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Old 22-01-2016, 14:22   #1
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Great Loop

Hello everyone,
I'm new to this forum. I am recently retired and have always had the dream of completing the Great Loop. I have limited experience and am now in the process of searching for the best boat for me to complete my goal. Right now i am interested in the Ranger Tugs. I would be interested from hearing from anyone who has completed the loop in one or a similar type boat.
thanks
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Old 22-01-2016, 14:29   #2
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Re: Great Loop

There American Great Loop Cruisers Assn. has page on Facebook for loopers. You would get a lot of responses if you posted there.
https://www.facebook.com/AGLCA/?fref=ts
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Old 22-01-2016, 14:52   #3
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Re: Great Loop

What questions do you have?
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Old 27-01-2016, 11:37   #4
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Re: Great Loop

How to cruise America's Great Loop
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Old 27-01-2016, 13:48   #5
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Re: Great Loop

I've seen a good number of people over plan such a "dream" trip, don't over do what boat to buy, its all inland and you need just enough to be comfortable, practice with it for a season and just GO! All the other info posted is good reference.
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Old 27-01-2016, 14:05   #6
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Re: Great Loop

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Originally Posted by marlinmike View Post
I've seen a good number of people over plan such a "dream" trip, don't over do what boat to buy, its all inland and you need just enough to be comfortable, practice with it for a season and just GO! All the other info posted is good reference.
It's not quite that simple. There are draft and air draft restrictions and they vary a bit depending on the route.

I've seen the Ranger Tugs at boat shows and they seem to be pretty nice and pretty well built. I like the 31' the best and from what I've seen it would do very well on the Great Loop.
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Old 27-01-2016, 14:19   #7
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Re: Great Loop

That's why I stated the links provided was good reference, no need for me to rehash documented information, I was stating something I've seen many times when buying the boat becomes everything, heck you can buy an older shallow draft sailboat and remove the mast and have a great cruiser!
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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
It's not quite that simple. There are draft and air draft restrictions and they vary a bit depending on the route.

I've seen the Ranger Tugs at boat shows and they seem to be pretty nice and pretty well built. I like the 31' the best and from what I've seen it would do very well on the Great Loop.
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Old 27-01-2016, 14:30   #8
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Re: Great Loop

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I've seen a good number of people over plan such a "dream" trip, don't over do what boat to buy, its all inland and you need just enough to be comfortable, practice with it for a season and just GO! All the other info posted is good reference.
The challenges are different and you don't need a boat that can weather a hurricane but technically, it's much more challenging than open water cruising.

Open water cruising, you point the boat in the general direction and you have hours even days where little navigational skill is needed. On the loop it will be rare to have more than a couple hours of straight line sailing. You are in channels with shallows and other obstacles regularly.

Plan on motoring most if not all of the time. Sail or Motor vessel.

Shallow draft is preferred. Technically you could have upwards of 10' draft but I wouldn't choose a boat with more than 5' and 3' would be even better to get into many of the shallow areas.

You want a boat that is easy to handle and dock. Even if you anchor out there are a few dozen locks where you need close quarters maneuvering and the ability to quickly and safely move around the deck to handle lines.

Maximum air draft 20' but getting under 15' offers some advantage in route selection. (sail plan on pulling the mast for a couple sections).
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Old 27-01-2016, 16:05   #9
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Re: Great Loop

If you're serious about this, joining the American Great Loop Cruisers Assn is probably a good idea. There are links and blogs on the Internet and several books written by people who have done this. Do a search on amazon.com.

Even though I will probably not do the Great Loop, I have several of these books and I reread them from time to time.
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Old 27-01-2016, 19:01   #10
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Re: Great Loop

The Ranger Tug would be a very good boat for the Great Loop. Not sure what I would recommend over the trawler type boats.

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Old 27-01-2016, 19:07   #11
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Re: Great Loop

Having locked through many locks on the Erie Canal, I concur with Valhalla 360 to make sure any boat you buy has easily-negoiated side decks and good close-quarters maneuvering. Many people do the Great Loop in a single-engine boat; I would prefer to have the added reliability of two engines, especially on long river stretches where boatyards and mechanics are far and few between.
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Old 28-01-2016, 00:23   #12
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Re: Great Loop

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The Ranger Tug would be a very good boat for the Great Loop. Not sure what I would recommend over the trawler type boats.

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They look like nice boats but I would shy away. Even the biggest model only has a 10' beam. Knock off 1.5' for each side deck and wall and the interior salon is only going to be around 7' wide. It's going to have far less living space than comparable boats (I think they are trying to sell it as trailerable but 10' needs wide load permits in most states anyway)

Lots of other options where you get more width making the boat more livable for a cruise that typically takes a full year onboard.

For shorter trips or if the OP is single, it's not as much of a concern.
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Old 28-01-2016, 10:17   #13
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Re: Great Loop

Great Loop boat requirements
5ft or less draft
15ft or less vertical clearance
Fuel range must be greater than 376 miles
The Trip is 6000 miles
Typically, 50 miles cruised per day
For 99% of the trip the speed limit is 10MPH
Plan on at least 110 days
Depart in May and go counterclockwise
If you want someone to go with you I am available for free.
Cliff.meima@gmail.com
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Old 29-01-2016, 05:42   #14
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Re: Great Loop

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Great Loop boat requirements
5ft or less draft - 10ft or more is doable but will restrict your access to many anchorages and marinas.
15ft or less vertical clearance 20ft is doable but you can't do the western end of the Erie Canal (I would have to double check but it might force you to use the Cal-Sag canal instead of going thru downtown Chicago)
Fuel range must be greater than 376 miles The longest stretch without fuel is Hoppies on the Mississippi to Kentucky lake which is around 265 miles and a large chunk of that has the benefit of a 2-4kt boost from the current on the Mississippi which effectively increases your range (up the Ohio is against the current but it's a shorter distance and usually lower current)
The Trip is 6000 miles
Typically, 50 miles cruised per day - Depends largely on your boat and how much fuel you want to burn. A 25kt power boat might average 100miles at a relaxed pace. For a slow sailboat with a 5-6kt cruise speed, 25-30miles per day with occasional 50mile day would be more typical.
For 99% of the trip the speed limit is 10MPH - The vast majority of the trip has no speed limit.
Plan on at least 110 days Typical plan would be for a full year to follow the seasons. Fastest couple we met on the trip did it in 5 months but we don't know what they saw as it was travel on every decent day available.
Depart in May and go counterclockwise All depends where you are starting from. In may I would want to be at least up in the Carolinas if not on the Cheasapeake. By June I would want to be finishing the Hudson River. By September I would want to be past Chicago.
If you want someone to go with you I am available for free.
Cliff.meima@gmail.com
I'm not sure if it's still in print but Skipper Bob's guide gives a great overview of the trip and lays out the considerations in detail.
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Old 29-01-2016, 06:08   #15
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Re: Great Loop

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.............For 99% of the trip the speed limit is 10MPH .....................
Not correct. There is a speed limit on the Erie canal and a few no-wake zones in other places. The rest has no speed limit.

Of course a trawler won't be exceeding 10 MPH anyway and there's little point in just speeding through a trip like this. Take it slow, stop and see the towns along the way and make it the trip of a lifetime.

As for the best start date, it depends on where you're starting from. You want to plan on being in the northern part in the summer and the southern part in the winter.

For most folks it takes a year or more.
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