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Old 07-02-2020, 01:37 PM   #1
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Boat for general cruising and great loop

Coming from 55 years as a sailor, and looking at what type of powerboat to purchase. One thing I am looking at is doing the great loop, as well as other coastal cruising in FL and North east.

Am looking at a powercat or swift trawler only because I would like to get past the 50 mi a day limit I had on a sailboat. Now maybe 50 mi on a powerboat has you much less tired at your destination than a sailboat, so you can do more mi per day? But 7kts at 8 hours is 50mi.

On the great loop, I am not sure how fast you can go. The parts of the ICW in S FL I know don't allow for fast speed / large wake, I don't know about other parts of the loop, so not sure that speed makes a difference for the loop.

But for other coastal cruising, I would like to be able to do 100 mi days, 12kts does this. 15kts gets me 150 mi days. Bene swift trawler and powercat gets me this. 40' is around top of my comfort zone. I need beds that are walk off because of bad knees, also want separate shower. Don't like that power cats have no side door to the side deck to single hand dock. But love their space. And I come from a sailing cat, which was the best boat decision I had since my wife gets seasick, and the motion was much better than monohull.

Is this making sense? I have looked at lots of sites on the loop, but haven't found one that is really a day to day blog explaining how far, how fast, etc.

Hope some with way more experience can chime in. Thanks.
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Old 07-02-2020, 01:41 PM   #2
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Some parts of the loop will let you run fast, some won't. Length of day really depends on the people and where you are. Some areas are more demanding than others and some people hold up to long days better. In good weather, I'm fine with a couple of 10 - 12 hour days given at least 1 capable person with me.
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Old 07-02-2020, 02:00 PM   #3
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An ocean going boat will let you miss the slow spots. Buy a long boat and get a hull speed better than 7 knots. I did my whole life. Doesn't have to be new. I run at 10 knots and can do above 12 at 1gph.
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Old 07-02-2020, 02:14 PM   #4
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@rslif: what speed is 'fast' on loop?

@lepke: don't understand what a "long" boat is. Also, what are the slow spots?

Appreciate the quick replies.
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Old 07-02-2020, 02:20 PM   #5
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"Fast" refers to any speed that produces a significant wake. For my own boat, that basically means anything above 6 - 6.5 kts. You can push it up to 7 at the expense of more wake. Beyond that, going faster means getting up on plane and doing 17 kts with this boat (which is only a bit more wake than 7 kts). But even if wake isn't a concern, there are some places where you just don't want to go that fast due to tight spaces, etc.

Some spots on the loop have outright speed limits, but most don't. Just periodic no wake zones, then you're free to do whatever is reasonable once you're out of those zones.
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Old 07-02-2020, 02:57 PM   #6
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If you haven't already done so, joining the Great Loop Cruisers Ass. ( great loop.org) will give you access to routes, itineraries and help from cruisers who have done the loop in every kind of boat imaginable.
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Old 07-02-2020, 04:19 PM   #7
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I have always sort of figured on 50 miles or 8 hours as being about my max.Both in distance but more so regarding time on the water.

Lets pretend I had a "Go Fast" boat which cruised at 30 miles an hour. Could I plan on over 300 miles in a day? I doubt it. Eight hours bouncing at 30 mph or even at 15 mph is different on the body than eight hours at eight knots. I have been known to turn the helm over and take a little nap. Could I do that at 15 or 30 mph? I sort of doubt it. Even at just 15 mph the noise, vibration and waves are considerable more than at trawler speeds.

Certainly a little additional speed will get you further in a day but there is more at play than just the math.

pete

There must be an additional factor to consider beyond speed X Hours = estimated goal miles.
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Old 07-02-2020, 04:23 PM   #8
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I’m reading this thread and trying to understand and appreciate the need to be in such a rush. I would think such a pace would become tiresome after just a few months. Nevertheless, if you find a 40’ boat you like to go the speeds you want, you’ll probably need to think about just how much time you’re going to spend fueling and/or looking for fuel. They’re thirsty!
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Old 07-02-2020, 04:29 PM   #9
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And, if you go monohull, your wife will want active stabilizers or a gyro. $$$$$
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Old 07-02-2020, 05:10 PM   #10
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A friend's 52 power cat (horizon) burns 38 gph at 18 kts. 7 gph at 8 kts so has flexibility. 28 foot air draft so between bridges and no wake zones, not sure he averages more thank 9-10 kts, maybe less unless he goes outside.

The missing link in OP post is budget. There are a lot of monohull boats in the 40 foot range with island queen berths that have twins and capable of 15 kts.

Cats are stable at anchor of course. Not everyone likes their ride underway with chop. Stabilization isn't needed for Loop and Bahamas. Nice, but not needed.
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Old 07-02-2020, 05:17 PM   #11
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If we're throwing in fuel burn numbers, I'll put in some numbers for my boat. At 6.5 - 7 kts, figure 5 - 6 gph with the gas engines I have. Cruising on plane at 17 kts, figure about 30 gph. Diesels in the same hull would take the numbers down to somewhere around 2 - 2.5 gph at low speed and around 20 at 17 - 18 kts.
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Old 07-02-2020, 05:22 PM   #12
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All the canals I've been on have a 8mph (7kts) speed limit. Higher speed could be useful for crossing large lakes and open ocean.
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Old 07-02-2020, 05:26 PM   #13
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Don’t forget to budget 15 mins-2 hrs per lock, depending on size, traffic, commercial priority, etc. Then there are lift bridges, which will slow one down ...even if opening on demand.
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Old 07-02-2020, 06:23 PM   #14
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Generally if you have a boat capable of 30 + knots, you aren't going that speed for long periods of time. Faster speeds can provide a nice jump before you have to slow down for whatever reason. It may be weather with winds increasing in the afternoon so a fast morning jump gets you where you want to go by 1300 hrs.

Where my boat is moored, there is an area I like to get over quickly then slow down to 7 - 9 knots. I will also cross this area on the way home quickly as well.

I always say, you can make a fast boat go slow, but you can't make a slow boat go fast. Its nice to have an option of speed if you need it due to safety, convenience, effective time management, or beating everyone to the next great anchoring area and being there by noon.

Also in my area, there are "rapids" that can only be transversed at slack or near slack, and you might literally have only five minutes to cover a 1/3rd of a mile, nice to be able to blow through these types of locations at 14 knots rather than slog on at 7 knots.

My rule of thumb is: the closer a destination, the faster you can go for an early arrival, the further the destination, the slower you want to go for fuel efficiency.
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Old 07-02-2020, 06:56 PM   #15
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My idea of a relaxing/enjoyable cruise isn't at 15, 20, or 30 knots. Why not just drive an automobile for the trip if you are in a hurry?
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Old 07-02-2020, 07:08 PM   #16
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While there are some places where you are speed restricted on the Loop, depending on the route you take, 60 to 80% can be faster. What I found on my Loop trip was that many of your days will be less 50 miles to your next stopping point.

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Old 07-02-2020, 07:42 PM   #17
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I would say that the western part of the Loop is probably slower than the eastern part. Why? Locks would be the biggest issue on the rivers. Yes, there are a few long distances between some, and there are areas within those stretches where for numerous reasons fast speed in a 40-ish footer would be illegal or inadvisable due to possible damage to moored vessels and piers, etc. Lots of things along the banks are not known to the Looper before they just suddenly are there, and high speed with a big wake following means it con be too late to slow down. 12-15 knots is more than likely OK for the prudent skipper, but really high speeds, well, not so much. The eastern portion offers some open water passages where it would be very nice to cover lots of ground, at the expense of forgoing some scenic cruising and pleasant stopovers.
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Old 07-02-2020, 08:24 PM   #18
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I think that the boats you're considering for NE/FL and parts between will work for the loop. There are only a couple of places where you really have to go more than 50 miles in one day. But lots of sections where you can cover ground faster if you want, and a few where it's really useful, like getting across the Panhandle.

The AGLA has planning tools. But there are lots of different styles of boat and styles of cruising, and variations in the route.
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Old 07-02-2020, 08:28 PM   #19
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"One thing I am looking at is doing the great loop, as well as other coastal cruising in FL and North east."

I do not know enough about larger Powercats to comment on them but for this application
I would suggest that you would like to have the higher cruising speeds (15-18 knts) along with the ability to travel at less than hull speed. There are numerous places where either tides are against you or where there are longer hauls where the speed will come in handy.
For the loop and river cruising in the NE plan for both your air clearance and draft to work with your intended destinations. Consider what (if any) tender you will find useful for your trips and make sure your boating choice supports the tender.
Good luck with whatever you choose....
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Old 07-02-2020, 08:29 PM   #20
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I can't tell you how many folks we've met and talked to that rushed through the loop and came back to explore the NE, Erie Canalm Lk Champlain, Rideau, TSW, 1,000 Is Georgian Bay, North Channel... some for 2-4 seasons because they missed it all the first time around.
Dont just count the miles... take some time to smell the Rose's or you'll miss many of the best parts.
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