Re Metau
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Becoming Re Metau
2005
R E M E T A U
May 1986 Cruising World Ad for HC33
~ May 1986 Cruising World Ad for HC33 ~
Chronicle of Events
A Little Bit of Her-story
In 2005, I found our HC33 listed on a classifieds website for boat brokering. The woefully low price led to an assumption that the vessel suffered from serious defects, and nearly caused us to disregard the ad. But, having nothing better to do at that particular time, I contacted the broker, who redirected me to their own website. And that is where I discovered the reason for the discount.

The bargain boat had been repossessed. These liquidators normally dealt with large power yachts, and they wanted to unload the sole, small sailboat in their inventory posthaste. Careful scrutiny and professional assessments of this little gem convinced Don and me that we'd found a diamond just a little in the rough. It was incredibly difficult to restrain our excitement during the negotiations to 'take it off their hands.'

Telltales
The repugnant business of unwillingly relinquishing one's property meant contact with the previous owner was not possible, so everything onboard was a mystery. We were forever discovering tidbits of our vessel's past; a name stitched in canvas coverings, notes on old receipts, charts stashed in a cubby, floating keychain fobs advertising distant marinas. Clues had been left behind, but sadly, explanations had become part of the collateral damage.

By happy chance Re Metau's third owner, Harley eventually contacted me through this website and kindly provided some of Re Metau's sometimes sordid – sometimes sweet story. The history of all Hans Christian yachts was fraught with its own ebb and flow, but the period of our lady's inception occurred within what has been described as the "Golden Age" of Taiwanese boatbuilding.

Flying Our Colors
~ Flying Our Colors ~
All the Way From Taipei
After a decade of disagreements over designer royalties, bootlegged models, and mold ownership, the founder of Hans Christian Yachts, Californian John Edwards cast off all his enterprise's current conflicts and, in 1979, went back to the drawing board. His passion to build the ultimate offshore cruising sailboat for export to the US remained strong, so a new designer by the name of Harwood Ives was engaged, and Hansa Yachts and Shipbuilders of Taiwan, a state of the art boatyard built by noted engineer Herbert Guttler, was commissioned.

Bestowed with creativity, an exceptional eye for lines, and a love of time-honored style, Ives embraced what was perhaps the greatest technical design challenge to date. His blueprints lofted by Hansa's superb craftsmanship resulted in the creation of a sturdy, seaworthy, classic double-ender known as the Hans Christian 33 Traditional or HC33T. Proof of "Woody's" pride and confidence in the yard's workmanship was in the fact that Ives choose to take his own HC33T as payment.

An Erie Beginning
Our boat, number 93, was born in that very boatyard in August of 1985. Like a young Taiwanese bride, she crossed the vast ocean to meet her first owner, an American who, according to our historian (and confirmed by our later discovery of a decades old chart), launched her in Lake Erie. Ironically, Don and I were originally from Ohio, and each in our own time learned to sail on that very lake. While a challenging body of water to master, I imagined our stout little offshore cruiser's heart was a little dampened by the confining boundaries of that inland lake.

Harley alleged that the original owner wanted to live-aboard and, in an effort to coax his artist-wife to accept his pursuits, had the quarter berth converted to a large desk where she might work on her craft. Frankly, we were completely enamored with the practical alteration, so seamlessly constructed it was impossible to ascertain that it'd not been part of the original design. In any event, the floating studio didn't draw the wife in, the owner's sailing dream was scuttled, and eventually the sails were for sale.

Happy Don
~ Happy Don ~
Agape III for Owner II
The next chapter of our Hans Christian's story was in the custody of North Carolinians. Completely in love with their divine little craft, the new crew christened her "Agape III" (the name embroidered on her cockpit cushions when we took the helm). These charitable owners dipped Agape's keel in the lovely salt waters off New Bern, which must have been heavenly for the blue water cruiser. For several years, our happy little yacht returned from ocean adventures to the safety of a posh berth tucked up in the Trent River.

Tragedy hit in the form of breast cancer, taking the life of the first mate who, Harley implied, had been the catalyst for the couple's maritime exploits. The widower took his watery ward and wallowed down to Florida. After some time, he became smitten with an inland wench and the cost of courtship usurped the expenses of Agape's ministrations. In due time, our dejected ketch found herself moored and ignored in the waterway of Tequesta. Her neglected stuffing boxAn assembly which is used between sliding or turning parts, such as on a shaft between an inboard motor and a propeller, and prevents sea water from entering a boat. wept, and lifeless batteries could not spark the pump into keeping her tears at bay. With less than a decade under her keel, our spurned ship found herself slipping slowly into the sea.

Followed By A Moon Snail
Fortunately, in the autumn of 1996 resurrection was about to arrive all the way from Northern California. Searching for a sailboat to live-aboard and learn, a couple of optimistic swabbies saw possibilities in our sad little bucket of teak so sinfully left to ruin. With a borrowed dingy and a rented pump, the tenacious treasure hunters climbed aboard, waded through the puddled cabin sole, tightened the leaking stuffing box, and buoyed Agape up out of her misery.
In My Bearings
~ In My Bearings ~

By October, the dynamic deckhands made a discount deal for the derelict, docked their bargain booty at the Blowing Rocks marina (found on a set of floating key fobs chained to the deck key), and dubbed her "Moon Snail". In due course, the lunar limpet was brought back to her Bristol beauty, all the while sailing between St. Augustine and Biscayne Bay. Once comfortable with their nautical knowledge, the skipper and his first mate turned the rudder toward the Abacos. Moon Snail's sails must have billowed with the joy of finally being in the offshore element for which she was built.

MS-Nomer SV-Vulcania
In 1999, now shipshape and stately, Moon Snail was sold at a tidy profit. Harley handed the helm over to an executive from New Jersey, who immediately scraped her sweet name from her stern and rechristened her 'Vulcania,' a misnomer of epic absurdity in my opinion. The original Vulcania, of which pictures hung in the saloon when we took possession, was a 1920s Italian ocean liner. I could never comprehend the incongruent analogy between a pretentious, profligate passenger ship of fire and a sagacious, self-sufficient sailboat made for wind.

Our chronicler noted that shortly after taking over the title, the magniloquent minded Mad Man was transferred to San Francisco, and planned to have his dwarf-sized cruise ship shipped across the country. Unfortunately for him, the women in his world refused to move and Vulcania never left the east coast. Divorce? Discharge? Detention? Destitution? Harley had no more to add with regard to how our little ship got left on the auction block.

Where I Belong
~ Where I Belong ~
Out of the Corner of My Eye

I found our HC33T's chronology of particular interest in that I feel she may have always been in my bearings. My first sailing experiences took place in 1986, on Lake Erie – the very lake at most likely the very year our Hans Christian was first launched.

Though Erie is a Great Lake, compared to the 95,000 miles of shoreline that surrounds the continental United States, it is but a puddle. Undoubtedly, we were on the same body of water at the same time. Perhaps I saw her sailing by all those years ago. Perhaps she sparked in me, a land-bound nautical novice, the idea of cruising around the world.

In the early 90s, I took my young daughter for an ocean side vacation to, of all places, New Bern North Carolina. Did I see Agape floating in her slip then? I'm certain that beautiful double-ender with her long bowsprit and teak brightwork would have caught my eye.

There were other vacations spent up and down the coast of Florida throughout those years. Did I see Moon Snail anchored off Biscayne Bay when I crossed over to Key Largo? Did she rekindle a decade old dream? And there was one odd-ball adventure to Mystic, Connecticut – a monkey's fist throw from the Pawcatuck River where Vulcania waited for me to find her (and rechristen her with a more fitting name).

Where She Belongs
The joys, exhilaration, and thrills we've experienced onboard, as well as the blood, sweat, and tears we've shed on our boat transformed Re Metau from an inert mass of teak and technology to a tangible essence of sorts; a kindred-spirit, a member of the family, an extension of our lives. In learning about her past, I couldn't help but believe there was the hand of destiny at play. No matter what my imagination invents, I know our future together will fulfill an ocean full of dreams.
About Us
About Re Metau
About Our Journey
Becoming Re Metau
About Our Cruising Kitty
Neptune
Tour Our Floating Home
Big Living on a Little Boat
About Our 1st Boat
A Morgan 24 – Points Unknown
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