Becoming People of the Sea
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REMETAU
BecomingIcons/BecomingPeopleOfTheSea.gifA Little Bit of Her-story
Cruising World May 1986 Ad
~ May, 1986 Cruising World Ad for HC33 ~
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 where I discovered the reason for the discount.

The bargain boat had been repossessed. These liquidators normally dealt with power yachts, and being the sole sailboat in their inventory, wanted to unload it 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’.

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, pictures hung on the bulkhead, notes written on old receipts, charts stashed in a cubby. Clues had been left behind, but sadly, explanations had become part of the collateral damage.

By happy chance Harley, Re Metau's third owner eventually contacted me through our website. He kindly provided me with 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 1985 yacht’s inception occurred within what has been described as the “Golden Age” of Taiwanese boatbuilding.

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.

Flying Our Colors
~ Flying Our Colors ~
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. 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.

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 birth converted to a large desk.  Frankly, we were completely enamored with the practical alteration, so seamlessly crafted 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 boat was put up on the adoption block.

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 possession).  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 widowed 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 box 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.

Happy Don
~ Happy Don ~
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.

By October, the dynamic deckhands made a discount deal for the derelict, docked their bargain booty at the Blowing Rocks marina, 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 firstmate 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.

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 salon 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.

I found our HC33’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. 
In My Bearings
~ Always In My Bearings ~
Though Erie was a Great Lake, compared to the 95,000 miles of shoreline that surrounded the United States, it was 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 bright work 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 give her a more fitting name).

The joys, exhilaration, and thrills we'd experienced onboard, as well as the blood, sweat, and tears we'd 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.

Our Dream Boat
Our Dream Boat
~ May, 2005 ~
We started looking for our perfect ship with a trip to Annapolis. While there, we were able to get a good look at the different types of vessels we had considered, and narrowed our search. Our first consideration was a...
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Survey - Sea Trial - Sale
Survey - Sea Trial - Sale
~ June, 2005 ~
My daughter had just graduated from college, so she and I took the first road trip to Connecticut to check out the boat. I took hundreds of close up pictures to show Don, but as soon as I stepped foot on the deck...
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Moving South
Moving South
~ July, 2005 ~
Family members provided me with a place to stay on Anna Maria Island in the Tampa Bay area, while I found a marina to live in. Don would follow as soon as he found employment.  We put the house up for sale, sold the contents on the internet and gave the rest away, then waited for...
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Together Again
Together Again
~ August, 2005 ~
Don got an offer to work remotely for a company in Canada, and prepared to come down a month later. But when he turned in his two weeks notice, his company was not willing to ...
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Shipping a Ship
Shipping a Ship
~ September, 2005 ~
We finally received the papers for the boat at the end of September. That’s when the true fun began. The amount of scheduling and preparation required for shipping the ship was a real challenge.  We made arrangements for the marina in Connecticut to haul our boat out of the water, and scheduled a ...
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Sailing Down the Highway
Sailing Down the Highway
~ October, 2005 ~
Don was scheduled to fly home with Halley the cat on Sunday afternoon. The trucker was to arrive for the pick-up that morning, but showed up a day late. They were very good about keeping us informed so we were feeling better about our choice. Mom and dad had also planned to leave on Sunday as well, but...
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She's Finally Here
She's Finally Here!
~ October, 2005 ~
On Wednesday morning, we got the call that our ship was crossing the Manatee Bridge to Anna Maria Island. Don and my uncle raced down to the marina where the launch was planned, and watched as our trucker made a wrong turn and...
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Yo Ho Ho - Here We Go
Yo Ho Ho - Here We Go
~ October, 2005 ~
We headed up the inter-gulf coast waterway toward the Manatee River. We successfully cleared the two draw bridges and headed out to the bay. We rolled along with the waves in rising weather, and motored up the river staying close...
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First Ship Slip
First Ship Slip
~ October, 2005 ~
We had friends waiting on the dock, ready to help us tie up and wondering why we were anchoring in the middle of the river. A quick radio message to Tow Boat US, and we were eventually hauled into a spot very close to our slip. Upon learning that we were new boat-owners and live-aboards, the marina maintenance staff were taking bets on...
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Galley Gadgets Icon
Galley Gadgets
~ or the 'Kitchen' in land lubber's terms ~
All of the teak below was in fantastic shape, and we couldn’t help but be drawn to its beauty. I selected fabric that blended the warm browns and dark greens of the interior and sewed curtains and matching pillows. The interior of our ship just glows when the sun light shines through them. Many thanks to Marie for the use of...
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Don on the Job
Don on the Job
~ or Working from the Salon ~
Don works remotely as a computer programmer for an energy company up north. We had to have internet access in order for him to do this, so that narrowed down our choices of marinas. But it allowed him to keep his seniority and benefits, and trips back up to the office gave him a chance to...
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Sleeping Arrange
Sleeping Arrangements
~ the Pullman Berth & Guest Accommodations ~
The original location of the nav station was replaced with drawers and a small locker. The amount of storage we have is amazing, with adequate space for all our cruising stores. We also have a propane cabin heater which keeps us nice and toasty during the cool snaps in winter. Cool snaps, like 60 degrees, yeah right! One of the attractions to this type of vessel was...
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At the Head of the Boat
At the Head of the Boat
~ Or the 'Bathroom' Facilities ~
Our head is located in the bow of the boat, and the layout allowed for a separate shower stall - very nice. We’ve got a teak seat, tile around the base and a fiberglass surround. We have a granite topped counter with a stainless steel sink, a medicine cabinet above and storage underneath. The toilet (below the louvered doors to the chain locker) is...
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Starting Point
Starting Point
~ Beginning a Liveaboard Life at Twin Dolphins Marina ~
The Twin Dolphins, our first marina was wonderful. We had a swimming pool and hot tub, four large, private shower facilities, dock carts and storage boxes, a ships store and fueling facilities, a personal postal box, laundry, free parking, cable TV and WiFi internet access. We had garbage bins at the end of each dock, pump out from the slip, and discounts at the marina restaurant. The harbor master was very...
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Copyright © 2013 Diana E Reynolds - SV Re Metau.  All rights reserved.

The ancient knowledge of navigation via earthly and heavenly patterns, held by the Re Metau is vanishing as their existence is influenced by western ways.