By Julia Sharp
Photography by Lanewood Studio
CityScope® magazine Southern Gentleman™ – Vintage Vessels Preserved by Locals
Riding in a boat on open water feels similar to riding in a sports car. On the outside, they just look downright cool. Step inside, and a rumbling V8 engine reminds you of the sheer power beneath you. Each hairpin turn sends butterflies to your stomach.
Cruising in a vintage boat only adds to the drama. The knowledge that you’re gliding across the water in something so unique that only a select few remain further accentuates how unique this experience is.
While the following five boats were built over a span of 40 years, each evokes the craftsmanship, glamour, and grace of a bygone era.
“I remember going down to the Century boat manufacturing facility with my dad and twin brother in the 50s. I’d dream of a day when I might own one, and now that dream has come true.”
– Jim Sattler
Jim and Lynda Sattler
Few boat owners can say their vintage vessel is one of only six known to remain. Even fewer than that can say their father designed and made part of the boat, but Jim Sattler is one of those few.
His 1959 Century Coronado, fondly named Dad’s Design, is one of 189 built by Century in Manistee, Michigan. A mere 31 were manufactured with a Chrysler Marine 353 cu. in. V8 engine, and only six out of those 31 remain. Jim’s father James, who owned a tool and die company in Michigan, was commissioned by Century to design and build the Coronado’s windshield and sliding hard top. This was actually the first ever curved windshield used in the boating industry, and the Sattlers bought this boat in remembrance of James.
“I remember going down to the Century boat manufacturing facility with my dad and twin brother in the 50s,” Jim remarks. “Dad would meet to discuss the designs, and we got to see the various Century boat models being made. We even got to go out on test rides. At 14 years old, this was very exciting for me. I’d dream of a day when I might own one, and now that dream has come true.”
Gary Chapman, Jim’s son, helps his father manage and maintain the boat. “In 2009, we purchased the boat out of a museum in Wisconsin. Its owner lived in Chicago, and the boat had been in the museum for over 20 years,” he says. “It’s in great condition, and we baby it. We didn’t want to change anything, so it’s as original as you can get.” In fact, the only new part of the boat is the paint and varnish. Dad’s Design is so pristinely original that it won “Most Original Century Boat” in three wooden boat shows.
Jim and his wife Lynda enjoy taking Dad’s Design out in early summer evenings on Watts Barr Lake to cruise and watch the sunset. “The lake is usually very quiet and smooth at that time of day,” Jim says. “This boat was just meant to cruise.” It’s that relaxed, vintage vibe that makes cruising down the Tennessee River in Dad’s Design feel like a journey back to its 1959 maiden voyage on Lake Michigan.
“Anyone who has owned an old classic will tell you that there’s something uniquely different about a wooden boat. Each one has a soul that speaks to you, and this boat spoke to me.”
– Craig Miller
Craig and Risa Miller
The story of how this stunning, all-original 1967 Fairliner came to Chattanooga begins with a happy accident. On their third wedding anniversary, Risa Miller was browsing her husband’s wish list on eBay and decided to bid for the smaller of two boats Craig had his eye on. Rather than bidding on the small boat, she actually made an offer for the much larger Fairliner but quickly realized her bid was too far below the listed price for the owner to accept. As it turns out, the price was right, and the owner accepted her low bid! She and Craig then made arrangements for the boat to be shipped from Idaho to Tennessee.
The Millers named their boat Mrs. Millie in honor of Craig’s late mother. “My mother Millie was the matriarch to so many people, and we feel like our boat is the matriarch of the lake. She had a special way of making people feel welcome, and our boat is the same way,” Craig says.
Over the last 50 years, the boat has been meticulously cared for and is all-original, except for the paint that’s replaced regularly on wooden boats. The only addition Craig made was adding a custom swim platform. “The new platform is more functional and designed to be wider for lounging, and it’s easier for our dog to access,” he says. “The design also created some space for us to add a perfectly placed ‘M’ for Miller, and we love it!”
Craig says the classic lines, golden color scheme, authentic materials, and striking red mahogany fly bridge make the Fairliner unique and special to him. “Anyone who has owned an old classic will tell you that there’s something uniquely different about a wooden boat. Each one has a soul that speaks to you, and this boat spoke to me,” he says. “Wooden boats are also very nostalgic – they’re the perfect backdrop for making lasting family memories.”
“Of all the places we’ve been, Chattanooga is simply outstanding. We meet lots of boaters from around the country, and they all say the same when they visit here.”
– Hal Baker
Hal and Cheryl Baker
Hal and Cheryl Baker’s 1976 Marine Trader is known as a trawler boat, which is typically used for long saltwater fishing voyages. So how did a boat built in Taiwan and meant for the ocean end up in Chattanooga? This boat actually spent most of its life on the Chesapeake Bay and was brought to the Tennessee River by a former owner in 1988. The Bakers had an express cruiser parked in the marina slip next to the Marine Trader, and after admiring it for years, they decided to purchase it in 1998.
The Bakers named their first boat Esta Bueno, meaning “this is good,” which they picked up while exploring archeological sites in Honduras. For the Marine Trader, they chose Mas Bueno, “this is better.” “We picked this name because it left room for one more boat to be the best, but we don’t think we’ll ever move away from Mas Bueno after all we’ve done together,” Hal says.
In Mas Bueno, Hal and Cheryl traveled 10,000 miles to complete The Loop, which begins in the Southeast and winds through New York Harbor, Canada, the Great Lakes, and back down the Mississippi River. Hal is now the Harbor Host for Chattanooga, welcoming Loopers (those traveling The Loop) to the Scenic City.
After Hal replaced the original refrigerator and generator and Cheryl recovered the cushions, Mas Bueno was ready for adventure. “The boat was designed by experts in marine architecture, and we love the original look. We keep the teak bright, and we’ve repainted the hull and cabin to keep everything pristine,” Hal says. “The boat’s features are generally unseen in these waters, and a single engine without any bow or stern thrusters is rare in pleasure boats in the area. She turns heads wherever she sails,” he adds.
The couple said cruising around the Statue of Liberty and spending six months in New Orleans are some of their most cherished memories, but the fondest of all took place here in Chattanooga. “Then-Mayor Bob Corker’s chief of staff joined us for a river cruise before the 21st Century Waterfront was developed. We spoke about making the waterfront friendly to boaters, and boy did they respond,” Hal laughs. “Of all the places we’ve been, Chattanooga is simply outstanding. We meet lots of boaters from around the country, and they all say the same when they visit here,” he adds.
“This is our second trawler, and we enjoy her slow pace, rock solid construction, and miserly fuel consumption. We think she has distinctive lines, and she’s a joy to make a trip in.”
– Kemp Harr
Kemp and Anne Harr
If you’ve ever cruised around Chickamauga Lake and spotted a couple sitting at the bow of an elegant white trawler, there’s a good chance it might’ve been Kemp and Anne Harr. The bow is their favorite spot to relax and watch the time go by, and their 1991 Grand Banks 49 Classic is one of the rarer boats seen on the waters near Chattanooga. In fact, Singapore-based American Marine only manufactured 126 of this particular model, and the Harr’s boat is number 89.
Because trawlers are designed to withstand choppy ocean waves, they’re even smoother on freshwater and ideal for those looking to cruise. “This is our second trawler, and we enjoy her slow pace, rock solid construction, and miserly fuel consumption,” Kemp says. “We think she has distinctive lines, and she’s a joy to make a trip in.”
The Harrs named their boat Harrmony, which is a fitting name for such a smooth, serene boat. “It’s a play on our last name and the tone we seek with friends and the water while we’re spending time on the boat,” Kemp says. “We like to take trips with friends and family up and down the Tennessee River. We have an amazing natural resource right here in our backyard – clean water, beautiful mountains, and hiking and biking trails that are right off the river. We also like to take her downtown and use her as a weekend getaway,” he adds.
While the Grand Banks’ hull is fiberglass, it’s made to look like wooden planks that were used in the original models from the early 70s. All of the teak detailing on the rails, trim, and interior cabin were handcrafted by carpenters at the Singapore workshop. These striking original features make Harrmony stand out on the water, and the only modification has been to the stereo so Kemp and Anne can play music from their smartphones.
When the Harrs purchased their boat in early 2016, they actually picked it up from the previous owner in Florida. “We initially got a four knot push from the Gulf Stream, cut through the alligator-filled Okeechobee Waterway, and then had to duck into the Intercostal Waterway to avoid a major squall in the gulf,” Kemp says. “It’s been fun learning how to handle a 52-foot long vessel weighing 60,000 pounds. The trip up from Ft. Lauderdale was full of excitement.”
“A lot of people have never seen a Hinckley before, and I love seeing their excitement. It’s a custom built boat, so no two are exactly alike.”
– Mike Walden
Mike and Amy Walden
A Hinckley boat might not be a familiar sight to some people, but it isn’t because they aren’t stunning to look at. It’s because they’re extremely rare. With their sleek, sculpted lines and high quality materials, Hinckley boats are considered to be some of the most beautiful on the water. This particular boat was handcrafted and made to order in 2002, and Mike purchased the boat from its previous owner in 2015.
“I’d never seen a Hinckley before, and a friend of mine mentioned the Picnic model line to me. The Classic Picnic was a little tall, and I wanted something that could get under the bridge near my house on the lake,” Mike says. “We started looking at them, and I just fell in love with this boat. It had all the options I was looking for, including the teak and different technology.”
Mike and Amy named the boat t/t On Guard, which is a witty reference to their company, Walden Security. The “t/t” stands for “tender to,” which means this vessel accompanies another of the same name.
Brian McNeal, who works at Erwin Marine Sales and represented the Waldens during the purchase, says the boat was restored to its original condition when Mike sent it to the Hinckley service yard in Savannah, Georgia. “It was a very nice, well-kept boat when he purchased it, but now it looks like it did the day it was built. Mike had the boat painted, reupholstered, and revarnished to Hinckley standards,” Brian says.
One of Mike and Amy’s favorite things to do when taking t/t On Guard out includes cruising around to look at the beautiful mountains and homes surrounding Chickamauga Lake. “We also enjoy taking the boat out and docking at one of the restaurants on the water. It gives us access to areas we can’t go in our bigger boat, and it cuts over the water very nicely because it just weighs a little over 10,000 pounds,” Mike says.
In addition to taking the boat out with family and friends, Mike simply has a blast getting to talk to other boaters when they’re on the water. “A lot of people have never seen a Hinckley before, and I love seeing their excitement. It’s a custom-built boat, so no two are exactly alike,” Mike says. “It’s a very technologically advanced boat, but people often think it’s much older because of the way it looks,” he adds. Some things simply never go out of style, and a Hinckley is just that – timeless.