Part 3 - Becoming Istaboa

Becoming Istaboa

Now back home in Tennessee, with a talented group of boat fixers at our disposal, we went about making her Istaboa.
In the fresh waters of the Tennessee River we started the process of returning her to almost new condition. A little rubbing brought back a new boat shine - upgraded the electronics - removed the very beefy stainless steel rub rails and had the scratches removed and polished - new canvas - bottom paint - the teak stern cap rail was refinished then topped with 10 coats of Awlbrite. We kept the Boatronix guys busy that first winter.

A foggy morning on Bay Springs Lake, Mississippi 2008

While in Tennessee she was always berthed in a covered slip, out of the sun, which kept her gel coat shiny.

Some years, business kept us close to home and unable to make the run back to the islands, but cruising the Tennessee River was good. Not the Bahamas, but not bad.

Fall Color Cruise

Joe Wheeler State Park - Alabama - 2008

The Tennessee is, no doubt—hands down—one of the most interesting cruising rivers in the world — especially in the Fall.
The Tennessee river is 652 miles long, deep, not much current, well marked, and good marinas every 30 or 40 miles. From it's headwaters in Knoxville, the Tennessee River flows southwest through the Smokey Mountains, towards Chattanooga and the Appalachian Mountains, before turning westward through the Cumberland Plateau into northern Alabama, here it continues through Mississippi, back into Tennessee, and eventually joining the Ohio River at Paducah, Kentucky. A long, beautiful, comfortable boat ride.

Our river time was enjoyed, not to mention the boat loved fresh water, however, we did get a few comments like, "Nordhavn's a bit overkill on the river isn't it?"

Actually, Istaboa's a great river boat. She clips along at an average of 9 knots upstream, and even faster down, all the while using less than 6GPH of fuel. Wind's no problem and docking in the tight little marinas was easy using the wing station's vantage to control the bow and stern thrusters. Per Nordhavn's design, the bulbous bow keeps the wake to a minimum while maintaining cruising speed. She's a little deep, (5.5' and bit less with half tanks), but applying a pinch of prudence with a dash of common sense will keep her moving forward.

White Cliffs of Epes, Alabama -The Tenn-Tom Waterway - 2007

We loved our times on the Tennessee River and will always remember them fondly, but our dreams were made of blue water and sea breezes.
In 2008, it seemed the world was crashing around us; we were fortunate, we had plenty, yet we had nothing to lose.
In 2009, we retired with the intentions of taking Istaboa south and never coming back —and we never did.

Our days of running the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway were over.

Up Next: Constant Improvement

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