Quetzal - Kaufman 47 "... Never lost, just hard to find ..."

John Kretschmer Sailing

Training Passages - Workshops - Presentations - Expeditions - Writing/Photography

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.

More Poetry...
Front Cover of Flirting with Mermaids 

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 job."

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 Grace.

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 affection."
--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 Magazine

What's New

Two new trips have been added for 2019: Trans Caribe 3 and Adriatic/ Ionian Passage. Click here for details.


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John Kretschmer Sailing