Originally Posted by mijmoto
Hello all, out in the desert southwest and thinking of a new adventure on a boat. We had been lake boaters years ago on a 27' SeaRay Sundancer (sold long ago) and spent many weekend days and nights swinging on the hook escaping from the pressure of the corporate life. We always had the dream of trailering our SeaRay to Tulsa and putting in at the port on the Arkansas and having us a river trip. This never happened but have recently learned of the Great Loop.
So, at this point we are thinking about single engine, single helm boats with good household accommodations to make a Loop trip. Thoughts along these lines are interesting. My wife and I are both interested in learning a bit about boat handling and the various things that we ought to know prior to embarking. Recommendations for education are surely welcome. A a matter of fact, recommendations for anything are welcome! Looking forward to comments and contributing as we make our way. Thanks!
We were lake boaters until 2012 and are currently looping but not in a conventional way. The two major considerations in a loop boat are draft and air draft. I wouldn't want over 5' draft, although some would say 4' and some would say 6' is fine. Air draft must be less than 19'1". That still limits a couple of choices, taking the Champlain route or the West Erie. At 15' you can pretty much do anything I think.
As to what to do before:
Well, first find a boat that meets your criteria. Chartering some can help you further focus on your likes and dislikes.
Then, I'd get a Captain familiar with your boat and it's type to give me a little training on all the systems, on handling it. How much depends on what you know. Some kind of course would be helpful such as an CG Auxiliary or Power Squadron type.
Then I'd use it somewhat locally. More than a normal shakedown cruise. Get comfortable with it in every way. Work through any problems it has.
While doing all that I'd read every blog and book people have written about doing the Loop so you can really think of how you want to do it. Ideally, I think it would be good to loop in your second year of ownership.