Mike Schultz and Steven Sanford love restoration projects. They spent four years gutting and renovating Muzzy Mansion, a 1880 residence in Spokane, Wash., before buying their 50-foot 1964 Chris-Craft Constellation, Itineras. They have now spent more than two years restoring the mid-century beauty as the boat’s fourth owners.
Tell us about your boat’s name.
We derived the name Itineras, a non-existent word, from Latin words itinerary, meaning an account of a journey, and itinerant, meaning someone who travels from place to place. We wanted a unique name and liked how Itineras sounds.
Have you owned other boats before this one?
Mike has owned four previous fiberglass boats. This is Steven’s first boat.
Tell us the story of how you found your boat and what makes it special to you.
We started with a yacht broker and looked at vessels around Puget Sound but nothing sang to us. We ended up on Halloween day on Craigslist and saw this boat for sale by owner. It was the right size and presented intriguing potential. After inspections, a sea-trial and a survey, we negotiated the purchase. We moved aboard three months later.
Prior to buying Itineras, we spent four years gutting and restoring a Victorian mansion in Spokane that was then listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We love research and the restorative process. We were looking for a classic boat that was structurally and mechanically sound but offered the opportunity for some level of restoration – especially with original woodwork. This boat met the criteria. As we live aboard and cruise around, we’re also restoring this classic mid-century motor yacht.
What’s the history of your boat?
Itineras has enjoyed life on both sides of the continent. She has always been a documented vessel so we got the full abstract of her title from the USCG. We also contacted the Chris-Craft archives and the original dealer through which she was purchased almost 50 years ago to get more information.
Itineras was built in Nov 1964 in Algonac, Mich. by Chris-Craft for Rex Marine Center, Connecticut’s first Chris-Craft dealer. Alvin Levy bought the vessel new from Rex Marine and moored her in New York for her first 15 years. Itineras was moved from New York to Seattle when Warren Nelson bought her in 1979. He owned her for 26 years, selling her to Stephen and Sherrie Brown in 2005. We bought her from the Browns in 2010. More detail about her history can be found on the Itineras website.
What do you like best about your boat?
The woodwork and classic mid-century motor yacht style. The Browns, her previous owners, also took good care of her mechanical systems and gave her a lot of TLC.
What do you know now about your boat that you wish you’d known when you bought it? Would that have changed your mind?
As a wooden boat, what a bad idea it would be for permanent uncovered moorage (this is Mike’s first wooden boat). It wouldn’t have changed our minds, but Seattle’s limited covered liveaboard options are a challenge. As it turned out, we ended up in amazing covered moorage with a great view of Lake Union and just blocks from downtown Seattle.
What’s your favorite story involving your boat?
In terms of our own experience with Itineras, our favorite (ongoing) story is a mix of freedom, adventure and relaxation. Untying the lines on even a whim, bumping up the throttle to explore and glide through the Sound, waking up moored or anchored in a cove or port of call, absorbing the ambiance of calm water and sounds of nature with coffee on deck. It’s heaven to us.
Describe the most challenging situation you’ve experienced on your boat and how it performed.
The locks, actually. Those cursed locks. Itineras is big enough that we almost always end up in the large lock and always against the wall with as many as four additional boats rafted off us. The currents in the locks push us — and all the boats rafted to us — away from the wall so pulling the ropes in tight to keep us against the wall as the water level ascends is difficult. Popped fenders, scraped hull, rope burns and frantic hollering etch our evolving locks experience. We now target going through the locks during high tide and when they’re not likely to be crowded.
Tell us a little about your boating background.
This is Steven’s first boat and Mike’s fourth. Mike has been boating for 20 years. Since Itineras was more than 10 feet longer than his last boat, our yacht insurer required Mike to be certified by a Coast Guard captain on Itineras’ systems and his demonstrated handling of Itineras in a full range of on-the-water scenarios.
Where do you plan to take your boat? Do you have a dream destination?
We bought Itineras with the intent of exploring the waterways around Seattle and Puget Sound and we’re having an amazing adventure doing just that. When the weather is nice — and sometimes even when it isn’t — we untie the lines and head out for the weekend to anchor in Andrews Bay or take a jaunt across the Sound to Kingston, Poulsbo or Brownsville. This summer we’ve set aside 10 days to cruise South Sound. Next year we’re likely to head north to the San Juan Islands for an extended stay.
If someone gave you $10,000 that you could only spend on your boat, what would you do with it and why?
We’ve been getting bids for thoughtfully enclosing the aft deck with a hard top consistent with the vessel’s style and an accompanying aft canvas surround. This would expand the year-round living space to include the aft deck and offer kayak storage above, behind the flybridge. $10k would help move that along.
If you could have any other boat, what would it be and why?
A larger version of what we have. Something with class and style and lots of wood. Steven plays piano (beautifully) and misses his baby grand. We joke about how we can fit a baby grand onboard. For silly reasons, though — like not enough room and capsizing — it never seems to pan out for Itineras. But if we upsize, and frankly, we’re not in a hurry to, the next boat would need to be small enough for both of us to still handle on our own yet big enough for Steven’s baby grand piano. Yes, hope does spring eternal.
What didn’t we ask you about your boat that you wish we had?
None — great job of covering the bases.
We’re always looking for boats to feature — powerboats, sailboats, racing boats, wooden boats, work boats and others. If you’d like us to feature yours, drop us a line at email@example.com and tell us a little about it.