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Old 28-11-2015, 10:03   #1
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Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

We would like to start the Great Loop in the next year, what are the advantages of sail vs power boats? We currently just spent the last month on our 19' Potter on Lake Powell, Mohave and Havasu, so we know we would like a larger boat, 28 to 34 ft to live aboard. Also, what type sailboat would be good? Thanks!
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Old 28-11-2015, 12:58   #2
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

Great Loop? I'll probably upset many here but I'd be looking at Trawlers myself. Of course you could do it with a sailboat, many do. But in just my opinion a Trawler is the tool for that job.
I'd stay away from fast boats though as they can go through fuel at an unbelievable rate.


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Old 28-11-2015, 13:18   #3
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

Thanks, we are considering a trawler, just for easier travel. But we have been very impressed with the gas consumption on sailboats!
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Old 28-11-2015, 13:35   #4
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

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Originally Posted by cliffdwellers2 View Post
Thanks, we are considering a trawler, just for easier travel. But we have been very impressed with the gas consumption on sailboats!
Fuel consumption on diesels is superior to gasoline.

Trawlers have very low fuel consumption, too. Do some more research. Have you read the Great Loop Association website? IIRC, there is a section about what boats have been used.

Good luck.
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Old 28-11-2015, 13:41   #5
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

A lot of diesel trawlers, like the Grand Banks, have square sterns and pretty awful fuel mileage. You would be better off with a cat, either a power cat or a sailing cat with the mast down.
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Old 28-11-2015, 13:58   #6
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

Where do you plan on sailing on the great loop?
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Old 28-11-2015, 14:11   #7
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Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

Neighbor in the slip here is doing the loop,, a lot of "loopers" are in the marina now, anyway they are in a Nordic tug, about the same size of my IP 38' they carry 330 gl of fuel? I think he said and burn about 2 GPH at 8 kts. He said it will run 15 kts, but fuel burn is 20 GPH at full bore, so double speed costs tens times the fuel. Pays to go slow.
Sounded like it has a 300 HP Cummins, maybe like what is in a Dodge PU.

I predict fuel cost in a Trawler will not even be close to your major expense in doing the loop, but in a go fast boat, may be the major expense.

Great loop sounds like fun, but also sounds like it's best done in a power boat, because I think there will be very little sailing, and in fact may be significant running with your mast un stepped.

I get all my info second hand, so verify it. I'd start by joining the association.

Sailboat does get good fuel mileage, due I think to the extremely efficient hull, has to be efficient or it would be a dog with just wind power. But I think of course there are trade offs using a sailboat as a power boat, best use boat as intended. Fuel cost is a little more than $2 a gl now, so using the Nordic tug and my IP 38 as examples, I would burn $16 a day less fuel than he would assuming we both ran 8 hours, he would cover 64 miles to my 56 though and he holds six times as much fuel, so he can pass by expensive fuel docks and belly up when cheap fuel is available.
Money I would spend stepping and un stepping my mast though would I bet way more than offset my fuel savings.





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Old 28-11-2015, 19:12   #8
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

CliffDweller, you are on the right track. See Capt John's for some stats on other loopers. I recently got rid of a powerboat I had planned on retiring on for this very reason. They drink too much fuel. It doesn't take much power for most of the loop...and you are speed limited mostly too.
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Old 28-11-2015, 20:04   #9
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

I have no first hand experience with the loop but have considered doing it somewhere in the future. So I have given it some thought. It would seem the chances to purely sail would be few. And a diesel is the way to go for fuel consumption. So how about a motor sailer? They come in various lengths and prices but I think something with a larger diesel that would let you do 7-8 knots would work well. I do run parts of the ICW with some frequency and with my motor sailer, I almost always fly at least the main with the engine and often fly some job as well...
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Old 29-11-2015, 05:12   #10
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, cliffdwellers.
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Old 29-11-2015, 07:47   #11
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

A sailboat is going to require the mast be remove on the Hudson River and probably not go back up until Mobile unless you plan to continuously put it up and down. Draft is important too. A good engine will be required to keep you moving in the river systems where strong currents can and will slow you down. Also consider fuel capacity since there will be long stretches where none can be found. A trawler is the preferred boat for most Loopers. We bought our trawler Beach House specifically for the comfort and practicality of doing the loop but we have also done the Bahamas and much of the eastern U.S. Go to the AGLCA website and look at some of the members blogs for lots of details and information. If you seriously plan to do the Loop, I suggest you join. The information alone is well worth the membership and nothing is better that going directly to those that have done it and are doing it right now and asking questions. Good luck. Chuck
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Old 29-11-2015, 08:35   #12
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

Most of the travel will be inland rivers, lakes, or canals. Motoring most of the time. Need some expanded fuel storage in spots. There are some nice quiet gas outboards made by Honda and some really neat 28-30 foot outboard motor boats that would make a great package. You do not really save much on diesel engines due to higher fuel costs. We had a Grand Banks 32 with a Lehman diesel that got about 4 mpg in the best of conditions. Our padebco 23 with a new Yamaha gets about 8mpg at 15mph. The noise from the Yamaha is way less then the noise was from the Lehman.
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Old 29-11-2015, 08:43   #13
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

I've done most of the loop several times on both ssil and power. Speed is not needed as there is little big water. Even if you can go fast there is constant slowing for docks slower boats and no wake zones. Sail boat you have to drop the mast for the northern part and boat hight is a problem with trawlers. So careful study of where you want to go and visit is nesicery. The AGLCA is a great source. Go to one of their meetings. I found it extremely well organized and informitive
Most buy a boat and find its not what they thought it would be. Buy the books go spend the weekend with them. Make sure your fuel tanks are clean and your charts up to date. Enjoy the trip.

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Old 29-11-2015, 09:04   #14
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

Good advice there. The trip will largely be boring, wet, cold even in summertime, and downright inconvenient. Some of the canals will be quaint, but otherwise quite barren or your in a big ditch. The big M is a real pain since you got to keep watch all the time. Once down south bugs will eat you alive. Along the way you get to realize that not all sewage is treated, dead bodies sometimes float, sometimes get blended in your props. Good luck, sleep well, and stay in touch.
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Old 29-11-2015, 09:10   #15
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Re: Advice on boat to use for the Great Loop

My choice would be a less than 50hp diesel power boat along the lines of an Albin 27, or somewhat longer.
Hard to find.
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