Chapter Three – Amateur Kretschmers

“Now what is this ‘none’ stuff?”


“Okay, fine. Naan. What is that? A snack?”

He was big on the snacks.

So, no surprise here I’m sure: Mitch got the boat. At 6’4″, if you’re in the market for a boat and you find one you’re, in his words─”comfortable on”─you get it. Not to mention this boat was well-made, by a dependable builder, in fantastic condition, had passed the survey/sea trial with flying colors needing only minimal repairs and was going for half the asking price. Half?! Pssshhh … There’s really no way Mitch could say no. He let the time lapse on rescinding the offer and on June 14, 2015 Mitch became the proud new owner of a 1985 Nonsuch. All he needed to do was sail it home from Ft. Myers, FL.


All that required was willing crew.

It’s probably no surprise here, either: he asked Phillip and me.


I don’t know, though. Would you trust these two?

Seems Mitch was keen on cashing in the favor chips he had racked up when he helped us sail our Niagara 35 from Punta Gorda, FL to its new home port in Pensacola back in 2013. But, the irony of it was almost comical. Not only were the three of us about to make just about the same trek again on a sailboat, but (BUT!) we were going to do it again on another 1985 model boat and (AND!) another Hinterhoeller. Shut up. I’m serious. The symmetry of it was kind of wild. Can you say: Salt of a Sailor the sequel! We hoped this time, though, we wouldn’t have to hack off any critical parts of the boat, string a puke bucket around one of the crew member’s necks, suffer a man down to (allegedly) non-drowsy Dramamine or endure any other significant equipment failures like last time. (If you haven’t read Salt yet, I hope you’re intrigued now.)


We all hoped for a safe and prosperous delivery of Mitch’s new boat from Ft. Myers to its new home port in Pensacola, FL. But─maybe it was just Phillip and I although something tells me Mitch maybe a little too─we were also hoping for a bit of an adventure. You don’t ever want anything to go wrong during a passage across blue waters, but you know it can always happen. No matter how hard you prepare, plan or tread cautiously, a lot of it’s just luck. Sometimes it’s just your time for shit to go wrong. We didn’t want that to happen to Mitch, but if it was going to, we wanted to be there to help─and experience and learn from it.

Now this time thankfully I was a bit more sail savvy than last time. I didn’t ask at least─with big, blinking doe eyes: “When are they going to deliver your boat, Mitch?” I knew we were going to have to sail her home, and Phillip and I were excited to head out on another blue water passage. We’re always up for a blue water passage─Phillip especially. That man loves nothing more than to stand behind a helm and look out on a blue horizon.


Okay, lay.  He likes to lay behind the helm too.

Mitch really didn’t even have to ask. It all seemed a given from the moment he started looking for a boat in south Florida. He had been there for us and he knew we would do the same for him. Hell, we were happy to. We set a date that worked around everyone’s schedule─June 19, 2015─and started planning and provisioning. If everything went well, we were expecting the entire trip to take seven days but we cleared ten just in case. My only concern was the Bahamas. I was set to fly out of Pensacola to Ft. Lauderdale on July 2nd. Honor of a lifetime: I had been asked by a friend’s parents to crew with them on their boat in the Abacos Regatta. After reading Salt, seems they thought I would be helpful to have on board─or entertaining at least. The Bahamas saga will be coming up next on the blog. Be excited!


So, June 19th to July 1st was the time slot. The Mitch trip was going to be a tight fit, but it did fit. And we figured if something happened and we had to leave the Nonsuch somewhere─like, say, I don’t know … Carrabelle─we could leave her and drive the rest of the way home. We hoped that wouldn’t happen (again this time). We wanted to sail her right into the Pensacola Pass our first time out but there was always the possibility the wind, weather and whatever sailing karma is out there would see otherwise. Whatever the case, we were up for it.

What cracked me up, though, was Mitch. He always does. I love that guy. It’s fun to watch a new friend sort of walk up to the boating ledge, look over, kick a little pebble off then just fall, head-over-heels and tumble all the way down. No matter how many times you tell said friend it’s going to cost a lot, things are going to break often, and then it will cost a lot to repair them, it’s like they just can’t hear you. You continually try to warn them: You’re going to have to buy a lot of boat crap. Then you’ll start using all of that crap and discover what other boat crap you really want and then you’ll have to buy all of that too. It’s just a process. But when you finally get your boat dialed in─just the way you like it─it’s totally worth it. And, after having endured that entire process, you’ll really have fun watching friends go through it after you. I have to admit. I was having a hell of a time watching Mitch.

The naan was the least of his worries. After going through the list Mitch made when he was on the boat for the survey/sea trial of equipment already on board, we made another list of items he would need to purchase for the three of us to safely make the passage on the boat. The amount of stuff baffled him.

“Towels? What kind of towels?” Mitch asked, bewildered.

All kinds dude. Dish towels, bath towels, work towels. The three of us are essentially about to move onto your floating home and live there for a week, while we’re sailing and working on it. We might need to─I don’t know─bathe on occasion. Wash our dishes. Wipe our hands. I mean, maybe. If you don’t think so, though, nix the towels. He was funny. And some of the costs really put a thorn in his side, like the EPIRB.

“Do we really need that?” I remember him asking Phillip. 


“Only if you want the Coast Guard to come if we’re sinking,” Phillip said.

But, I get it. I mean, those things are like $400. It’s not an easy pill to swallow. I had to laugh, though, when we started talking about a hurricane haul-out plan for his boat. And, again I agree. If $400 for the EPIRB gives you heartburn, you’re really going to take it on the chin with the $1,500 price tag on the haul-out. Mitch was understandably trying to stop the bleed:

“So, it’s $1,500 to haul out, if need be, for a hurricane?” he was trying to get Phillip to confirm.

“Well, it’s $1,500 for the year,” Phillip replied.

“Oh, okay, so if they don’t haul out, then that carries over next time, right?”

“No, it’s $1,500 a year.”

“Even if they don’t haul you out?!”

Sorry buddy. Boats are just expensive. But, like I said, Mitch had got the Nonsuch for an exceptional price so he, thankfully, had a little wiggle room left in his budget. Still doesn’t make it any easier to write those checks. He was a good sport about it, though. Better than I ever expected. Mitch really stepped up. Phillip and I gave him a pretty extensive list of things we would need for the trip─stuff for him to buy, stuff for us to bring and stuff for him to bring. It was good practice for Phillip and I to go back through that thought process of readying a boat for passage, except this time we kind of felt like yacht delivery people, like very amateur Kretschmers. But, some of the tips and tricks Kretschmer had mentioned when we attended his seminar at the Miami Boat Show back in February did seem to trickle through.


The whole idea of sitting down to make a list of items and equipment we would need to bring a boat across blue waters just gave Phillip and I a little tingle. It was exciting to think we would soon be back out there, in the Gulf of Mexico, looking out on a vast body of water with nothing on the horizon but a sun sinking into blue denim.


Thankfully, we had kept a digital copy of the list we had made when we were preparing to bring our Niagara 35 back home across the Gulf. We dusted that off and modified it a bit to suit Mitch’s boat and needs. In case any of you find it helpful in preparing for a passage, or a Kretschmer like yacht-delivery (yeah!), here ‘tis: our Provisions List.


We went through it with Mitch, item by item, making sure he had each one. And he did. He had bought it all, even some extra goodies for the two of us─little treats for us for agreeing to make the passage with him. Like I said, he was big on the snacks.


We were set to leave the following week and the only thing Mitch got stuck on was the naan.

“It’s not a snack. It’s bread, like a soft fluffy pita. We’ll eat it with the tiki masala.”

“The what?”

“Masala. Tiki masala.”


Yeah that. We’ll get that one buddy. See you in a few days.


Thanks to my Patrons who help me share the journey.  Get inspired.  Get on board.


Stranded Naked in the Bahamas??

I will be!  Soon!  Big announcement folks (cue that ratta-tatta news room sound) — this Little Sailor-that-Could is going to the Bahamas!  Not on our boat, not with the Captain and apparently (at times) not with clothes.  Say what?!?  That’s right.  Times are a-changin’!

To make a long story short (I know, I know, I’m not so good at that, but I’m really going to try!), around November of last year, the Captain and I, having just finished our pretty-involved solar panel project and chased down our baffling alternator aftermath, were itching to get our boat out for an extended stay on the hook to really enjoy our new solar input and make sure we wouldn’t have any trouble this time with the starting battery.  Thanksgiving was coming up, so we decided to use the holiday time to do what we do best–enjoy a nice, serene anchorage on our beautiful boat.

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It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.  

As you know, I had been piddling around on the aerial silks for a few months by then and when I mentioned our upcoming trip to my instructor, the completely unattractive and untalented, Garrett (this one’s for you ladies):


he says, “Oh yeah, that reminds me, I’ve been meaning to tell you about Hanna.”

“Who?” I ask, wondering what’s so special about this Hanna chick.

“Hanna,” Garrett says.


This chick.  Little did I know this fiery little redhead was about to turn my world upside down (literally).



At the time, I had been playing around on the silks for a few months and always made my way to the gym any time I wanted to get a silks session in.  I mean, you need like 30 feet of height to rig up a pair.  Where am I going to hang a set of my own?  I hope your gears are starting to turn, because I have to admit, had I not seen it myself, I’m not sure I would have ever thought of it on my own.

Hanna doesn’t just DO silks.  She does it … ON A SAILBOAT.

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Just when I thought sailboats couldn’t get any cooler …   I couldn’t get to her fast enough.  I Facebook stalked her, texted her, tracked the poor girl down.  I had to know where she got her magic “sailboat silks” and how she rigged them up.  Thankfully Hanna was way cool, she forgave the stalking and clued me in.  Her husband’s parents own a 47′ Beneteau and they had rigged her silks up on the boat using the whisker pole for the spinnaker.  While I didn’t think that would work on our boat (we don’t have our whisker pole mounted on the mast) I started tinkering around on our boat and was pretty sure I had figured out a way.  I mean, there’s a 50 foot mast, dozens of lines, rods and standing rigging to utilize.  If the boat can hoist and fly sails, surely it could hoist and fly me?!?  At least that’s what I told myself when I clicked, clicked, clicked, confirmed and bought my very own set of silks in hopes of hanging and playing on them during our turkey day trip.


They arrived the day before our trip and were the first thing I packed on the boat.  I couldn’t believe I was going to be able to combine one of my favorite hobbies (the silks) with one of my favorite pastimes (lounging around on the boat).  Could life get any better?  Not in my book!  With the Captain’s blessing, I rigged my brand new set up for the very first time on our boat on Thanksgiving day and set to it!

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Now, did I get blown into the mast about five times?  You bet!  Did I care?  Not a bit!  Apparently, you need to have like ZERO wind to be able to do the silks on the boat, but it’s still very doable and easy gear to carry along and rig up.  I was happier than Richard Simmons at a fat camp.  It was one of my favorite days on the boat in all of 2014, even including our trip to the Keys.  It’s just such an incredible feeling to be virtually weightless, dangling, suspended over the anchorage.  Ahhhhh …  And, Ft. McRae is such a gorgeous place to “hang out” (ha ha).

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So, how does this lead to the Bahamas, or better yet being stranded and naked there?  Well, having sailed on her husband’s folks’ boat often, Hanna herself has a love for sailing and (I think) a little hankering to Captain her own boat one day.  A woman after my own heart!


As such, she soon became a fan, follower and sponsor on the blog (thank you Hanna!), got a signed copy of my Salt of a Sailor book and passed word of it along to her inlaws hoping they, as sailors, would enjoy it as well.  (Thank you again, Hanna!)

Surprisingly, even after reading the book and knowing full well all of the incredibly stupid things I said, thought and did in it, Hanna’s inlaws still thought highly enough of my sail abilities, or my sea worthiness at least, to ask me to help crew their boat this July in the Abacos Regatta!


Ben and Sara needed a few extra hands on deck during the July 4th and July 6th races, and they generously offered both Phillip and I a bunk on the boat if we would fly out to the Bahamas to help them with these two legs.  Sadly, Phillip had a conflict and could not make it, but after some serious talk, we decided it was an opportunity I could not and should not pass up.  So, I’m going to the Bahamas folks!


I will fly into Marsh Harbour from Ft. Lauderdale, cab it up to Treasure Cay and then ferry over to Green Turtle Cay where Ben and Sarah are moored.  July 3rd is the famous Stranded Naked, Cheeseburger in Paradise party (although I’ve been advised we do wear clothes — bummer!).  I will help crew the July 4th Green Turtle race and the July 6th Treasure Cay to Guana Cay race then fly from Marsh Harbour back to Ft. Lauderdale.


Red = cab.     Green = ferry.     Blue = sailing.

Thankfully, the room and board will be free on Ben and Sara’s spacious Benetau, the s/v Cheval — French for horse.  Perfect for me.


With just a flight to cover for a multi-island sailing experience through the Bahamas with two incredibly traveled, generous sailors, it was an opportunity I simply could not turn down.  While Phillip and I plan to sail our boat there in the years to come, this will be a great way to get a flavor and feel of the Abacos and participate in their famous, party-style annual Regatta.  The decision was actually pretty easy.  Little did I know it would all develop from what I thought was simply a fun acrobatic hobby, which turned into a sailboat side-sport, but that’s the beauty of it all.  If you keep your mind and plans open to new places, pastimes and people, amazing opportunities can arise.  It’s okay if things get turned upside down.  If you just kind of go with it, you may find it was the best thing that ever happened to you.


Thank you again Hanna for setting all of this up!  And, Ben and Sara, for your generosity (and bravery!) for inviting this tenacious little sailor aboard your vessel.  I … Cant … Wait!  I’ve had an empty passport for too long.  It’s time to stamp this baby up!  Even if I have to go it alone.  Life doesn’t wait for you.  Live while you can.  Bahamas … here I come!



Many thanks to the patrons Hannas! who help make these posts just a little more possible through PATREON.