Motivation for this book was the sudden, storm provoked, sinking in the northern Gulf of California of the dive-charter boat, Santa Barbara, on New Years Day, 1991, under circumstances identical to those described herein. Only two persons survived: the Mexican helmsman, and a portly diver, Opha Watson, whose wet suit bobbed up beside him. An orthopedic surgeon, his wife, and his surgical nurse, all thinly clad, clung to a door with Watson, but slipped away at chronicled intervals. The helmsman swam to intercept the trans-Gulf ferry, and a patrol boat, sent to search for survivors, found only Watson.
At that time, I was researching cold water survival victims for the second edition of my book: Oceanography and Seamanship, Cornell Maritime Press (1993). I interviewed all available survivors and relatives of the victims, and incorporated their physical data into a new survival theory, published separately.
In Capsize, I allowed persons similar to the above to survive a similar sinking, and added a vagrant surfer, whose psychopathic nature leads to the chaotic adventures described herein. No specific reference to any person, living or dead, is implied by any character in this book.