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His watch showed nearly six when he awoke abruptly. He squeezed his eyes shut, willing himself into oblivion again. It didn't work. Something was happening, had been happening to jolt him awake. His sleep-fuzzed brain, behind closed eyes, sensed a disturbing difference in the motion of the boat. He braced his elbow against the bulkhead and held on to the lee-board as he felt a big roll coming. The giant wave lifted Revelry and passed under her, heeling her far over to starboard. He relaxed his hold slightly as he felt the boat surf forward down the face of the next wave. He waited for her to slow at the trough. She didn't, but continued downward, and he felt the beginnings of apprehension. The downward slide went on, impossibly, even as he felt the boat begin a slow, sickening roll onto her starboard beam. She's going over, he thought, his brain calmly assessing it, even as his muscles and nerves braced for disaster.
He estimated their angle of heel at about fifty degrees. Out in the saloon, he heard someone scream. He couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman. The roar of water rushing past the hull beside him had doubled in amplitude as the boat continued to pick up speed. Fifteen knots, sixteen? The rudder would be out of the water now, human control gone, the boat at the mercy of the sea. And so am I, he thought. I can make some sort of fruitless effort to get up, to get out there to them, but it won't make any difference. We're each of us on our own now, and all we can do is hang on, and pray, and wait.
Revelry plowed into the next rising wave and stopped, her bow buried. Her buoyant forces, the saving grace of a sailboat, were useless,her bow unable to rise. She continued to plow farther into the next wave at the same time as the inexorable force of the wave rolled her farther and farther over.
Nick fell onto the ceiling of his cabin, his bedding, mattress and clothing tumbling on top of him. They were almost upside down now. He struggled to stand. The racket of disaster reached him: screams, thuds, as people and objects fell, slid, flew and smashed. For moments that seemed endless, the boat remained suspended at what he estimated to be a one-hundred-forty-degree angle.