As of 1808 it was illegal to import slaves into the United States. Fifty years later, a group of men decided to defy the ban by outfitting a yacht built for speed into one that would hold human cargo. Almost 500 men would fit into the Wanderer. Each was allotted a space only 12 inches wide for the six week journey. The trip was expected to be very profitable for investors who hoped to get $650 for each individual. Four hundred and nine slaves made it onto the Georgia shore. But the influx of foreigners caused talk and in the north the news caused outrage. In the south, sentiments went the other way: the slavers were acquitted at trial.
The Wanderer was suspected of being a slave ship before she even left the US, due to the extensive modifications made to the pleasure craft.