This is a better book than The Southern Cross, depending more on the struggles against the forces of winds and waves on the China passage- and less on the sex battles which dominated the earlier book. His characters, too, have taken on new dimensions- his men come alive, though his women, in ports on opposite sides of the world, are lay figures (in the dual meaning of the word). Of the genre of Garland Roark and John Jennings (rather than the masters, such as C.S. Forester), this is again a tale of one man's battle to prove the impossible, possible. Capt. Salter -- taken with dalliance in port -- forgets all that when confronted with the challenge offered by the course. Much is at stake -- the economic factor for his ship's owners, in getting there first and capturing the high price market; the prestige factor in proving his ship- his dream design, The Ocean Mistress, fastest on the seas; the driving ambition to captain his vessel, control his crew, and beat the records. Not top drawer, but good adventure.