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Old 06-12-2012, 10:13 AM   #1
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Great loop - How long?

Ok, I know there are a thousand variables involved but I need a ballpark figure to start planning. What is the minimum time someone with a slow trawler (6-7 knots) needs to complete the great loop? Or in other words, if I start the trip in August or September, can I complete the trip the following Spring (May or June)? When I travel I like to cruise 3-6 hours a day. I don't mind beeing on the move almost every day and then spend a day or two at an interesting destination. I'm just trying to see if this trip would make any sense in the amount of time I have (about 10 months).
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:40 AM   #2
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The circumnavigation of Eastern North America by water is known as The Great Loop. Also improperly referred to as the Great Circle Route (see definition of a great circle), the trip varies from 5,000 miles to 7,500 miles depending on the options used....per wikipedia

so let's say 6500 miles at 6.5 knots...that's 1000 hrs....at 4-5 hrs per day thats 200-250 days....with a minimum of a day layover every 2 weeks for weather, maintenance or fun.... I would say easily 250-300 days and that's not a fun trip for me because I would only be cruising about 1/2 the days. (though some days are more than 4-5 hrs as you would press on for a better stop if one at all)
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:04 PM   #3
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This is the trip I am gearing up for.My boat will cruise in the 7 knot range.I am planning 14 months and doing the Canadian route.I'll have 18 months plus the option of skipping the Canadian route.I rely on these websites for info.
America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association
Capt John's cruising America's Great Loop
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:34 PM   #4
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It is also our intention to start the loop in 2014. We'll be retired June 30th, 2013, and will probably be doing some lengthy cruising for weeks at a time to get used to longer stays on the boat, breaking-in new equipment, rescue drills, some nav classes, etc.. We'll be in no hurry to finish the loop, but I'm figuring at least a year at our 6-7 knot pace with stops along the way.
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:09 PM   #5
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Charles Cullotta (CC Rider) will slap yo peepe if he hears you talking like that!
He advocates as most experienced cruisers do, not to be in a hurry to get around. Break the trip up with time away from the boat if necessary. Why be in a hurry- it is the trip of a lifetime!
As Soon as I'm done with the "Action ,Adventure and Romance on the High Seas" portion of my life, it is where you'll find me and my wife.
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:59 PM   #6
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We're prepping Beach House for the Great Loop, starting with a Bahamas trip January 2013. I guess my question is the same as others. Why even bother to do it if your just planning a mad rush through. Under those circumstances it hardly seems worth the expense for fuel and wasted time and that is what it would be in my opinion. Chuck
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:11 PM   #7
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I guess my question is the same as others. Why even bother to do it if your just planning a mad rush through
For the same reason people take trips to Europe (or wherever) and race among cities (a day in London, half-day in Luxembourg, a day in Paris, a day in Rome, etcetera). It's particularly sad many people spend their time shopping.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:16 PM   #8
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Something to consider is that many people don't consider the western portion of the loop to be as interesting or scenic as the eastern seaboard.

I too am considering the loop but after reading some previous posts on the topic will probably just do the eastern portion and skip the Mississippi river.

Though a little bit dated the book "Honey let's get a boat" chronicles the adventures of a couple with no prior experience in boating deciding to do the loop in a year. Amusing reading.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:37 PM   #9
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We are doing a portion of it starting in one week. will cruise the Erie, Oswego canals, Thousand Island area, Trent-Severn, Georgian Bay, then back.
Next year we will do more, maybe complete it, if we decide we like being on the boat that long.
Doing it in one year means moving most every day, not interested in trying to make a schedule. Worst thing to do.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:55 PM   #10
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Typically, most people do it in about 10 months, although many take several years.
The loop averages from 5,500 miles to about 6,800 miles depending on which route your take. Given the above milage, you do the math.
As to how to break up your trip by year, consider that most people do the route by season for obvious reasons. On the attached map you want to be on the Gulf of Mexico (purple) in the winter. Head up or be on the Atlantic Coast during springtime (green). Spend the summer on the northern leg (Brown) and be off the Great Lake and heading down the Mississippi River in the fall. Once the northerns start coming down after Labor Day, the Great Lakes can get rough. That leaves you heading back down to the Gulf Coast in the fall and on the Gulf for winter.
This is just the recommended game plan. It takes you out of Hurricane season on the Atlantic coast in the springtime, gets you through the Great Lakes before the weather turns rough, and puts you back down on the Gulf Coast well out of it's hurricane season. So, a lot has to do with your schedule and your starting point.
The Missisippi River is kind of boring up north with not much to see other than mud flats. What I will do when the time comes, is to go down the Mississippi about 1/3 of the way. When I hit Kentucky, I will get off the Missisippi and go down through Kentucky Lake and work my way down through the Tom Bigbee Waterway and eventually to the Gulf coast coming out of Mobile Bay, Al. It is a much more scenic route
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:47 PM   #11
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Something to consider is that many people don't consider the western portion of the loop to be as interesting or scenic as the eastern seaboard.

I too am considering the loop but after reading some previous posts on the topic will probably just do the eastern portion and skip the Mississippi river.

Though a little bit dated the book "Honey let's get a boat" chronicles the advteentures of a couple with no prior experience in boating deciding to do the loop in a year. Amusing reading.
Tim, now that you have been smoked out of hiding, why don't you bring us up to date on your Bahama cruise.

As for the loop, it could be a great trip. I will probably never do it all. Most of it I have done including from the Tennessee River down around the Keys and up the East Coast. Haven't cruised Maine yet, or the Canadian canals. Most of the Great Lakes have been done.

I have no interest in the Illinois or Mississippi Rivers, so will leave that off. I have been thinking of trailering my 25' Blackfin or my son's 26' Boston Whaler up to do the Canadian canals and maybe Maine. So much to do. We'll see.

Seriously Tim, let us know how your cruise went. By the way Theresa at GTC had just enough Tipsy Turtles left for us.

We are still "Hanging Out in Abaco"----- Stone McKewan.
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:10 PM   #12
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Hi Don, I haven't forgotten. I've detailed every day since we left Tampa and returned. I'm trying to figure out how to put it in a blog because it is quite long and probably a bit boring for those not really that interested.

I'll e-mail it to you anyway today or tomorrow.

Are you still in the Abacos? You came across the same day we were crossing to return. I made a couple of blind radio calls to you but you were too far north I think.
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:51 PM   #13
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Greetings,
Mr. Moonstruck. You are unique in your mention of the Canadian canals. Most of the "loopers" recounts I have read have bypassed both the Trent/Severn and the Rideau (pronounced Reed-oh!) systems. The Rideau was ascribed a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007. How can you not travel such a historic waterway? 49 locks, each one different.
125+ miles to Ottawa from Kingston, Ontario plus Ottawa to Montreal to Sorrel, PQ then down the Richelieu to the Hudson. Extra miles but extra smiles as well.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:54 PM   #14
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Greetings,
Mr. Moonstruck. You are unique in your mention of the Canadian canals. Most of the "loopers" recounts I have read have bypassed both the Trent/Severn and the Rideau (pronounced Reed-oh!) systems. The Rideau was ascribed a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007. How can you not travel such a historic waterway? 49 locks, each one different.
125+ miles to Ottawa from Kingston, Ontario plus Ottawa to Montreal to Sorrel, PQ then down the Richelieu to the Hudson. Extra miles but extra smiles as well.
I second that!
www.alormaria.com\trip2000\welcome.htm
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:01 PM   #15
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Hi Don, I haven't forgotten. I've detailed every day since we left Tampa and returned. I'm trying to figure out how to put it in a blog because it is quite long and probably a bit boring for those not really that interested.

I'll e-mail it to you anyway today or tomorrow.

Are you still in the Abacos? You came across the same day we were crossing to return. I made a couple of blind radio calls to you but you were too far north I think.
Tim, we are still at Marsh Harbour awaiting the battery charger. Just "Hanging out in Abaco". We will look for your update.

We were quartering into about a 3' sea coming across. Not too bad. Hope you had a good ride.

RT, we are planning on visiting friends in Ontario this fall. I plan to check out the canals, and find a place to store the tow vehicle and trailer. That is the one thing I would not want to miss on a cruise. The Blackfin has a cuddy with a straight drive inboard diesel. No keel. It may draw too much for comfort in the rocks. The Boston Whaler has twin outboards, and thus a little more clearance.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:06 PM   #16
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Thanks for all your answer. Didn't think my question would get so much interesting input (great post Tony B, love the map). Well it wouldn't make much sense to do it o a schedule even if 10 months would be feasible. Guess I'll save that one for later. So I'll probably end up going down the east coast to Florida then maybe the gulf before heading back.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:44 AM   #17
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Having just completed a >1500 NM boat delivery to Alaska, I really wish we had budgeted more time.

Cruising all day and seeing the sights at night is not nearly as much fun as having time to stop for longer.

Next trip we're budgeting time by assuming 6 hours of cruising every other day. Thats probably a good round number to start with.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:11 AM   #18
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The Loop is on our bucket list. I have been a lurker on the AGLCA site for years, but have only recently discovered Cap'n John's site. I found it to be a lot more "educational" about doing the loop, instead of just reading about someone's trip (which I find more entertaining than educational). I really think when it comes our time we'll probably sell our trawler (unless we've gotten a displacement hulled one) and buy the most comfortable motorsailer/pilothouse we can afford and pull the mast off or rig up a paravane system on a very short mast. If we do this I want to put a flybridge on it though, I have become spoiled by the difference of perspective the height gives while travelling.

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Old 06-13-2012, 01:46 PM   #19
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The link you posted doesn't work. Chuck
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:30 AM   #20
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This is the trip I am gearing up for....
Capt John's cruising America's Great Loop
The Admiral has no interest in forums and only wanted to do the Great Loop in 2014 because I wanted to.
I e-mailed her the above link about Capt John's trip. She called me this morning, which is very rare for her to do when I am offshore. She loved his website, got all excited about it and wanted to know if we could do it next year. I told her that next year would be logistically impossible.
Anyway, want to thank you for the link.
Enough about me, when are you planning to start and what will be your starting point?

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