ACT II: Setting Sail

• Scene [Survivors (Friday 6/11, c. 5.10 a.m.)]

Voices are heard over the darkened, sea-washed screen – “Got him … got him … there” – there is a sense of upheaval and movement upwards as the light begins to break through water, and we see the lifeboat loom up large above us. Angus and Tiny are leaning over the side, with the boat-hook propped between them. Their outstretched hands are hoisting us out of the sea, we feel.

Now we are dangling over the side, as they continue to heave and rest, heave and rest. We can see the crowded deck, the bundled-up sails and provisions, and – directly below us – the face of Bob, with splinted-up back and bandaged hands, now mercifully sunk into fitful sleep.

The proximity seems too extreme, somehow, and we are just beginning to say to ourselves: “No, watch out,” when a last heave topples us up over the side and crashes us down onto the injured man. His animal cry of pain breaks the spell, and the camera-angle shifts to a WIDE-ANGLE of the little group of labouring sailors.

“Ahoy there!”

A hailing voice is heard off to one side, and the sailors all turn to see another boat moving swiftly towards them. There is already a jury-rigged sail on it, and a certain air of briskness and efficiency in its approach.

“Ahoy there! Who’s in charge?”

Now we can see an officer speaking through a loud-hailer.

Angus at once begins to shake the man who has just been hoisted into the boat. “Mr. Britt, sir, Mr. Britt, the Captain wants to speak to you, sir.”

“Very well, Mr …” Britt looks at Angus with a disoriented, forgetful expression.

“Macdonald, sir.”

“Mr Macdonald, tell him I’ll be with him in a minute.”

• Scene [Sailing (Saturday 7/11, c. 7.30 a.m.)]

“With all due respect, sir, wouldn’t it be easier to make for the coast …”

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