Four people with no sailing experience leave Auckland, NZ, on an amateur-built yacht to Australia, planning to sail three days north and turn left. The boat has no motor, radio, extra sails, or instrumentation. The skipper has a small compass and a toy sextant on which he has no training. There are a one-person lifeboat, one life preserver, and provisions for three weeks. They are stranded for six weeks on Middleton Reef before rescue, while passengers considered mutiny. The vessel runs aground on Middleton Reef, 800 miles off course, the site of many prior shipwrecks. Within walking distance is a wrecked Japanese fishing trawler, the Fuku Maru #7, where they reside for six weeks, struggling to stay fed and healthy, and dealing with interpersonal relations problems. The skipper appears mad, attempting to keep the others from eating the available food and suggesting he is capable of murder. The three discuss mutiny. The Sospan Fach breaks up and cocaine powder floats in the bilge water.