Aboard the Boadicea
One Day Southwest of Falmouth
centered over a golfball-sized knot on the right side of her forehead. Hot,
sticky blood trickled from a gash on her scalp.
the roar of seawater cascading along the floor of her starboard aft cabin.
She’d fallen into her bunk a few hours before encased in foul weather gear —
and a life jacket.
she used handholds to make her way to the main saloon. The dim glow from the
overhead deck bevels illuminated water pouring through the galley from the
forward cabin. Shit. The custom glass
top over the owner’s cabin had shattered.
roll. Lindsay had been asleep on the floor of her cabin and had probably
smacked her head sometime during the spin.
Tommy, had been on watch at the helm.
ditch bag carabineer, clipped to the galley counter rail. She nearly collided
with her second crewman in a race to the top deck.
bag at him.
“Tommy.” She didn’t wait for an answer but hit the top deck running.
gone. The rigging still stood, but the sails were soaked, twisted and ripped.
The top quarter of the mast had broken off.
monster size waves, and sixty-knot winds whipped the surface water into a
roiling mist. Airborne spray and foam narrowed visibility to nearly zero.
passing west of them. Mother Ocean must have changed her mind.
lashed to the safety rail. Her third crewman Jim worked at the straps to free
the big rubber inflatable, the only thing between them and the frigid North
into the savage waves battering the broken yacht. He’d already attached the
raft’s painter to the ship to keep it from blowing overboard. When the ship
sank, the emergency tether would break free.
call for help and find her first mate before the yacht plummeted to the bottom
of the sea.
on her chest to broadcast their GPS coordinates. Then she pushed transmit and
the Boadicea, Boadicea, Boadicea. We’re a day southwest of Falmouth at
48°37’17”N, 20°12’20”W, and sinking. The ship has rolled with three passengers
aboard. One crew member possibly overboard. We are deploying the lifeboat and EPIRB
the wheel where Tommy should be.
English Channel. If she didn’t get a response soon from the Brits, she hoped
another nearby ship listening to Channel 16 would relay her call for help.
of Tommy was a taut portion of his six-foot safety tether. Lindsay squinted
through the spray peppering her face like needles. The strap wound down the
backside of the wallowing yacht and disappeared into the black waves.
tether, but the weight on the other end wouldn’t budge. She didn’t dare divert
Jim from getting the life raft ready.
body weight but lost her grip when her bare feet slipped on the wave-soaked
deck. No dice.
and then plunged into the cold seawater. The towering waves pounded her
senseless like a mass of ice mallets pelting her back. Breathe. Focus.
below the surface was as black as an oil slick. She clutched her lifeline,
still clipped to the ship’s jack line, with one hand while groping along the
hull beneath the waves searching for Tommy. She swept a 180-degree arc before
realizing his tether was stuck on a piece of the swim ladder twisted during the
yacht’s violent revolution. Dammit.
the ladder to begin a frantic free swim along the keel beneath the hull. The
creaks and whines of the straining ship shrieked in her ears. Not much time left.
to the bottom of the keel. Huge thrashing waves exacerbated the wallowing
motion of the ship, and the black water threatened to suck her into the
than to close her eyes and let the frigid water take her.
give in to the cold, but she was out of options. One more dive was all her body
brushed against her hand. A fish? Not bloody likely this close to the surface
in a storm.
foul weather gear. His life vest must have hooked onto a protruding piece of a
sensor on the keel during the roll.
broke free. Kicking them both to the surface, she hung on to his life vest and
gave silent thanks for her barefoot state. Sea boots would have filled and
pulled her down.
when she came up, gulping breaths. They were out of time.
surrounded by the wake of the sinking ship.
sight she’d ever seen. He’d found them with the battery-operated spotlight. The
EPIRB’s beacon flashed behind him as he thrashed through the waves. He grasped
Tommy by his jacket and pulled him aboard, then extended a hand to Lindsay.
his back and leaned over his chest, listening for breathing. The screaming
winds and rain pelting the raft’s rubber top made hearing next to impossible.
detect a pulse, so instead she looked for a rise in his chest. Nothing. She
started compressions and after only two or three, Tommy jerked to life and
slapped her hands away.
shoved toward him, and in a matter of seconds, puked up seawater. “Son of a–.”
exhaustion. Painful needles of feeling returned to her fingers and toes. She
collapsed onto the inflated rubber floor and stared at the peaked roof.
Sawyer Stone grew up dreaming of far-off cities and far-flung continents
even though those exotic locations seemed way out of reach. But the dreams
of travel and love never left. It wasn’t long before Sawyer walked the alleys
of Istanbul, watched the sunsets from the island of Santorini, trekked the
Himalayas, and dove through shipwrecks in the Andaman Sea. Now, while still
traveling, Sawyer writes all kinds of books under all kinds of names. The world
needs more stories about quirky characters falling in love.
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