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The blue waters of the British Channel sparkled brightly in the rays of the sun, shining forth from a cloudless sky, as a light breeze from the northward filled the sails of a small yacht which glided smoothly along the southern coast of England. At the helm of the little vessel stood her owner, Captain Maynard, a retired naval officer. Next to his fair young daughter, Clara, the old sailor looked upon his yacht as one of the most beautiful things in existence. Though her crew consisted but of two men and a boy, and she measured scarcely five-and-twenty tons, he declared that if it were necessary he would sail round the world in her without the slightest hesitation.