Chapter OneSan Diego, California, 2001
West of Encitas on the Pacific coast, the graceful motor yacht Nepenthe
swung at anchor, the grandest craft in a flotilla that seemed to include every sailboat and powerboat in San Diego. With her fluid drawn-out lines, the spearlike sprit jutting from the thrusting clipper bow, and her flaring transom, the two-hundred-foot-long Nepenthe
looked as if she were made of fine white china floating on a Delft sea. Her paint glistened with a mirror finish, and her brightwork sparkled under the California sun. Flags and pennants snapped and fluttered from stem to stern. Bobbing...