Sailing an ageing inshore yacht from Southampton to Sydney would not be anyone’s idea of an easy job. But in 1883, Tom Dudley, an experienced yachtsman, took it on, agreeing to sail the Mignonette across the world to its new owner. He could see the danger of it plainly, but the pay was good – enough to set him and his family up in a new Australian life – and so he set about making it happen. He came to bitterly regret the decision: it would soon break his body and set him on a collision course with the full weight of the British legal system.