A derelict boat, two boys and a library book (""Sailboats: Construction and Maintenance""). Clay, released from summer picking (at the migrant camp) because of a winter bout with pneumonia, finds the half-buried boat with a trace of a name--CALY. . .--before blue-eyed Owl appears on the beach, disputes the value of the boat. He argues that the inspiration was Ulysses' sea nymph, an explanation Clay resents (having thought of the dance), but as their friendship grows the two images merge. Wary at first, they take separate days with the boat until they acknowledge that working together will benefit both. Clay would ignore the Owl as a hanger-on but the latter, rejected by a too-busy father, just has to be attended to. He suffers from blisters due to overexposure and Clay, a Negro, soothes the pain by sharing his lunch: ""peanut butter and jelly's good for sunburn."" They manage the scraping, caulking, sanding and painting (helped by that book), scrounge for nails and rigging, and finally launch her. On their last voyage a storm throws them overboard and the Calypso sails out to sea: ""We didn't lose her. She just went off and left us."" Somehow, it adds up to more than a story of friendship. Calypso has her own rhythm, perhaps too self-conscious or feminine for some tastes, but her skippers have both feet on the ground.