A captain mentors a group of teenage boys on a sailing trip for their senior year in high school that ends in tragedy. Captain Sheldon has assembled a school-on-board program on his ship, the Albatross, that will sail to South America and back while also teaching high school boys about sailing, and eventually life in general. The crew is composed of his wife Alice (a doctor), a cook, and an English Teacher. The boys are a mix of characters, namely Chuck who is there against his father's wishes, Frank, a rich boy with a domineering dad, Dean, a troublemaker, and Gil, a weakling who's afraid of heights, just to name a few. The Captain, who the boys refer to as Skipper, is a drill-sergeant of a man, who is there to mold the boys into men. He's there to teach them to work together, which is how a crew is supposed to function, and he makes it clear, that this trip is to be taken seriously. They have a rough transition at first, getting incredibly seasick, tasked to scrub the decks, given endurance exercises to whip them into shape. They do not react nicely to this kind of treatment from the Skipper in the beginning, but as the film progresses, it's pretty clear that they are coming to love and respect the guy. As the boys move from port to port, they get drunk, get laid, and just bond. On board, they fix their individual issues with their parents, past traumas, with the help of each other, acting more like brothers, than classmates. On their way back home, they run into a White Squall, a sudden violent storm. The ship goes down, drowning some boys and Alice, while the others fight desperately to save them. The survivors ride a life boat and are rescued by another ship. Back in the States, Captain Sheldon is investigated for his role in the accident. Chuck testifies a moving account of what happened, defending Skipper. The council reaches its decision and do not revoke Sheldon's license.
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Best part of story, including ending:
I like the complicated yet endearing relationships of the boys and the beautiful scenery of the ocean and the islands that they visit.
Best scene in story:
I like their first encounter with Skipper who lays down the ground rules and the boys realize that they're not there to have fun.
Opinion about the main character:
I like Sheldon's mentoring of the boys, he draws a thin line between being their teacher and being their friend.