Accidents on boats happen. When they occur at sea, things turn bad fast. It’s a dangerous world between the waves. If someone falls overboard, they can go missing and leave no trace. There are no witnesses to recount what actually occurred, and there isn’t even a body. Distance, drift, salt-water and sharks, often make one disappear into the vast nothingness.
Suspicion often surrounds man-overboard situations, but who’s to deny an accident? Who can disprove it if there’s no evidence to investigate? A rolling ocean, water across the gunwales and slippery decks are the right combinations of circumstances that can cause such an outcome to occur. It’s a regular scenario. That’s why 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 many ropes, wires, sails and 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 person can be clouted by it, catapulted clear across the cockpit, and then be sent directly into the sea.
Sometimes, just an encouraging push is enough to do it.
Landlubbers are well aware of the perils-at-sea-stories by reading sailor biographies. They give some insight into the sailing lifestyle, but there’s still a great gap between reading a book, watching yachting from a safe shore, and what is said and done between the white caps. Days of turbulent seas, taking turns at a rigid helm, frayed nerves, and lack of sleep, can cause cabin fever. Tetchy occupants could snap at a moment’s notice. Of course, there’s also a warm version of the story that appears in romance fiction. It’s where golden sunsets, salt-kissed skin, blue waters and island paradises meet. This fairy tale is what lures many people to try sailing. 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 into the kinds of people who gravitate to yachting late in life. Recently detached women weren’t afraid to invite themselves onto my yacht so they could see and experience something new. They were prepared to take a chance with a stranger in a totally different environment. Blending the sailing world with the second-life dating scene makes for an interesting study of interpersonal relationships. Love on a yacht moves quick and is deeply passionate. Unfortunately, some second-lifers haven’t ended their first-life marriages. They’ll keep secrets from everyone, including themselves, to feel good and live in the moment like they did (or should’ve done) when they were teenagers. 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 water police to look for a missing person on a yacht if one was never there.
Tanned bodies, wild sex and chardonnay are only half of the sailing story. The other half is about being surrounded by an abyss and unable to reach land when it’s desperately needed. 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’