Anchored by Family & Friends

By Katie Faulkner


Photography by Med Dement


 


For the past four years, the Pratt family has enjoyed cruising the river on this gorgeous Carver 444 Motor Yacht, the Lulabelle. With trips ranging from multi-yacht Kentucky Derby parties to traveling with the Vol Navy to hanging out for the Riverbend Music Festival, the Lulabelle is the Pratts’ ticket to smooth travels at a moment’s notice. But, for this family, the best part about being boat owners is the special time enjoyed with family and friends.

“We’ve made some lifelong friends that we would have never had a chance to know if it weren’t for this boat.”
– Win Pratt

 


When they cast off for quality time, they usually head toward Booker T Washington State Park or Paradise Cove, where the kids like to jump off the back of the boat to swim and paddleboard. “We can go just us, or sometimes, some of our friends will cruise over there with us. It’s nice. We all just tie up together and let the kids play while we grill out,” Win says.

Although cell phones and iPads don’t come aboard, that doesn’t mean that the boat isn’t ‘high-tech’ enough for shared entertainment. With a cozy living area large enough to seat the whole family and a few friends, everyone can enjoy movie nights or game time with the television.

Connected to the living room is the galley, complete with a refrigerator and freezer, coffee maker, three-burner cook top, and a sink, where the family can prepare any amount of tasty grub their hearts desire.

For anyone that needs some peace and quiet, there are two fully stocked state rooms that are tucked away under the bow and the stern of the boat. Both rooms have a connecting bathroom with a vanity and full shower to make overnight stays and long days in the sun and water more comfortable.

The light colored décor featured throughout the interiors is a mix between farmhouse fresh and nautical with navy tones and bold patterns leading the way. Boxwood and succulent arrangements combine with orchids to lend a vibrant, welcoming tone throughout the space.

The closeness that the boat provides isn’t exclusive to just family members – being yacht owners automatically lands you in a community of boat enthusiasts. “A good friend of ours is actually a boat broker, and he helped us find this one. We bought it from Marty Puryear, who’s now at Erwin Marine,” Win says of the fortuitous encounter. “Not to mention, boats require a lot of maintenance, and boating people are really helpful. If I’m out working on something, I’ve had so many people here in the marina come by and ask if I needed help – they’ve been awesome!” he shares.

Some of the Pratts’ favorite memories involve making new friends through their aqueous journeys. Like when they took Lulabelle up through multiple locks to be part of the “Vol Navy,” a Tennessee Football fan tradition. Both Win and Lucy are University of Tennessee Alums, and have always wanted to be a part of the epic pilgrimage to the banks of Neyland Stadium. “You really don’t know who you’re going to tie up with, which is really cool. At least they’re all Vols fans!” Win laughs.

They’ve even started some traditions of their own to celebrate friendships they’ve forged on the river. “We participate in a huge derby party on the water every year. Last year, we had about eight boats travel up to Watts Bar Lake. We spent the whole weekend on the water, watching the derby. We had games and events, everyone dressed up Derby-style with big hats, and we had a dinghy race, best derby hat competition, and mint julip tasting,” Lucy says of her favorite trip.

With all the events they’ve enjoyed on the Lulabelle – everything from anniversaries to birthday parties, office parties, and cookouts – the main reason they fell in love with life on the water was because of its ability to make bonds with family and friends even stronger. “We just love being out here and being in our own little bubble. We love it for the kids, because they’re out here with nothing else to do but spend time with their family,” Lucy smiles. And friendships have emerged in this world all their own, that they’ll treasure forever. As Win puts it, “We’ve made some lifelong friends that we would’ve never had a chance to know if it weren’t for this boat.”

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