Anchors Away

From the mesmerizing sight of subtly swelling water rippling beside you to the exhilaration of accelerating past white capped waves, time on the boat is ideal for restorative relaxation. Few hobbies combine as many enjoyable qualities – gorgeous aesthetics, enviable craftsmanship, onset adrenaline, quality time with loved ones, and the freedom of beautiful open spaces. Surrounded by waterways and scenic vistas, Chattanooga is the perfect place for these boaters to cast anchors away and embrace all that the boating lifestyle offers.

By Katie Faulkner

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Photos by Rich Smith

Dr. Joe & Jan Coatti   

Take Time | 2015 Regal 46 Sport Coupe

 

For Joe and Jan, their pursuit of quality time has instilled in them a love of boating. They tried four different boats over the years before landing on the perfect model, a 46-foot Regal Sport Coupe. “It’s not Regal’s largest, but it’s large enough to navigate the open ocean without being too big to manage. It just felt right,” Joe shares.

Jan and Joe ordered their dream boat to spec, building it at the Regal manufacturer near Cape Canaveral where they hand-selected each finish. Jan shares, “It was such a fun experience!
We
got to pick everything from the countertops to the upholstery and more. We also toured their facility to see how they craft these gorgeous vessels. It was very impressive to see how they cast them, dip them, and test them in a huge canal nearby.” The boat features twin state rooms with heads and showers, an electric grill, a topside cockpit with retracting doors and windows, and plenty more luxury features.

Once their dream boat was completed, the Coattis were given an orientation to their vessel by a veteran captain. “He spent three days showing us every nook and cranny and teaching us every detail about the boat,” Joe says. “Learning the new propulsion system was interesting – it goes to a joystick system when you dock it, which was a challenge at first, but now I can put it anywhere with precision.”

Around the time they purchased their boat, the Coattis lost some dear friends unexpectedly. “That was really a message to us to start taking time to be together and doing the things we’ve wanted to do. So, we named this boat Take Time as a reminder,” Joe explains.

Since making the intentional decision to increase quality time, the Coattis have captained Take Time on many trips. They even navigated their relocation to Chattanooga from Connecticut by themselves a couple of years ago. On that trip, they traveled down to Pompano Beach, Florida (where Joe’s brother lives), and then back up through Lake Okeechobee, Mobile Bay, and into the river system that leads to Chattanooga. The total trip was nearly 1,700 miles and part of the Great Loop, a path of waterways along the Eastern Coast, which they hope to complete soon.

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Photos by Lanewood Studio

Dr. John & Jane McSpadden

Nauti Buoys | 1958 Chris-Craft Constellation

 

When you can appreciate the beauty of the boat as much as the scenic areas you sail in, you know you have a special vessel. This stunning vintage Chris-Craft Constellation is shared by a father-son duo who enjoys working on their boat as much as taking it out. Dr. John McSpadden and his son, Matthew Brock, had been looking for a classic craft when they came across this beauty. “We weren’t looking for speed, just something to cruise around in leisurely,” John explains. “We both enjoy having friends on the boat with our wives and just having casual get-togethers. Plus it was the type of boat I could work on, so it was what we wanted.”

After purchasing the boat from its long-time owner, John set to work
on restoration and upgrades. “We entirely redid the interior, from the custom navy anchor carpet to the beautiful mahogany woodwork.
I added a cushioned window seat that folds out into a bed and redid the bunk-style state room,” John shares. There’s always sanding and polish-
ing to be done, and the exteriors are constantly being worked on. “To
me, the boat is like a sculpture that allows you to keep working on it.”

John jokes that even though the vintage aspects of this boat may be impractical, it’s still a head-turner. “Old boats evoke a very different emotion. I rarely walk away from it without turning my head to have another look and wonder what I’ll work on next. And I think, ‘There she sits, proud and unapologetically impractical,’” he laughs.

John’s wife, Jane, enjoys slow cruising with him and the grandkids or groups of friends. “It just makes the journey more enjoyable,” she says of their leisurely days on the water.

“Matthew and his wife love to take their friends out on the boat to spend time, and we do the same, but I actually enjoy working on it more. So it serves both purposes really well,” John says. In fact, they named the boat with a nod to the fact that it’s something a father and son share, calling it Nauti Buoys. Together they have maintained the vibrant beauty and soulful purpose of this vintage vessel.

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Photos by Lanewood Studio

Gary & Makala Bumgarner 

Blessed Bums | 1998 Navigator 5000

 

When Gary and Makala set out to purchase a boat in 2014, they found exactly what they needed in this Navigator 5000 yacht. The construction is sturdy enough to be seaworthy while also withstanding rougher waters in the river while traveling. “For us, it was important for the boat to fit our whole family because we have three boys, who were getting older, and we just wanted a way to spend time together as a family. Plus, this model was a little more solid on the water,” Gary explains.

After purchasing it, they immediately upgraded the interiors and went to work making it their own. They replaced all of the electronic systems and put in new navigation equipment. “It had been pristinely kept by the previous owner, and one of the things he had done that we really liked was he ordered it with a custom upper helm that is larger and holds about 12 people. It’s nice; you don’t have to be alone while you’re driving,” Gary says.

For the Bumgarner family, this boat has been put to good use. From plentiful birthday parties and driving lessons for the boys to weekly date nights for Gary and Makala, they don’t waste any opportunity to enjoy it. “We like to have friends on it; we like to take it up to Ari’s restaurant or to Steve’s Landing. We used to go every Friday night and have dinner somewhere with friends. Makala and I still take it out for date night once a week,” he shares.

The family always docks it downtown near the aquarium for Riverbend, and they head over to Chickamauga for the huge neighborhood Fourth of July fireworks display. “One of my favorite things to do is take it up to Knoxville for Tennessee games,” Gary says. In all the years of participating in the Vol Navy, they’ve had some memorable names on the decks of the boat. “One time, I’ll never forget, I went to get some more ice and, on my way back, some guy said to me, ‘Hey man, Brett Favre is on your boat!’ He was in Knoxville representing Orca coolers and had seen a couple of Yetis on our boat and decided to come talk to us and hang out,” Gary recalls with a laugh. Phil Fulmer, Tim Tebow, and Booger McFarland have also stopped by while they’ve been docked in Knoxville.

However, none of that compares to one of Gary’s most important memories. “One of the best things I ever did was take the boat up to Knoxville, just me and Dad, and we spent the whole weekend together. He passed not long after that, and I’m so glad we got to do that trip together.”

The Bumgarners know the value of time spent together and don’t waste a moment getting to the fun times.

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Martin & Orenda Gregory 

Whisper | 1997 J/32

 

Martin and Orenda grew up with a parallel love of boating that actually ensured their first date.

“I knew I couldn’t be serious about someone who didn’t love boating,” Orenda says. “And when a mutual friend first introduced us, Martin told me he was interested in sailing, skiing, and being on the water. So I invited him to my parents’ lake house to verify that he really was!” she laughs. Forty-six years later, the pair still loves to be on the water together.

Some years after they married, Martin and Orenda fell in love with the J/32 sailboat. “We saw the very first advertisement for the J/32 in a 1996 magazine, and Orenda tore the full page ad out and kept it in our filing cabinet at home. We couldn’t buy it at the time, but we knew we didn’t want to forget about it,” Martin shares.

When the Gregorys started to look around for a new boat in 2014, Martin found a J/32 for sale online. Orenda called the dealer the next day. As she explains, “The dealer made it clear that the seller didn’t want to let her go to just anybody, so I asked, ‘Would he be impressed with someone who has held on to the original advertisement for this boat for 18 years?’” After that call, the Gregorys drove to Chicago to see Whisper and immediately fell in love. It had been pristinely maintained, and it shone in all its classic nautical glory with clean lines and a navy hull and tan deck. After purchasing the boat, they decided to leave the name and the hailing port the same. 

The Gregorys had found a boat with both speed and comfort and have been enjoying its unique features ever since. They have raced Whisper several times, but they also spend countless afternoons enjoying the work and reward of slicing the open water on Chickamauga Lake. Orenda has sewn new curtains for all the hatches. They’ve upgraded their jib and mainsail and installed new depth, speed, and wind instruments. The boat has a V-berth, two settees, head, galley, and pressurized hot and cold water. It also has a 3-cylinder diesel engine to help navigate in and out of the marina.

The pair’s passion for their hobby has remained strong through the years. “We continue to enjoy sailing with our friends and racing occasionally,” Martin says. “And the beauty of sailing is that there’s always more to learn!” SG

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