A Serious Ocean
You know it by the northern look of the shore,
by the salt-worried faces,
by an absence of trees, an abundance of lighthouses.
It's a serious ocean.
North Sea off Carnoustie by Anne Stevenson
Tomorrow will have an island
by William Stafford
Tomorrow will have an island. Before night
I always find it. Then on to the next island.
These places hidden in the day separate
and come forward if you beckon.
But you have to know they are there before they exist.
Some time there will be a tomorrow without any island,
So far, I haven't let that happen, but after
I'm gone others may become faithless and careless.
Before them will tumble the wide unbroken sea,
and without any hope they will stare at the horizon.
So to you, Friend, I confide my secret:
to be a discoverer you hold close whatever
you find, and after a while you decide
what it is. Then, secure in where you have been,
you turn to the open sea and let go.
Flirting with Mermaids: The Unpredictable Life of a Sailboat Delivery Skipper
This wildly entertaining collection of
autobiographical anecdotes is skillfully
conveyed by a man who, having logged nearly
200,000 bluewater miles, says his greatest
accomplishment is "never having had a real
In fifteen years of delivering sailboats to far
flung quaysides, John Kretschmer has had
innumerable adventures, both humorous and
terrifying, including a research voyage in the
Western Caribbean with a crew of eccentric
Swedes and the discovery during a mid-winter
crossing of the North Atlantic that Force 13
winds do exist. He has sailed a wide variety of
ships, from an 80-year-old ketch that tried to
sink itself to a sleek Swan 44 that blasted
around Cape Hatteras, and encountered a diverse
collection of characters, from Dan Rather and
Richard Simmons to Hurricanes Bob, Floyd and
This engaging narrative is interspersed with
practical information about sailboats and the
sea, and optimism and humor - the two most
important tools in any delivery skipper's sea
bag - are liberally employed throughout.
"Not only has John Kretschmer lived a life
wildly festooned with adventure, romance and
outrageous characters - his reality outstrapping
our most Walter Mittyesque sea fantasies - now
he has gone and turned it all into a collection
of yarns that incite yet more envy among those
of us stuck behind landbound computers. Not only
can the sailor sail - through hurricanes and
civil wars - but the sailor can write. It's a
hell of a read. It's just not fair."
--Fred Grimm, Miami Herald columnist
"Flirting with Mermaids follows John
as he delivers a variety of boats around the
world, from aging hulks with a fondness for the
bottom to luxury yachts owned by would-be
circumnavigators. While he's doing this, with a
conscripted crew of friends, relatives, his
wife, and total strangers found holding empty
glasses at beach bars, he's also learning about
navigating the uncharted territory of his heart.
The glamorous life of a professional sailor?
Here's the straight story, with humor, salty
adventures, and a steep learning curve."
--Gregory O. Jones, editor, Sailing
"As a professional delivery captain, John
Kretschmer has done more offshore passagemaking
in his first 40 years than most serious sailors
do in a lifetime. Part romantic, part poet, part
philosopher and 100% optimist, Kretschmer shows
his uncanny ability to deliver the wrong yacht
in the wrong direction across the wrong ocean at
the wrong time of year time and time again, yet
end every delivery with the boat safely in port,
a smile on his face, good friends at his side,
and a few dollars in his pocket. A great story
of adventure well-told with warm humor and
--Milt Baker, Bluewater Books & Charts
"John Kretschmer is a superb seaman, a
master story teller, and a delivery skipper of
vast experience. His tales of tropical passages
and Atlantic gales, of near sinkings and quirky
owners will appeal to anyone who dreams of far
horizons and tropical beaches. He has written a
book of rollicking humor and abundant common
sense that any sailor will find hard to put
down." --Brian Fagan, author,
archaeologist, and sailor
"From a bizarre research expedition with a
group of Swedes hunting for the ancient Mayan
navy to a rough mid-winter crossing of the North
Atlantic, Kretschmer's tale unfolds like a
comfortably worn chart." --Sailing
Kretschmer Sailing fleece jackets and long-sleeve t-shirts are available