Unique boat visits Grand Haven

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 3:04 PM

Jacksonville, Fla., residents Russ and Elaine Sturm said they are used to it.

That’s why the Sturms have an information card ready for curiosity seekers such as their dock neighbors, Matt Butler of Grand Haven and his son, Chris, 8.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 20 years of boating,” Butler said as Elaine gave him a tour of the 37-foot vessel. “This is really nice.”

The Sturms sat on a nearby bench with their sea dog, Ike, as they watched people checking out their vessel.

“It’s not very old,” Russ said, evoking surprise from visitors. “It’s a 2000 Great Harbor” made in Gainesville, Fla.

The retired couple — Russ was a construction superintendent and Elaine was a vice president for a software company — traveled in recreational vehicles before deciding to take a step offshore. They met in an RV park and married three years ago.

“She’s been on boats all her life,” Russ said. “I haven’t been on a boat in 20 years.”

The Sturms said they looked long and hard for just the right boat on which they could live and travel. They bought the Grand Harbor in January 2013, and spent five months retrofitting it for their journeys.

The boat has a 16-foot beam (width) and high ceilings, making for comfortable living. The living area has double doors that open to an enclosed sun deck on the back, making the boat feel even more spacious.

Elaine said they are the third owners of the boat, but the first ones to make any major changes to it. They tore out cheap, old floors and put in teak and holly.

Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

For more information on the Sturm’s journey, follow their blog at http://russandelaine.blogspot.com.

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