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Old 31-03-2009, 11:01   #1
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Great Loop Info

Admiral Jackie & I are currently on the Rio Dulce River in Guatemala. We are planning on returning to the states in May to return to work & beef up the cruising kitty. We would like to bring our Island Packet 35, 48ft mast, 4 1/2 ft draft up through Mobile bay to as close to our cabin in the Blue Ridge Mtns ( north of Atlanta) as possible.

How far up the Great Loop can we navigate inland without dropping our mast?????

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Old 31-03-2009, 13:34   #2
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I believe the Erie Canal in upstate New York is the only problem you will have. All the rest of the places have bridges that open. The canal across Central FL has a limit I don't recall but they have folks that will lean you over to get by. Just not sure how much that is.

You can also get details on the great Loop Web site:

Great Loop Cruising Narrated Photo Tour
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Old 31-03-2009, 17:22   #3
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Loop Info Mobile, AL North

Thanks for the reply Paul

The only section we will be traveling this time will be from Mobile, AL to a marina close to our cabin in north Georgia, in the blue ridge mtns.

Our other choice is to run the boat to the east coast somewhere near Brunswick, while nice we would worry about hurricanes and it would be a 6 hour drive for us.

We have been in Mexico/Belize/Guatemala and need to head back for 1 or two years to bump up the cruising kitty, the economony has played havoc on our cruising plans. Such is life.

Again, thanks for the reply
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Old 31-03-2009, 18:30   #4
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In that case you won't be doing the whole loop and should find it a pleasant trip none the less. We have members that have done the section you require so don't be afraid to ask. The Great Loop web site has a lot of good information as well. We have friends leaving Brunswick soon to Bahamas and then back to VA. They seem to like it a lot. I can see the long drive would be - long.
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:13   #5
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Great Loop Info

Thanks again for reply Paul, unfortunitely the Great Loop forum was canceled due to the large amout of spam it generated.

From what I have gleemed off of the net it appears that bridges, hwy and RR are at 52 ft or above, no problem for me at 48 ft unless the river is at flood stage. I still wonder about electrical lines - maybe a call to the Corp of Engineers would be good or perhaps a few upstream marinas to see if any other sailboats have made it that far.

We had our IP in St Petersburg, FL for 5 years and it was a 10 hour drive for us we never really looked forward tro the drive.
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:09   #6
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Bridges are your only issue. Electrical lines are always far higher in all cases. As best I recall the Erie canal is the only issue on the entire loop. If you have specific questions on the segments you are planning feel free to post them as I'm sure we have members that can give you more information. I know the route from the gulf up to Chicago is clear not to mention the entire Mississippi as well. The TennTom route is far more scenic.
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:36   #7
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big slick

Just completed the loop from Panama City to Oriental NC. The so called ICW on the Florida West Coast is very very shallow. Next time I would take the outside route from Panama City to Venice, then on the IWC to Ft Myers.

Lake Okachobee (sp?). Can be very hairy if the wind is 15 mph or more. We crossed west to east with 7.5 ft controlling depth The bottomis lime stone not mud. There is no margin for navigation error on the approach to the locks on the east bank The loop route is not passable because of hurricane debris.

The railroad bridge on the east side is still there and the height limit is about 50 feet.
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Old 01-04-2009, 13:22   #8
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Hello Randy,

Our boat is presently in Demopolis AL (216 miles up the mobile river). I know you will have no problem getting this far and I dought seriously if you will have any probem, in the Tenn-Tom getting up to the Tennessee River. The Tennesse River navagatable is to Chatannoga TN and even up to Knoxville TN however, I have no idea how much clearance there is under the bridges. I do know that the Tenn-Tom charts produced by the Corp of Engineers are deceiving ..... many the bridges are shown to have a clearance of 42ft. however that is from high flood levels which could be +/- 30ft. above the normal water levels .... in other words 42ft. + 30ft. = +/-72 ft. clearance when the river is at it's normal level.

Maybe someone who has knowledge of the Tennessee River could help you out with some local knowledge.

Good Luck, Bill A.
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Old 01-04-2009, 20:11   #9
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Paul, just FYI, there is a 19' clearance fixed bridge in Chicago that you must pass under to transit from Lake Michigan to the Illinois River.

Randy, you should be good as far up as Knoxville on the Tennessee River, depending on where you where planning on keeping your boat. If I recall correctly, 52' is the minimum bridge clearance. Skipper Bob Publications has a good cruising guide (Cruising from Chicago to Mobile) that I used while doing the Loop(I went as far as Chattanooga), although I can't remember if it covers the Tennessee above the Tennessee/Tenn-Tom junction. If not, there are other cruising guides available for the Tennessee.
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Old 02-04-2009, 22:15   #10
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Thanks for replys

Thanks to all who replyed, esp Bill A. = We were worried about the lower loop near Mobile, Al - and our 48ft mast.

We will probably wait till we get back to the states before buying charts and guides,

BTW it was 101F today here in Guatemala.

Looks like we may head to Isla Mujeres then st pete then mobile & tackle the loop. It will be nice to hit some flat water for a change.


Randy,Jackie, Nelson, Lady & Annie.
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:47   #11
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How do you like the marina in Demo?
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:40   #12
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Randy,

I just ran across the cruising blog of the S/V Seductress. They went down the Tennessee river to the Tenn-Tom and then down to the gulf. Their mast height is 49'1". When I saw this, I thought of you. You can find their blog at: Station R: Cruising Under Sail If you could contact them, their experiences might be a big help to you.

Demopolis is a great place to store the boat (in or out of the water). Nice folks, away from hurricanes, etc. The bad part of it is that I'm 3 1/2 hours away from my mom's house. Actually, we would love to cruise down to the rio where you guys are. Do you know our good friends Rodney & Katrina on Angelena (they are now in Belize but dock at Monkey Bay in the Rio)?

email me if you have any questions, Bill A. S/V Mobetah
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:36   #13
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Super Blog - very good and lots of useful help, many thanks.

Have contacted Brown's Creek Marina on Lake Guntersville - I think we will eventually try to work our way up to their site and make it our home for the boat for the next two years or so.

Plans are to leave Guatemala the beginning of next month (May) and work our way up the coast to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, cut across the Gulf of Mexico to St Petersburg, Flordia , work our way up the Florida coast to Mobile, Alabama then head north.

Should be quite an adventure!!!!!

Capt Randy, Admiral Jackie & Chief Security Officers Nelson, Lady & Annie
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Old 14-04-2009, 20:36   #14
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Change of routes

After studying the pilot charts and wx info we have calculated, using wind and current historical data, that it will take the same amount of time to sail from Isla Mujeres, Mexico to Mobile, AL as it will to sail from Isla to St Petersburg, FL even though its about 100nm further, due to the favorable winds and currents expected in May. Not to mention once in St Petersburg we still would have another 300 miles to go to reach Mobile, AL.

Met a skipper here on the river in Guatemala who has done the lower loop in his 52' sailboat, was kind enough to sit down with me for about 2 hours and pointed out good and possible anchorages along my intended route.

Its the people side of this lifestyle that makes it all worthwhile to me.

Wil keep ya posted of my progress
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Old 14-04-2009, 22:13   #15
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Hello all !

I have just read this whole thread and I must say...what a treat!!!

I think that this is what it is all about ! The sharing of info ,the friendliness,,its all so good ...there are so many things that we come across in life where there is such a reluctance to share ..such a treat!

Good to see it
thank you
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