I first contacted Michael Zornes, aka “Captain Z” to purchase a sailboat during the summer of 2019. After speaking with him, it took me a minute or two to realize that Captain Z was a serious professional, very knowledgeable and obviously loved what he does. In Marine parlance, he was “squared away”.

Over the following months Captain Z acted as my Yacht Broker, Advisor, Project Manager, Mentor and Instructor. He exceeded every expectation I had of him and I developed a great respect for his professionalism, love of what he does so very well, attention to detail and humor. After refitting my Hanse 400e for several months where Captain Z acted as project manager, Odyssey was ready for sea trials.

In November, I flew to Saint Petersburg, Florida and met with Captain Z. At that time, I explained my goal of Sailing Odyssey across the Gulf of Mexico to its home port on the edge of America – Port Isabel, Texas. I’m a former Officer of Marines, Special Forces Team Commander, Firefighter and Flight Instructor with no real sailing experience. Mike’s job was getting me ready to captain my vessel across the Gulf of Mexico.

We both brought everything we had, to bear on achieving my audacious goal. I had absolute and unqualified trust in Mike’s judgement and although I had no idea if I was ready but Captain Z knew and that’s all that mattered. After 10 intensive training days, Captain Z determined that I was ready and he signed me off as a Captain.

I tied up in Port Isabel, Texas on Christmas Eve day, called Mike and thanked him for making my goal possible. Mike is a very knowledgeable Captain but his gift is his ability to impart that knowledge as an instructor. His gift, coupled with the things I have done that make me, me – is really what made things work. I don’t think you could have substituted either of us with any other person and achieved the same result.

Thank you again, Captain Z!