Client Profile: A Lifelong Learner by Land and by Sea

September 04, 2018

 

When you spend 36 years in the field of education, developing a passion for learning is a given. Nevertheless, Dom Mucci never expected his insatiable quest for knowledge to transform him and wife, Debi, into yachties.

“I’ve had many boats in my life,” reports Dom, “but they were 14- to 19-foot runabouts—so, no overnights.” After retiring as Superintendent of the Springs School District in East Hampton, New York, Dom decided to continue his education by becoming a New York State Certified Mixologist. Those credentials led to occasional gigs on East Hampton private charter cruises aboard 65- to 75-foot yachts. “One day while chatting up a skipper, I asked, “What do you need to take the helm on a vessel like this?” Dom recalls. Not surprisingly, he went back to school—again—for his Captain’s License. “And soon after that, I earned my 50 Ton Masters,” Dom laughs.

 

A Yacht of Their Own

In fact, Dom was having so much fun learning about yachts that Debi suggested the couple buy one. It was an exhausting two-year search, during which Dom enrolled in a hands-on course in North Carolina aboard a 40-foot Defever Trawler.” This was a slow boat to anywhere,” he recalls, “but we learned how to handle her.” By then, Dom and Debi had narrowed their choice to a Grand Banks Trawler—and their search continued.

At a 2017 Passagemaker TrawlerFest event, Dom and Debi enlisted the help of Haywood May, a yacht broker with Zimmerman Marine. It took another year before May helped the Muccis find the yacht of their dreams: a 42-foot Grand Banks Classic Trawler. “We took delivery of Angelina (named for my mother) in May of this year,” Dom says. One small problem? This yacht has twin engines, and Dom admits “not knowing jack” about diesel engines. Solution? You guessed it! Dom enrolled in twin courses—one entitled Marine Diesel Engines and the other Advanced Marine Diesel Engines. “That really increased my confidence,” says Dom, who loves to tinker.

 

Pantaenius: A Perfect Fit

What was never a problem was finding the right yacht insurance. “I had seen Cary Wiener speak at TrawlerFest, so I gave Pantaenius a call,” Dom reports. “I explained that this was our first REAL big boat, and I knew very little about the world of yacht insurance.”

To the rescue: Kristina Cherubino. “Although I have never met Kristina in person, I can tell you that from my first conversation with her, I knew I had selected the right firm. She was professional and pleasant in her greeting, helpful and willing to answer any questions I had,” Dom says.

Adds the lifelong learner, “Kristina was patient and took the time to explain all the ‘ins and outs’ I should be aware of to make informed decisions about our policy. I called many, many times to speak with Kristin, and she had me feel that I was her only customer (I know I wasn't!). If it was necessary to leave a message, her call back and response time was minimal. That's what I call customer care!”

 

One Step at a Time

On Angelina’s maiden voyage, May and the Muccis spent 3.5 days cruising from South Bristol, Maine to Point Lookout, Long Island. “The scenery—particularly the whale watching—was amazing,” Dom says.

Looking ahead, the Muccis, who are parents of five and grandparents of nine (with number ten on the way), plan to take “baby steps” as they grow more comfortable at the helm. “We’ll focus on Long Island and the Massachusetts area—probably doing week-long cruises at a time,” Dom reports. “Long-term, we’re looking at heading down to North Carolina, cruising the Intracoastal Waterway and maybe even tackling the Loop.”

Regardless of their destination, one thing is for certain: the learning will continue!