By Way of the Wind

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Jim and Molly Moore, newly married, both thirty-six years old and looking for adventure, decided to build a boat and sail around the world, though neither knew anything about boat-building or sailing. They spent the next four years accumulating a library of “how-to” books, constructing the boat, and learning to sail. The SWAN (and the Moores) made a maiden voyage on July 4, 1976, and encountered the first of many emergencies. By September, 1977, both the Moores and the SWAN were ready, and they set out from Portland, Oregon, en route to San Francisco and the South Pacific.

Each leg of the journey offers new problems for the Moores to overcome, increasing their knowledge and their confidence, both vitally necessary for success. The wind-operated self-steering vane refused to work properly, requiring not only constant steering by one of the Moores (usually Molly) but also many hours of trial-and-error adjustment on Jim’s part. They weathered their first storm, narrowly escaping collision with a runaway barge.

By the time they reached Hawaii, Jim and Molly had become fairly adept and comfortable with SWAN, so that pleasure in the beauty and bounty of life at sea and anticipation of strange people and places far outweighed the fears and dangers. The remainder of the journey, with stops at Samoa, Fiji, Australia, Africa, South America, Trinidad, and the Cayman Islands, offered an intoxicating mixture of smooth sailing and narrow escapes, of friendly natives and pursuing pirates, so much so that the Moores decided not to sell the SWAN, instead planning another trip.