MV (Motor Vessel) Poseidon is really the culmination of a lifelong search for the perfect floating platform. As a boy of ten in Sacramento, California, I remember how excited my two brothers and I would be when the rains started in early winter because we knew that the drainage ditches, ponds, vacant lots, the gravel mining pits and any other surface depression would fill with water; and if we were ingenious enough and had scavenged the proper materials we could build our watercraft and “sail” them to such exciting destinations as the Tree Groves where the pirates congregated, the deep gravel pits full of enemy submarines, the bushes of our neighbor whose darkness held crocodiles; and, of course, there were good people to be rescued.
No inner tube, plywood sheet, old blanket, clothes pole or scrap of wood was neglected as we built the “ships.” Off we sailed, within the very small confines of our nautical world.
Of course, our boats and ships had to be hidden and secret, constructed in the basement where Mama or Nonna, our beloved but strict grandmother, could not possibly know what we were up to.
At the ages of fourteen, twelve and ten we were given an old rowboat that leaked despite all our patches. It sank in the ditch two houses down. Next we decided to build a proper ship of great proportions, ten feet long, made of discarded potato sacks and old inner tubes. It sank too!
Now with advice from my boss at the cabinet shop where I worked the night shift cleaning the shop and building drawers, dozens of them every night, I learned more about boats and, in about seven months in Mama’s basement, we built a plywood catamaran twelve feet long. It was a remarkable piece of engineering and quite pretty, too. When we started to paint it, my brother Robert dropped the paint which splattered the white primed boat with blue spots. We finished the paint job with intentionally thrown blue paint and named it ‘I.C. Spots.’ Now, when we could convince an adult to load IC Spots on top of a car, we would go fishing, frogging and rowing in the nearby ditches and sloughs. We had no motor and didn’t really understand sails, so we moved slowly but adventurously; saving maidens, finding treasures and chasing away pirates and other scoundrels.
Next we built a very usable runabout, scrounged an outboard motor, built a wooden trailer and started cruising the rivers, lakes and delta.
There was now a succession of boats each bigger and better all designed by me with my helper brothers. Then came race boats, ski boats and all kinds of boats except sailboats, which we never contemplated. My favorite retort when asked why we didn’t do sailboats was, tongue-in-cheek, “If God wanted us to sail, he wouldn’t have invented motors”.
In the following weeks, we’ll tell you more about Poseidon, how we found her, her original condition, and how we converted her into our perfect home and powerboat.