make the most of a brand new one. Love on a yacht moves quick and is deeply passionate. Unfortunately, some second-lifers haven’t ended their first-life marriages before stepping out on their spouses. They’ll keep secrets from everyone, including themselves, to feel good about themselves again. This secretive female is my protagonist’s perfect victim.
There’s no escaping a long sea voyage if the yacht’s skipper turns out to be a serial killer. And there’s no need for police to look for a missing person on the water if there isn’t a history of one being aboard a yacht.
Tanned bodies, sex and chardonnay is but half of the sailing story. The other half is about being surrounded by an abyss and unable to reach land when you desperately need it. This is the muse I used when writing the sequel to SEETHINGS, SEETHINGS 2.
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A Sailing Affair
Two Random Victims
‘Forman’s writing style is artful, with the protagonist Mitchell’s warped thought processes masterfully exposed. The author has a powerful and vivid command of language and his word pictures are stark and disturbingly real.’Linda J Bettenay, author of ‘Secrets Mothers Keep’ and ‘Wishes For Starlight’