When Nantucket whaler Benjamin Swain joins the Navy, his plan is straightforward. Work his way up to officer, marry a pleasant woman and use his newly honed skills to design revolutionary ships for the Navy. Beginning as a lowly seaman, his first assignment is to teach sailing at the fledgling Naval Academy at Annapolis, a simple enough task. Until he meets Sophie Harrington, the admiral's daughter. Impulsive and rebellious, Sophie is also beautiful, a fact Ben vows to ignore. Nothing will ruin his well-laid plan quicker than an entanglement with his superior's only child. But Sophie, balking at her father's insistence that she marry an officer and dreaming of writing a novel, is determined to learn to sail. Ben is the logical teacher - but nothing like the man he knows her father envisions for her. Arguing with Sophie is like shouting at the wind, however, and soon Ben wants nothing more to silence her protests with kisses, so she can hear him say "I love you."