An Annapolis graduate and Vietnam veteran, Owen Browne was one of the golden boys of his generation. For him, the war years were the best years of his life, a time of excitement and danger but also of intense commitment, clear-cut purposes and loyalties, and a daily challenging of self physically, psychologically, and intellectually. Everything has been downhill since. He resigned his Navy commission to write advertising copy for a yacht brokerage in Connecticut. Though he excels at sales and copy, he has lost his self-respect and the respect of his wife and daughter. He feels estranged, isolated, discontent. Browne sees the round-the-world yacht race as an opportunity to experience the excitement and danger of his wartime years and to regain his self-respect. His inexperience sailing the high seas alone does not diminish his desire to do so.
Anne Browne, a lovely, intelligent woman from a wealthy nautical family, has been faithful but is hurt and disturbed by an unfulfilling sex life and by Owen’s psychological distance from her; she longs to recapture the love of their youth. A successful, serious writer, she feels contempt for his advertising career. Though not convinced Owen can survive the voyage, she does nothing to stop him. Anne is trapped between loyalty to her husband and the fierce, fascinating sexuality of Strickland’s continued and insistent attentions. Strickland’s intensity, his driving sensuality, the sense he communicates of being...
(The entire section is 587 words.)