Wind (1992) - Plot Summary Poster

(I) (1992)


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  • Will Parker, played by Matthew Modine, loses the Americas Cup, the worlds biggest sailing prize, to the Australians and decides to form his own syndicate to win it back.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • "Wind" depicts the struggle between young recreational sailor Will Parker's (Matthew Modine) ambition and his love for Kate Bass (Jennifer Grey) in the context of the America's Cup sailing competition, inspired by the real-life events surrounding the first time the American sailing team lost the America's Cup. The opening scene is a seductive portrait of the couple, with Will daydreaming about sailing victories and Kate sunning au naturel on the beach in a pristine cove with emerald water. Will is invited to join legendary American skipper Morgan Weld's (Cliff Robertson) racing team to train and compete in the annual international regatta, the America's Cup. Will invites Kate to come with him and she agrees, swept away with his passion, herself a capable sailing enthusiast and aeronautical engineering graduate student.

    As Will moves up the ranks in the exclusive boys club of the elite sailing world it is clear that Morgan Weld has big plans for him. The Americans have held the America's Cup title since the regatta began and Morgan has no intention of losing it to his rival, the cocky Australian skipper Jack Neville (Jack Thompson). The physical training for the race proves Will's worth and Morgan promotes him to skipper of the secondary boat. Will and Kate's romance continues to flourish as Will offers to make her a part of his sailing team, an otherwise all male contingent. Kate puts her academic career on hold and joins Will's team, staying to potentially compete in the regatta.

    Trouble comes for Will and Kate when Morgan promotes Will to tactician for the lead boat, Radiance, with Morgan as skipper. Morgan also makes it clear that none of his boats are any place for a woman and that Will must kick his girlfriend off the team in order to maintain the necessary chemistry between the crewmembers. It is clear that Kate is a part of the team and the older Morgans chauvinist attitudes prompt her to question her reasons for staying. After a lovers quarrel, Kate leaves Will and the regatta to return to her aeronautical engineering career.

    The final face-off between the Americans and the Australians has the American boat in the lead as the teams prepare to pass the last mark and head back down the home stretch. Just as Morgan starts to think he has got the Australian team beat, a problem with the main sail appears and forces one of the crew to the top of the mast to fix it. Morgan, determined not to give up any ground to Jack Neville, sacrifices his crewmember at the top of the mast and Will looks on horrified as is teammate is battered against the mast by the wind and the movement of the boat on the waves. Morgan and Will argue over the best line to follow while tacking around the final buoy and the Radiance collides with the actual mark. The regatta rules require the Americans to circle back around and make a clean pass around the buoy, barely avoiding giving up the lead to the Australians in the process. Will knows the importance of making sure that the Radiance doesn't fall into the wind shadow of Jacks Australian boat or the Radiance will lose all her power, but Morgan ignores his tacticians advice and the Australians overtake the Radiance to defeat the Americans, stealing the title from the Americans for the first time since the race's inception.

    Six months later, Will tracks down Kate in Deadman's Flats, Arizona, where she has been working on aeronautical research with Joe Heiser (Stellan Skarsgard), another aeronautical engineer and mathematician. Will quickly learns that Kate and Joe's relationship is not a strictly professional one. Will stays, though, and forms an uncommon bond with Joe. Joe convinces Will to help him build a boat to compete in the next year's America's Cup, using Will's lifelong dream in order to make a name for himself as a boat designer and engineer. Will attempts to gain Morgan Weld as a financial back for the endeavor, but is rejected by a now deranged and unstable Morgan. Will does find an ally, and intimate partner, in Morgan's adult daughter, Abigail Weld, but his feelings towards Kate remain the same. The foursome of Will, Joe, Abigail and Kate are somehow able to muster the financial and engineering resources to build a sloop worthy of competing in the America's Cup, to reclaim the title from the Australians.

    After several hard-fought battles, the Americans, under skipper Will Parker, face-off for a second time against Jack Neville and the Australians in the final race of the Americas Cup. Will has replaced his tactician with Kate after a judgment error of the former one cost the Australians their mast and the Americans the previous race. Despite Jack Neville's underhanded tactics, Will and Kate manage to beat the odds with the American team and reclaim the Americas Cup title in an epic set of final scenes, rekindling their old flame as their shared dream of winning the Americas Cup comes true. The thinly veiled commentary on ambition, love and individualism in the face of tradition and the world's greatest boat race all come together in the final celebrations by the Americans, appropriately ending as it began with a simple scene of Will and Kate holding hands against a backdrop of waves crashing on a beach.

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