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About Our Journey
Becoming Re Metau
2005
Road Trip
~ Road Trip! ~
Survey – Sea Trial – Sale
A Gem
My daughter Genevieve had just graduated from college and hadn't yet accepted a job offer. So when I called her and said "Road Trip!" she was onboard. The 9 hour drive to Pawcatuck, Connecticut took us through the mountainous beauty of Pennsylvania and New York, not scenery that'd lull one to sleep. It was too late to see the boat once we arrived, but we had massages waiting for us. Genevieve's stepmom, a luxury hotel chain employee, booked us a room and spa treatments to make the weekend even more special and we couldn't have been more grateful to Mary Ellen.

The next morning we met up with the broker at the boat yard. Vulcania was up on the hard, and it looked as if all her gear on deck was just thrown everywhere. The brightwork had seen better days for sure, but her bones were good. The teak deckbox, teak swim ladder, butterfly hatches, rails and belay pins were all in fine shape under the peeling varnish. Below was in a bit better shape, but to be honest, I didn't know most of what it was I was looking at. So I took hundreds of close up pictures of everything in sight. But as soon as I stepped foot on the deck I knew we had found a gem (incidentally, my daughter's initials were GEM!)

The Future Re Metau
~ The Future Re Metau ~
Road Trip…Road Trip

Don and I returned to Pawcatuck the following week, and he fell in love with the vessel just as I had though he probably only understood slightly more than I. We scheduled a survey, launch and sea trial for Memorial Day weekend. A third day-long trip in a month was not something I was looking forward to, but we were so excited about this hidden jewel we didn't want anyone to beat us to it.

The survey turned up some issues with equipment, but nothing we couldn't deal with. Finding problems is what surveyors do and it was already obvious the electronics were outdated. The important thing was that the hull was sound, the engine was in fine working order, and the sails were in good shape. She was strong and seaworthy. So we readied for the next day's sea trial, and plopped her in the water. She floated! Really, that's what was most important.

Don and I spent the night onboard, and thus met the sailor living on his boat in the slip beside us. He eyed Vulcania with envy, and after Don told him how we intended to purchase her, I heard him mumbling about negotiating a higher bid. My heart skipped a possessive beat as I lied that our offer had already been accepted pending tomorrow's sea trial.

"You let me know if it falls through. I'd love to own this boat!" he proclaimed.

From that point on he seemed to shadow our every move around the yard.

Foggy Sea Trial
Having a certified captain aboard during the sea trial was required by the brokers. We had some trouble scheduling the knowledgeable sailing captain recommended by the surveyor, and so settled on the guy who owned the marina where the boat was being stored. We were warned that Jay wasn't a sailor, but felt we really just needed someone to navigate us down the river.
Compass to Our Future
~ Compass to Our Future ~

We planned on returning to Ohio the afternoon of the sea trial so our schedule was tight. Regrettably, that day dawned with thick fog. But more disconcerting was that the night before, it dawned on us we needed to rig the jibA triangular sail set forward of the forward most mast. And its halyardA rope used to hoist a sail up. had been accidently hauled up to the top of the mast!

The fog kept us socked in, but gave us the opportunity to rectify the sail situation. So our tenacious neighbor lent us a boson's chair and moral support, and Don hauled me up the mast to retrieve the errantly freed halyard. The lessons of what was in store for us were already being taught, but what a view!

The brume began to clear by noon so Jay gave us the go ahead and expertly motored us out to sea. The closer to the mouth of the river we got, the thicker the fog got. Once in open water, visibility was no more than the length of our boat. I sat on the bow and tried to listen for other vessels, but no one – including us – should have been out in that pea soup.

The sails flapped lifelessly in the absence of any wind, so we'd just have to imagine what it'd be like to handle the boat under canvas. Jay flipped on the autopilot and let go of the wheel to ensure she stayed on course. We had no other functioning gadgets to test, so that was about the extent of our shakedown cruise.

Fortunately, though Jay grew up on this river and could have found his way blindfolded, which is essentially how the situation was – no visibility and no instruments save a compass. We were so thankful we had hired a pilot with the skills to do exactly what we needed for the sea trial – especially on this foggy, windless day!

Points Unknown

In hindsight, I think about what a leap this entire endeavor was for Don and me. We had but one season of sailing on Lake Erie; one very simple, small boat that we tended and navigated on our own. We were a couple of Midwesterners living comfortably in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood, close to family and friends and all we knew. The boat's survey wasn't exactly glowing, and the sea trial proved little. And still, we decided to launch ourselves into the complete unknown – unknown vessel, unknown location, unknown ocean, unknown way of life.

But there was one thing in which I was certain, in that I had never been more sure of anything in my life than I was about what the future held for us in that boat. And Vulcania was no longer for sale!