VOYAGES IN DESPERATE TIMES A Novel by Jule A. Miller No times were more desperate for America, and for the world that depended upon her, than the first six months of 1942. If America had lost World War II the world would have sunk, in the words of Winston Churchill, Into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. And in the early months of 1942 America was definitely losing that war. The Nazis had overrun France and were at the gates of Moscow. The Japanese had crippled the U.S. fleet and were running wild in the Pacific. In January German U-boats sank thirty-one ships just off the east coast of the United States, many almost within sight of the beach. They sank sixty-eight in February and seventy in March. To lose the Battle of the Atlantic was to lose Britain, Russia, and the war. The Navy and Coast Guard were woefully short of vessels to fight the battle raging along the Eastern Sea Frontier. Having other option, the government hastily commandeered yachts and sent them out into the rth Atlantic to locate submarines and rescue survivors. The fifty-four foot schooner yacht Tiger Lillie instantly became Coast Guard Reserve Vessel 3114. The regulations required Ensign Nicholas Worth and his six man crew to take her out into the Atlantic that winter, but, as the old Coast Guard axiom says, the regulations did t require them to come back. Sixty-six years later, as she drives him to Vermont for the funeral of an old friend, his granddaughter asks Nick Worth what those times were like, and, after thinking about it, he answers with a single word, Desperate. He had never before said even one word about his part in the Battle of the Atlantic or about how he had lost his leg. But w the old man realizes that the time has come to end his long silence about the voyages of The Fourteen Boat and explain to a later generation what life was like for those who were young in 1942.