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For ten years, the partially completed sailboat Jeff Merkel started building with his wife and son sits gathering dust, until his lingering sorrow drives him to finish it alone. Enter a young hoodlum who breaks into the marina and seriously damages the boat for no apparent reason but misplaced rage. When the county sheriff arrives with the boy, the aging mariner sees a lost soul, and begs the sheriff and judge to release the boy into his custody to work off his punishment. Margie Waller, a beautiful, fiercely independent and wealthy divorcee with a yacht in need of repairs, arrives soon after and finds herself attracted to the brooding Merkel. When a deadly hurricane takes aim at Morgan's Island, it threatens to destroy everything just as the relationships between the three dispirited characters begin to yield fruit.
Woven around the tranquility and bliss of sailing fair winds and gentle seas, A Mariner's Tale is a love story wrapped in the question that everyone, not just sailors, asks themselves: "This is where I am. There is where I yearn to be. How do I navigate my course to get there?"