A Classic for Bluewater Voyagers
John Kretchmer does not disappoint in Sailing a Serious Ocean. This book is part sea stories (very good ones), part teaching and lots of technical details on bluewater sailing and proper bluewater sailboats. The section on the worst storms he’s been through I found particularly interesting. Like all experienced ocean sailors, there is a certain “understated” flavor to his accounts – casually mentioning 30-40 foot seas, 65 knot winds, repeated waves flooding the cockpit, loss of self steering – you name it, John Kretchmer’s been through it. Sailing over 300,000 bluewater nautical miles will give you those kinds of stories.
If you’re just starting out on your journey to eventually live the sailboat cruising lifestyle, don’t let the storm stories give you pause. Will you run into heavy weather? Of course. We all do. It’s how well prepared you and your boat are that makes the difference between an uncomfortable inconvenience and a potential disaster. You work up to that level of sailing. And, unlike Kretchmer, you probably won’t be taking on the North Atlantic in January. Yes, that’s one of his most dramatic storm stories.
Work on building your sailing knowledge and skills step-by-step. The fact of the matter is, 90% of your sailing will be done in weather like this…
… and not like this.
My recommendation? Give Sailing a Serious Ocean a read. It’s fairly short and you will learn a lot from one of the most accomplished bluewater sailors in the world. I know I learned several new things.