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Old 10-22-2021, 03:33 PM   #1
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Question Question for Great Loop folks

If you were going to take a trawler from Boston to Tennessee..which way would you go? South and around and up at Mobile or north through the Great Lakes and around? I may have a contract on a boat soon and need to get it here. I'll will be looking to get it here, and unfortunately won't have much time for sightseeing, etc..I'll do that when I am retired hopefully! Thanks for the input!
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Old 10-22-2021, 04:01 PM   #2
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We recently bought a boat in Knoxville, but had been looking at boats all over. We live near Chattanooga and opted to keep boat in Scottsboro, Al. at Goose Pond. Went thru the same thought process, if I bought a boat in New England, how would I get it home? Settled on a plan to go South because could move the boat through the winter. For what it’s worth.
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Old 10-22-2021, 04:20 PM   #3
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I would go down to New York, up the Hudson, and across the Erie canal. Going up the Tombigbee could be brutal depending on current and boat speed.

You will need to clear approximately a 17' bridge after Chicago, so check your boats height above the water.

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Old 10-22-2021, 04:34 PM   #4
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The Erie Canal closes soon. Maybe store in nearby Boston and make the move in the late spring? A lot depends on your boats cruise speed and vertical clearance.
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Old 10-22-2021, 04:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by markmclain View Post
If you were going to take a trawler from Boston to Tennessee..which way would you go? South and around and up at Mobile or north through the Great Lakes and around? I may have a contract on a boat soon and need to get it here. I'll will be looking to get it here, and unfortunately won't have much time for sightseeing, etc..I'll do that when I am retired hopefully! Thanks for the input!
The key question is when? If you're doing it this year, you have no choice, you must go down the coast and up through Mobile. The Erie Canal is closed for the winter. Your only other choice isn't viable for most as it is Nova Scotia to Quebec and down to the Great Lakes.

Under normal circumstances I'd rate South along the coast and Great Lakes about equal. Where in Tennessee also would play a minor role in the decision.
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Old 10-22-2021, 04:50 PM   #6
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Marinas are pretty much closed for the winter throughout Michigan. (Fuel pumps shut down, water systems and waste pump out systems winterized).
Yards are in the midst of wrapping up boat haul outs.
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Old 10-22-2021, 05:02 PM   #7
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Marinas are pretty much closed for the winter throughout Michigan. (Fuel pumps shut down, water systems and waste pump out systems winterized).
Yards are in the midst of wrapping up boat haul outs.
Yes, but if one can't get there, won't really impact the OP.
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:48 PM   #8
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Marinas are pretty much closed for the winter throughout Michigan. (Fuel pumps shut down, water systems and waste pump out systems winterized).
Yards are in the midst of wrapping up boat haul outs.
Yup, best to go south and avoid some nasty cold weather on that boat and the uncertainty of any services. It will take you a month or more of steady slogging to go the northern route, meaning probably December arrival. NAH!

Going up the 495-mile TennTom is no big deal especially in the dryer months. takes a week. Worst I have ever seen was maybe 2 MPH head current, and you get miles of little to no current as you pass each lock. You will see little traffic.

Stop in here, and I'll give you my Excel sheets on anchorages and marinas and locks from my most recent trip.

I'd take a lot of time and see all the sights whichever way you go because once you get there, it's either up or down river for you.
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Old 10-22-2021, 08:23 PM   #9
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Can you put it on a truck? I don't know which way is quicker, but both routes are very long delivery trips. You're basically 1/2 a loop away from the boat.
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Old 10-23-2021, 07:11 AM   #10
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Wow, thanks everyone for the excellent response!! It looks like south is the direction to go, but with that being said I may find a marina to house the boat until spring...if I waited til spring, would you still pick south or do the northern part of the loop? If I end up having to leap frog and come back home for a couple weeks, then move the boat further, which way would be best? I cannot get this boat home via land because it appears a previous owner glassed the flybridge on, so removing it would be a really big deal. Thanks again everyone, you guys are great!
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Old 10-23-2021, 07:42 AM   #11
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Assuming you wait till Spring, going through the Great Lakes is preferred. If the boat is a planing hull, it would be less of a difference dealing with currents. This is one of the reasons the Great Loop is done counterclockwise.

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Old 10-23-2021, 10:28 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by markmclain View Post
Wow, thanks everyone for the excellent response!! It looks like south is the direction to go, but with that being said I may find a marina to house the boat until spring...if I waited til spring, would you still pick south or do the northern part of the loop? If I end up having to leap frog and come back home for a couple weeks, then move the boat further, which way would be best? I cannot get this boat home via land because it appears a previous owner glassed the flybridge on, so removing it would be a really big deal. Thanks again everyone, you guys are great!
Leaving in Spring favors Northern route, although would leap frogging work at trawler speeds on northern route to get to TN by October? Leaving in Spring going South bumps into hurricane season.
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Old 10-23-2021, 11:57 AM   #13
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The fly in the ointment going the north route would be if there are spring floods. That can shut down the canal system for a week or more depending.
That's just something to keep in mind.
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Old 10-23-2021, 01:08 PM   #14
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If you wait, will you then have time for sightseeing or still be a rushed trip? Summer on the Great Lakes would be a great time. However, the northern route delays your departure until at least May 15 and possibly later. All depends on the opening of the Erie. Going down the East Coast, you could leave as early as early April, might encounter some cold, but others would be heading north by then.
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Old 10-24-2021, 05:53 AM   #15
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The North route is far more interesting and enjoyable than slogging up a fast river with 70 ft high banks blocking the view.


The Northern routes small boat easy with multiple marinas or anchorages and loads of free docks.
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Old 10-24-2021, 10:54 AM   #16
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The North route is far more interesting and enjoyable than slogging up a fast river with 70 ft high banks blocking the view.


The Northern routes small boat easy with multiple marinas or anchorages and loads of free docks.
But the discussion has centered on what the PO can do in the coming weeks which will see him in rather adverse conditions regarding weather and services.

Having been UP the route he would travel if he chose the southern route several times, I would disagree with the characterization of the area as 70-foot high banks and fast rivers because it is just not so, except the Mississippi which is indeed fast and boring and bereft of services for the most part south of St Louis.
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Old 10-24-2021, 11:12 AM   #17
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We brought our last boat home from Virginia to Michigan. We started on the first of May. We had a few hours delay due to flooding on the Erie but no real delays. The Trent Severn Waterway is awesome. The locks are very interesting. But if you are bringing it home this year you will have to go the southern route. Personally I would wait til the spring and go through the Great Lakes. Have fun and good luck.
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Old 10-24-2021, 12:29 PM   #18
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But the discussion has centered on what the PO can do in the coming weeks which will see him in rather adverse conditions regarding weather and services.

Having been UP the route he would travel if he chose the southern route several times, I would disagree with the characterization of the area as 70-foot high banks and fast rivers because it is just not so, except the Mississippi which is indeed fast and boring and bereft of services for the most part south of St Louis.
I agree...the Tombigbee is more enjoyable than the Mississippi.
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Old 10-25-2021, 10:33 AM   #19
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Thanks everyone! I really appreciate all the valuable information. I'm flying up to take a look at the boat this weekend...I'm sure I'll have more questions!
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Old 10-28-2021, 07:10 PM   #20
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Erie canal usually opens about mid May. Some years it's later, sometimes much later.
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