In September 1991, the swordfishing boat Andrea Gail returns to home port in Gloucester, Massachusetts with a poor catch. Desperate for money, the captain convinces his reluctant crew to join him for one more fishing expedition. They head out past their usual fishing grounds, leaving a developing thunderstorm behind them. They find great success at the Flemish Cap, but when their ice machine breaks, the only way to preserve their catch is to hurry back home. However, between the Andrea Gail and Gloucester is a confluence of two powerful weather fronts and a hurricane. The crew struggles to sail through pounding waves and shrieking winds, while friends and family worry and wait for a ship that never comes home.

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