'Disappearance at Sea' is from a series of blackboard drawings completed in one week in 1995. "In many ways, they point to the relationship between the process of drawing and that of film-making. [...] Using old photographs for reference Dean depicts what appear to be scenes from a maritime adventure. [...] Unlike a film still, which reads as a single moment, the cinematic storyboard, like a drawing, is full of potential, leaving interpretation more to the viewer's imagination." (V. Button, 'The Turner Prize', London 1997, p.148).
"'Disappearance at Sea', is one of several works inspired by the tragic story of Donald Crowhurst, the amateur yachtsman who died in 1969 whilst participating in the first ever solo non-stop round-the-world yacht race. Realising he could not complete the race, yet unable to admit his failure, Crowhurst began exaggerating his progress and concealing his real position. His anxiety about this huge deceit began to distort his sense of reality until, losing all sense of time and location, he drifted off course. His trimaran was found abandoned a few hundred miles from the coast of Britain. For Dean, 'Crowhurst's story is 'about human failing; about pitching his sanity against the sea, where there is no human presence or support system left on which to hang a tortured psychological state.'" (ibid., pp.146, 148.)