The Dauntless and her crew were sailing up the west coast of Scotland towards the Isle of Skye when their holiday plans were interrupted. Another converted fishing boat, bent on less lawful business than the Dauntless, crossed their path, and they found themselves unaccountably involved in a hunt for smugglers. Captain Blake and the boys would have left the smugglers unmolested but for a chance meeting with Captain Blake's old friend, McDougall, late of the Customs, who persuaded the Captain to take him aboard.
In spite of all Captain Blake's efforts to keep the boys out of trouble, the fact that they alone had seen and could recognise the smugglers made then, key witnesses for the Crown ; but what finally lined them up on the side of the Law was the smugglers' wrecking tactics. When they beheld the ripped sails and smashed engine of the Dauntless the boys were all out for retaliation, and the chase occupied the rest of their holiday."
The climax of the book takes place in the description of an encounter with the whirlpool at Corryveckan. They never actually make it to the island of Skye. In come ways the ending of the story is remarkably tame.