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Captain John Wolfe


"At sea, every direction you point looks exactly the same. It is a starkly desolate place, especially when experienced intimately, at a speed of only five or six knots, spending whole days or weeks at a time in a never changing seascape. At night, it's the definition of infinity."-The Night Watch, essay by John Wolfe

Captain John Wolfe has always wanted to work on the water. Coming from a long line of U.S. Navy mariners, he grew up hearing sea stories from his dad and grandpa and knew that one day he would have some of his own to tell.

After graduating from UNCW in 2013 with a creative writing and philosophy degree, he began his maritime adventures by purchasing a 26'; sailboat for $500. Inspired by Henry David Thoreau's book Walden, he wanted to see if he could simplify his life to the extreme. Christened the S/V Athena, he restored her, lived aboard her for two years, and learned to sail on her around the Cape Fear area. That boat led to other opportunities, and he has been lucky enough to deliver an 80' motor yacht from the Chesapeake Bay to Wilmington, sail down to the Bahamas on the world-record holding 70' gaff-rigged schooner Anne, and sail back to Charleston on a vintage 50' wooden Sparkman Stevens sailboat. These last two voyages were to become the subject of his first book, Going Aloft (

This is his fourth season working on the Shamrock. He has also worked as a lifeguard, surf instructor, and journalist, and currently moonlights as a columnist for the local literary magazine Salt. In the future he hopes to do more yacht deliveries and ocean sailing, have more wild adventures, and keep condensing them into book form. His hobbies include reading (especially the works of Ed Abbey, David Foster Wallace, and Thomas Wolfe), playing music, and walking through the woods. He lives in Wilmington with his fiancé, Gina.

More info and selected literary works can be found at