In 1973, a San Francisco family departed on a planned four-year round-the-world voyage. The Wilcox crew — Chuck; his wife, Dawn; and kids, Garth, 13, and Linda, 10 — set sail with varying degrees of enthusiasm (at a time when world cruising was uncommon and offshore navigation was celestial) to fulfill what was primarily Chuck’s lifelong dream. The book’s title hints at what’s to come. With significant textbook preparation and training, some inshore experience but no offshore or shakedown cruising aboard their 40-foot wood Maine Pinky, Vela, the voyage itself becomes a series of sea trials. There are pleasures and many pitfalls, including a near-disastrous shipwreck on a Pacific reef and the painstaking salvage and repair of Vela in a remote port.