By Katie Faulkner
Photography by Rich Smith
Jim and Michelle Curtin have always enjoyed escaping to the water and decompressing with the wake. When they married five years ago, they had a smaller vessel they enjoyed. “That was really my boat,” Jim says. “It was one I had before we met. So when we decided to upgrade, I named this boat for Michelle.” My Belle is a nod to the Beatles song, “Michelle My Belle.”
Married for five years now, the pair was enjoying a Sea Ray 340 but decided it was time for an upgrade to their current Sea Ray 40-foot motor yacht. With four grown children, demanding careers, and a network of friends, My Belle has become a haven for retreat as well as an ideal place to enjoy entertaining guests.
The pair found this particular vessel on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. “We took a trip down with our broker to look it over and have it surveyed,” Jim explains. After deciding to purchase it, their first real adventure on this boat began. “We had to get it home to Chattanooga, and that’s about a nine-day journey through the waterways. It’s appropriate to hire a captain for this type of trip, so we had Captain Ron Harr from Chattanooga help us bring the boat home,” Jim shares. On the way up the rivers, the vessel encountered large barges, which have to be expertly navigated. “We made it into tidal waters and encountered other vessels and scenarios on this new boat that would’ve been very challenging without Harr’s expertise,” Jim adds.