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Old 01-07-2015, 05:24 PM   #1
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when to leave

We are planning to leave on our Loop adventure Feb 28 from Biloxi MS our question is are we leaving soon enough to be out of Chicago by mid September ?
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Old 01-07-2015, 06:15 PM   #2
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If you plan to loop in one year, I think that is cutting it too short.

The Great Loop route is seasonal: Chicago to Mobile in the Fall, around Florida to Jacksonville during the Winter, up the east coast to the Hudson River in the Spring, and around through the Great Lakes in the Summer.

There are many risks that can cause delays: weather, mechanical breakdowns, damage due to grounding or hitting underwater objects, sickness or injury, waiting for a window to cross the Gulf, etc. Additionally, as soon as you get schedule driven, the trip is not fun casual cruising but all worry and a tendency to take risks just to get to the next port.

We planned a year trip leaving Lake MI in September. All went according to plan until we got to the Erie Canal and it was closed for 3 weeks due to flooding and damage to the locks and dams. We ended up storing the boat in Brewerton, NY for the winter and going back the next summer to enjoy some of the best cruising which is the Trent Severn Waterway, the Georgian Bay, the North Channel. That turned out to be a great plan which you might consider.

Our trip was 305 days of cruising covering 6,850 miles. The pace was comfortable for us. On the average, if you cruise 7.5 miles per hour you can cruise a 68 miles one day and take the next two days for enjoying the sights. Cruising every day would be too tiresome in my opinion.

I hope this doesn't dissuade you from the trip, as it is a great once in a lifetime adventure.
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Old 01-07-2015, 06:17 PM   #3
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The fastest loop i have ever read about was around 30 days. So yes it could be done.

The point i am trying to make is you set your own pace.

I will say that places in the upper bay don't fully open until the memorial day weekend.
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:51 PM   #4
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The Key to answering your question is how quickly you intend to go up the East Coast. You are talking around 1700 nm to NYC and it will lengthen based on stops you make. I don't know your speed. But assuming your plan was to average 30 miles a day then you're talking 57 days. That gets you to NY and ready for the Erie Canal perfectly by May 1.

However, if you're only going to average 20 miles a day (60 every third day) then you're talking 85 days and reaching NY in late May.

But there is one solution to that if you can't get away sooner than February 28. The areas close to you, I'd assume you've cruised many times. So you could take the first part of your trip much like a delivery. Go to Apalachicola in 4 days of straight cruising. Even to Fort Myers in another 5 days or so. At that point you would have shortened your trip by about 18 days and then could cruise the rest slowly. To me this is much better than short changing areas you normally don't cruise.

We intend to do much like this when we loop. We cruise the Coast all the time. So we'll go quickly up the East Coast, get to NY and get ready to loop. The key is the timing of the Erie. If you hit it early May and are fine leaving Chicago the end of September, that gives you 5 months for that stretch of the trip, which is decent.
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:58 AM   #5
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The ActiveCaptain monthly newsletter for this month has links to youtube videos of their Great Loop trip. The videos are fast motion so to speak and some of them are quite boring but the ones of going through the inland waters are very interesting from the standpoint of giving a flavor of what will be encountered in the Erie Canal locks. It was surprising how little traffic was locking thru at the same time. Haven't made it through all the videos yet but intend to. Recommend starting at the oldest first but you could start near your home port if you wanted.
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:36 AM   #6
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However, if you're only going to average 20 miles a day (60 every third day) then you're talking 85 days and reaching NY in late May.


Starting up the Hudson in late May leaves plenty of time for the northern portion of the loop.
The 2 times we have cruised those areas we started from Ct in mid June. Running at 6.5 to 7 knots we had plenty of time for a very lazy trip.
Plus the weather really only starts to get nice in June. May is too cold for me.
Granted we did not do BOTH the Trent and Rideau in the same year, but I think we could have easily done that.
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:12 AM   #7
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leave

we plan on doing 10 mph and about 50 miles per day on average on the days we are moving
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Old 01-08-2015, 10:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by regb View Post
We are planning to leave on our Loop adventure Feb 28 from Biloxi MS our question is are we leaving soon enough to be out of Chicago by mid September ?

In case you haven't checked it out already, I'm told the AGLCA group (greatloop.org) is very active... and they know all this stuff...

Forgive if that's not news

-Chris
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Old 01-08-2015, 11:00 AM   #9
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We are planning to leave on our Loop adventure Feb 28 from Biloxi MS our question is are we leaving soon enough to be out of Chicago by mid September ?
No, not at 50 miles per day "when moving."
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Old 01-08-2015, 11:36 AM   #10
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Starting up the Hudson in late May leaves plenty of time for the northern portion of the loop.
The 2 times we have cruised those areas we started from Ct in mid June. Running at 6.5 to 7 knots we had plenty of time for a very lazy trip.
Plus the weather really only starts to get nice in June. May is too cold for me.
Granted we did not do BOTH the Trent and Rideau in the same year, but I think we could have easily done that.
There are trade offs. I want more time on the Great Lakes than many loopers do.
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Old 01-08-2015, 11:38 AM   #11
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we plan on doing 10 mph and about 50 miles per day on average on the days we are moving
Do you plan on moving every day, 2 out of 3 days, 1 out of 2 days, 1 out of 3 days.

Moving 2 of 3 you'd be fine. Moving 1 out of 2 you'd be borderline. But moving 1 out of 3 you'd never make it in time.
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Old 01-08-2015, 11:54 AM   #12
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>we plan on doing 10 mph and about 50 miles per day on average on the days we are moving<

NO CHANCE,

In many of the CN canals and small rivers or lakes the speed is limited to 6 KM per hour.

You can run fast in some of the AICW and most of the way up the Hudson or down the Miss.

Weather will play an important part of speed per day ,

ENJOY!
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Old 01-08-2015, 03:47 PM   #13
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>we plan on doing 10 mph and about 50 miles per day on average on the days we are moving<

NO CHANCE,

In many of the CN canals and small rivers or lakes the speed is limited to 6 KM per hour.

You can run fast in some of the AICW and most of the way up the Hudson or down the Miss.

Weather will play an important part of speed per day ,

ENJOY!
We're talking the Loop. Very little of it is canals in Canada. 10 mph or 10 knots is not fast in the ICW or most of the loop. 6 km per hour is only 3.2 knots. Where are you limited to 3.2 knots speed? That's about half of idle.
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:04 PM   #14
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We averaged 7.5 mph on the Great Loop as calculated by taking the total distance traveled divided by the number of engine on hours. Since a lot of time is spent idling into marinas, setting anchors, waiting to get into locks or for bridges to open, and going through many no wake and manatee zones, it is likely we actually averaged closer to 8.5 mph in open unrestricted waters. Coming down the Mississippi with the currents we could easily sustain 10 mph and crossing the Gulf we went at 9 mph to reduce trip time. On a couple of rare occasions, such a trying to catch a lock before it closed for the day, we went up to 11 or 12 mph for an hour or two.
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:16 AM   #15
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The Canadian speed limit signs are 10 km/hr.
I remember because I had a tough time going that fast.
50 miles per travel day AVERAGE is easily doable but you will need more than 5 running hours sometimes.
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:41 AM   #16
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Out of curiosity what kind of power in that Silverton?
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we plan on doing 10 mph and about 50 miles per day on average on the days we are moving
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