On the return journey from Portugal, James
Onedin and Anne Webster appear to be getting on extremely
well despite the unorthodox origin of their union. He begins
to teach her how to navigate.
A seaman dies and James becomes gravely sick with a fever.
Anne has to take over his duties, including navigation. The
Mr Baines, is illiterate and cannot help. The crew do
not want to take orders or even advice from a woman, but
Anne is strong-willed and perseveres despite their growing
hostility. She tries to recall and follow James'
instructions, but fails to keep the ship on course.
Eventually, Baines refuses to heed her instructions any
The strain takes its toll on Anne. Finally, just when things
seem to have reached the breaking point, Anne makes a
bargain with Baines: she will teach him to read and write in
return for his cooperation. They agree to share the
responsibilities, and successfully get the ship back on
track as James recovers.
Back in Liverpool, Robert is at his wit's end waiting for
the overdue ship. All James's funds (and his own) have been
spent, with no end to creditors and sailors' dependents
clamoring for payment. Meanwhile, Elizabeth, though she has
a longtime suitor in sailor Daniel Fogarty, is courted by
Albert Frazer, the scion of a shipbuilding family.