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Summary of a Perfect Storm

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Graham 1

Sammie Graham

Mr. Vaughn

English 101


Summary of A Perfect Storm

Chapter One: The setting is laid out quite vividly and in short it is the open sea. Georges Bank is one of the most dangerous places to fish out of the vastness of the entire ocean. The author told a story about a ship called the Mackerel Schooner that found a bottle with a note in it in the Georges Bank. The letter came from another ship by the name of The Falcon. The note stated that their ship sailed out a year earlier headed for Gloucster, Massachusetts. Their ship wrecked and they were lost at sea. This gives us an idea of what could possibly go wrong when it comes to ventures out on the open sea.

Chapter Two: In October of 1991 at Gloucester, Massachusetts, there is an industry of fishing that has been around since before anyone can really remember. We are introduced to Bobby Shatford, who has a long history of fisherman in his family. We are also introduced to Dale or "Murph", Christina Cotter, Bobby's girlfriend, Bugsy, Sully, Billy and most of the characters. Bobby's mother is the bartender at "The Crow's Nest", the bar and INN that sword fisherman stays at while they are back before they go back out to sea. This chapter ties in a lot of personal problems that the characters have, one of the main beings that the crew of the Andrea Gail was hoping for more money than they received for their last outing for swordfish. This puts Billy, the ships captain in the position that he is forced into making the decision of going back out to try and catch some more swordfish and make his crew happy but this stirs up a lot of bad feelings to the idea from his crew. When Bobby tells Chris about the idea she says, "Thirty days? Are you crazy?", this would set the tone for the mindset of

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most of the crew. They eventually decide that it will be a good idea, and they could all use the money.

Chapter Three: The crew begins to load up all of the necessary food and supplies for the voyage out to sea but Sully seems to have a bad feeling about going out on this trip. Bobby talks to Chris about how he does not want to go as well, as she begs him not to he eventually makes the decision that he is going to. The crew begins to say their goodbyes to family and friend and the ship sets sail. After a few days at sea, the Andrea Gail lays out its first line and bait but later on is hit by a wave that does no major damage, and they continue sailing to the Grand Banks. The ships first catch is not a very good one, which makes Billy change course and head west. This would lead them off the charts of where they should be fishing. While all this is going on the weather is gradually getting worse. The author describes it as "raw and blustery and the men work in layers of sweatshirts and overalls and rubber slickers".

Chapter Four: This was their last chance to make a good payload for the season, so they did not want to go back empty handed. At this point, we are told about how the government puts a cap on the maximum amount of fish that a single boat can catch. The lower amount of fish would obviously mean they have less to sell. The author begins to go into detail of the living conditions, and most of the different parts of the ship. He brings into light the fact that other ships help one another and that the reasoning behind this is not always out of kindness but the idea of treat others the way you want to be treated. A picture begins to be painted of how it feels to be on a ship. Along with an amazing description of being on a ship, we being to learn of the relationships of the fishermen. Not only the ones on the Andrea Gale but other crews as well. We begin to learn about some of the things that ships must do before the set sail for the best possibility of a safe return. Billy and the crew strike gold and

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hit their quota of swordfish within a week, but as they celebrate this they have no idea about the weather that is forming and will put the Andrea Gail in a position that they do not want to be in. Linda, who is another ship captain tells Billy of the weather and he simply says "Looks like it's gonna be wicked".

Chapter Five: Billy basically ignores any warnings and heads straight into the storm to get back home as fast as he can. He does tell the crew what they are in for, and they take the necessary precautions to survive a storm. Billy then gets another call from Linda and she gives him the details that the storm has turned into Hurricane Grace, but at this point, it is too late. Before they know what hit them, they are getting pounded with winds up to 104 miles per hour and waves that were up to 45 feet tall. The author gives a good description of what storms are like at sea, and that they sometimes underestimate them because they faced with so many of them. With complete disregard for the safety of his men or himself he continues to go straight into the storm in order to get the payload of the swordfish he has onboard. Before he knows it, he is faced with waves that are reaching 70 feet tall and winds of 115 miles per hour. It is at this point that the author describes the damage that Hurricane Grace did to an even larger ship and tells us how the Andrea Gail can no longer communicate with other ships because the antenna had been broken off. And in his own words, the author states that "For the first time they are completely, irrevocably on their own". This leaves the ship with no possible way of what to expect as the continue to head further into the belly of the beast.

Chapter Six: As the ship sails further and further into the storm, the weather is getting worse. The description of the situation now becomes a little clearer, Some of the main problems that they began to face were that the windows were blowing out due to water crashing into them and the steering system was failing. No one really knew the exact

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condition of the Andrea Gail and there was no way—in their current situation with the weather—to truly know how the ship was holding up as a whole. They did know that their communications were shot. Most the descriptions used in order to try and tell us how the conditions were on the Andrea Gail, were in the form of the status aboard other ships and what they were



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