Just to get your attention, here is an excerpt from an article in the February, 2012 issue of Southwinds Magazine:
Bill was a pickup crewmember on a boat sailing between Ponape and Chuk Lagoon in the Northern Mariana Islands.
"As Scott entered the steering station to take the helm, Bill stepped out from behind the helm, made a left turn onto the deck and rolled over the lifelines on the port side, disappearing into the night.
This was in the middle of the night, and amazingly, they found the guy!
And why, you ask, did this fellow jump ship miles from the sight of land, and almost die? Though you should read the article, here: http://southwindsmagazine.com/pdfs-i...bruary2012.pdf
, and when you get the magazine up, go to Page 88 by pressing Ctrl Shift N 88
the answer is that, unknown to the skipper of the boat, this fellow was an alcoholic who was apparently going through alcohol withdrawal with its associated hallucinations etc.
More information than you care to have? A real "downer" you say? Yup. If I hadn't been reminiscing over the (too many) friends I've lost these past several years to alcoholism when I read this article it might not have hit me so hard.
At the risk of sounding like a self-righteous prig (I hope I'm not), I would like to discuss it a bit further.
Alcohol abuse is a fairly common problem in the world, and seems to be highly visible in the cruising/liveaboard community. What is frightening is that, according to more than one medical source, alcohol withdrawal is perhaps the one addiction that cannot/should not be done "cold turkey" without medical supervision and possible intervention. So imagine a fellow who thinks that the best way to solve his "problem" is to sign on as crew to get away from access to booze for a week or more, and after a couple days he starts hallucinating (some of the hallucinations I've heard related are terrifying - no wonder that some sufferers choose extremely violent and messy ways to stop them).
In the second year of our cruising life we met a fellow who had been out cruising and unintentionally circumnavigating on the way. He regaled us for hours with stories of disastrous crew, boat owners from hell, and cruising gone amiss. In hindsight, some of the crew from hell just might have been other alcoholics drying out too far from land and respite from their terrors. Perhaps also some of those skippers from hell as well, now that I think of it.
>> In one of our provisioning stops we ran afoul of a cruiser on his provisioning foray for ten cases of wine (!) to get him to a better provisioning port just three days away. We later learned that he was known as the skipper from hell as far as crew were concerned. Was there an alcohol connection? <<
Some things to think about.