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Old 07-15-2015, 03:35 PM   #1
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Starting The Adventure

This is my first post. I have been in stealth mode for a month or two since I am a trawler owner wannabe.

First the reason I am a wannabe. I learned of the Great Loop this past spring and have started researching via the internet about cruising, living aboard, trawlers and of course the Great Loop. I joined this forum shortly after deciding I wanted to do the Great Loop and have been gleaning your knowledge, experience and wisdom ever since.

Second the reason I am a wannabe. The Admiral and I are still in negotiation about the details of planning our adventure. The biggest part of those negotiations are the type and size of the boat we will use for our adventure. After walking on several boats and scouring Yacht World, Boat Trader and the Trawler for Sale portion of this forum we have decided on the Defever 44 Sundeck. The Admiral has several requirements that are nonnegotiable such as washer/dryer, Lehman engines (she has never heard of them crapping out), clean engine room, "large" capacity refrigerator/freezer and mostly acceptable living spaces (some negotiation for this).

Finally the reason I am a wannabe. I recently retired, kinda. I am still contracting with the same company, but now I have the ability to pick and choose when I work. The job will last until next April. So I am not in a big hurry to purchase however the sooner I do the more time I have to practice with the things that all have problems with such as docking, anchoring, navigating etc.

In the meantime we are taking Coast Guard courses, on line courses and this Fall we are going on the Miami Mermaid with Captain Bob for hands on training.

Sorry for the long post. Looking forward to the adventure.
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Old 07-15-2015, 05:08 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard!

Sounds like y'all have done some good preparation and have your heads screwed on straight.

I like the fact that your admiral wants a clean engine room. Mine doesn't even know where the engine is. 😳

I would look for a stabilized Defever if you are planning on any far flung adventures after the loop. The admiral will appreciated it. Mine is not stabilized and my DW is not so smitten when we venture offshore. Just FYI.
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Old 07-15-2015, 05:16 PM   #3
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Welcome aboard. You sure have picked a nice boat for the Loop or any other cruising you may want to do.
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Old 07-15-2015, 05:26 PM   #4
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Welcome. You didn't say when you want to start the Loop, so the below is assuming you want to start next year. I have no idea where your location is, and that would have some bearing.

Here's a link to a good place to start. America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association

The window for doing the Great Loop is not as wide as you may think. depending your starting point you should probably be in the Chesapeake about spring. Then start north. Rushing is not the way to do the Loop most pleasantly. There will be plenty to see and you will meet a lot of people along the way. Usually into the Tennessee River by October. Florida and/or Bahamas in winter. Your schedule will be pretty well set by the seasons.

Now, you will need to decide, find, and buy a boat. This can take awhile. Then you will have to sort the boat out with some possible repairs and additions. This all takes time.

So, take your time, and savor the experience. There is plenty of knowledge on this Forum with many having done the loop.
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Old 07-15-2015, 05:35 PM   #5
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Welcome aboard to you and the Admiral!
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Old 07-15-2015, 07:00 PM   #6
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Welcome from another "local", we are at Waterford Harbor.

Your story sounds a lot like mine, I retired this past April and shooting for starting the loop in about 2 months. Spend the winter knocking around Florida & Bahamas then head north in the spring.

Good luck with your search.

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Old 07-15-2015, 09:22 PM   #7
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Sounds great and sounds like you're going about it the right way. Only real issue for the loop is draft...water draft and air draft. Beyond that I'd suggest you cruise along the coast and in your general home area about a year before looping. That will acquaint you with what supplies you need and what you can do without, with how much per day you like to cruise, how long you like to stay in places along the way, and what you enjoy most about cruising. It will acquaint you with how frequently you might eat out vs. in, with your preferences for anchoring vs. marinas. If you prefer to anchor then your dinghy as well as your equipment for launching and retrieving it become very important. We wholeheartedly agree with washer/dryer and large food storage/refrigerator/freezer. You want the cruising to be enjoyable but in spending that much time on a boat, it's important it is very comfortable to you. Traipsing to laundries and grocery stores at every port can get tiring quickly.

Depending on how it goes with Captain Bob, you may want to subsequently charter some boats of different types and sizes. I don't know what his boat is.

We also plan to Loop, either starting in 2016 or 2017.

I'm sure you're already looking at timing your seasons. The key really is hitting the Erie Canal at the start of the season, early May being preferable.
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Old 07-15-2015, 09:37 PM   #8
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Welcome aboard! Don't hold back, pull the trigger and start learning. You'll find plenty to do and fix on your new boat. Don't wait, and enjoy the adventure.
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Old 07-15-2015, 09:41 PM   #9
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Old 07-16-2015, 09:29 AM   #10
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In the thrill of making a first post I forgot some information.

My name is George and the admiral is Pam. We currently live in League City Texas about half way between Houston and Galveston.

We are at least a year away from starting the loop and the time spent on the loop is still in negotiation. I favor a year but the admiral is voting for longer. I think we will take multiple years, you know if the wife isn't happy then no one is happy. She wants to loop awhile and then see the grandkids awhile. Since we have 15 grandkids that takes some time.

Thanks for the advise on a stabilized Defever. Also for the encouragement to get into the water. In all honesty, part of the "training" this Fall is to determine if the wife can enjoy the close quarters. I may have to solo it if she can't. I also like the idea of chartering some other boats for comparison and time for the wife.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:20 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by GGREEN1095 View Post
In the thrill of making a first post I forgot some information.

My name is George and the admiral is Pam. We currently live in League City Texas about half way between Houston and Galveston.

We are at least a year away from starting the loop and the time spent on the loop is still in negotiation. I favor a year but the admiral is voting for longer. I think we will take multiple years, you know if the wife isn't happy then no one is happy. She wants to loop awhile and then see the grandkids awhile. Since we have 15 grandkids that takes some time.

Thanks for the advise on a stabilized Defever. Also for the encouragement to get into the water. In all honesty, part of the "training" this Fall is to determine if the wife can enjoy the close quarters. I may have to solo it if she can't. I also like the idea of chartering some other boats for comparison and time for the wife.
Well, one key is finding a boat that makes the quarters not so close. Different boats handle space much differently. For instance, Bayliner may be one of the best examples of space utilization. All the living spaces are decent and you have multiple with salon, galley, pilothouse, aft deck, and fly bridge. I believe, on the loop, a bridge really adds a lot, just stay under 19'1".

Conveniences like washer/dryer, dishwasher, watermaker do as well. It is going to be your home much of the time you're looping. Creature comforts are important. Get the right boat and balance the time on it and time off and the close quarters won't be the same issue.

That brings us to the other aspect you mentioned. Wife gets our vote. You have 15 grandchildren. If boating limits you from seeing them as much as you wish, then boating becomes negative. We had no idea what our maximum time away from home would be when we started. We've settled into 6 weeks cruising, 3 weeks home as our normal routine. Sometimes as long as 2 months away. But we're not willing to surrender our land life as much even as we love our water life. Just note the word "surrender" and it's negative connotations.

I would think by the time you get ready to loop you might have made a few trips as far as Florida in the gulf. So then for your loop, you might cover that area quicker. However, I could easily see many months or as long as a year spent still in warm climates. Perhaps you start the adventure late summer. Your winter is largely Florida. Holidays with family. As spring hits you ease up the east coast. You time NYC for late April, early May and then start through the Canal. This gives you May, June, July, August, September for the canal and the great lakes. I could see some kids and grandkids visiting your boat during the summer.

You leave Chicago just in time to avoid the cold and head rather quickly down to the Tennessee river. Our plans are to dock on Lake Pickwick for the winter. An alternative is start earlier, spend summer and fall getting as far north as NC or the Chesapeake even. Store the boat there for the winter, from November to March. Or taking the original outline you may not head down the Mississippi that first year but winter the boat on the great lakes.

Now, our plan is once we do reach the Tennessee river to spend the fall, spring, summer exploring the Tennessee River, the Cumberland, the Ohio, maybe even the Missouri. In our case we may well take a year or more on that aspect. People get caught up in completing the loop and overlook the great inland rivers just cruising by only the outskirts of them. It's like driving to Florida and never to the coast or Disneyworld.

To us the idea of 2 years looping of which 16 - 18 months is actually spent on the boat and the other 6 - 8 months spent with family and at home is a very good plan. That may vary by how much time family spends with you on the boat.

We cruise the coastal areas all the time so we'll take them quickly. But we want a full summer on the Great Lakes. Then we also want to explore the rivers. Now if you haven't cruised the East Coast, I'd expect you to want far more time there. Where our time will add up is I picture us arriving on Lake Pickwick in October. Then coming back in the spring to cruise the Tennessee River and the Cumberland that cruising season. Dock again on Pickwick and the following year get the Ohio and the Missouri. Then at the end of that come on down the TN Tom to the Gulf and home. So from South Florida, we expect to start our loop in March. Let's for this discussion say March, 2016. Reach Pickwick in October. Exit after two seasons of cruising and head down the Tombigbee in October 2018. Reach home in December.

You could spend a year to 18 months on Florida, the Bahamas and the East Coast and then in May of the next year hit the Erie Canal. Don't get so caught up on the loop that you miss everything along the way.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:43 AM   #12
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Some liveaboards just consider the boat a dirt home when staying at one address for awhile. People can visit just like any other home with the exception of boat size limitations. And usually there are places around the corner that can be rented depending on finances.


In my case having a boat allows me to bring my home to 2 widely spaced places my 2 sons live.


Spending 365 aboard a boat, whether on a multiyear loop or as a liveaboard....it can be as similar or different from your current life as you make it.
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:14 AM   #13
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Some liveaboards just consider the boat a dirt home when staying at one address for awhile. People can visit just like any other home with the exception of boat size limitations. And usually there are places around the corner that can be rented depending on finances.


In my case having a boat allows me to bring my home to 2 widely spaced places my 2 sons live.


Spending 365 aboard a boat, whether on a multiyear loop or as a liveaboard....it can be as similar or different from your current life as you make it.
Much depends on where you are and they are. However, much of our long cruising is with a couple of guests joining us. When we cruised Alaska we had 8 different people fly in to join on various legs, each staying a couple of weeks. That's in addition to the group for the entire trip. For the July 4 Fireworks in NYC we had seven fly in to enjoy the holiday with us. Panama, three joined us. Grand Cayman, two. Jamaica, two. Cancun and the trip home, two.

While you'll enjoy time with just the two of you, one of the real joys will be experiencing different parts of the trip with different family members and friends.

Let's say discussing with daughter, son-in-law and their two kids. Would you rather us fly home for your two weeks vacation or would you rather perhaps join us in the Bahamas and fish and swim and dive, staying on the boat and visiting many islands?

Another...we were thinking of visiting you in New Jersey for Christmas, unless you'd rather come join us in Florida where it's sunny and warm, and perhaps watch the boat parade and cruise a bit, and go to the beach?

Now we don't spend 365 days but still you'll find the grandchildren very excited about the idea of visiting you on the boat and they won't care for a moment if they have to sleep on air mattresses in the salon.
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:28 AM   #14
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Much depends on where you are and they are. However, much of our long cruising is with a couple of guests joining us. When we cruised Alaska we had 8 different people fly in to join on various legs, each staying a couple of weeks. That's in addition to the group for the entire trip. For the July 4 Fireworks in NYC we had seven fly in to enjoy the holiday with us. Panama, three joined us. Grand Cayman, two. Jamaica, two. Cancun and the trip home, two.

While you'll enjoy time with just the two of you, one of the real joys will be experiencing different parts of the trip with different family members and friends.

Let's say discussing with daughter, son-in-law and their two kids. Would you rather us fly home for your two weeks vacation or would you rather perhaps join us in the Bahamas and fish and swim and dive, staying on the boat and visiting many islands?

Another...we were thinking of visiting you in New Jersey for Christmas, unless you'd rather come join us in Florida where it's sunny and warm, and perhaps watch the boat parade and cruise a bit, and go to the beach?

Now we don't spend 365 days but still you'll find the grandchildren very excited about the idea of visiting you on the boat and they won't care for a moment if they have to sleep on air mattresses in the salon.
Agree...I had all that figured out 30+ years ago on my first liveaboard...
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Old 07-16-2015, 03:34 PM   #15
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Agree...I had all that figured out 30+ years ago on my first liveaboard...
Wifey B: Well, you sure beat me...30 years ago I'd never been on a boat. I was getting ready to start first grade though.
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