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Old 18-05-2015, 20:51   #31
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

Absolutely you can do it. One of the great things about the Great Loop is that, if necessary, you can abandon the trip pretty much anywhere. Health concern, breakdown, whatever, you're always near civilization.

I think you're in close to the perfect boat as well. With the swing keel you needn't fear even much and can survive a beaching if you have to do that to avoid a storm.

I would absolutely get yourself a smartphone and familiarize yourself with its operation however. It's the single best piece of "tech" you can have with you on the Great Loop and will save you money frequently just in being able to find the least-cost options for food, fuel, restaurants, marinas, etc.

You might consider skipping the rough bits in the gulf coast completely by doing most of the loop, just not that part. You can have your boat trailered from MS to FL relatively cheaply.

You will need to be able to step your mast for a bridge or two, so be sure you know how to do that and can accomplish it on your own.
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Old 18-05-2015, 22:42   #32
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2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

I know one guy who took a 26 ft sailboat down the Mississippi from Ky Lake. His dream was to do that. There are not many places to refuel on the Mississippi and the trip to Florida is longer and current can be a blessing and a curse. I have been down the Tenn-Tom twice and back up once. I would go the Tenn-Tom route and start at KY Lake. There are more fueling stops and marinas with courtesy cars to go re provisioning. Get a smart phone, tablet or something electronic with Internet capability and use Active Captain for anchorage and marina information. Get Sailflow for weather and heed their forecasts, particularly around the Gulf. You should be able to pick your way around the Big Bend.


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Old 19-05-2015, 08:02   #33
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

Another voice of encouragement. Just don't get in a hurry, or too focused on destinations and timeline. Caveat being close attention to seasonal and daily weather patterns. Storm season is obvious, but afternoon thunderstorms is something people don't consider. Except others have already mentioned here.

When I'm coastal cruising , or on the ICW and stopping each night, I travel early in the day and drop the hook by mid afternoon if storms are looming. At the very least I have a 3:00 anchorage and an 8:00 anchorage and make a call on what to do by first anchorage. That's just one way of handling it.

Getting information and having communications really is key for daily planning. If a smart phone is too small then you can use a larger device like your laptop tethered to your iPhone. I use my iPhone as a mobile hotspot, so I can access the Internet with any of my devices.

I'm skeptical about your using open cpn and a laptop for primary nav. You need something waterproof for use at the helm, single handing a small boat. Hand held gps and paper is all you need, a small chart plotter dumbs it all down. You can do that with an iPhone or iPad with navionics in a lifeproof case. Makes it real easy to see where you are on the water but is not necessary at all. But do get some kind of gadget for nav, checking weather radar and forecast, active captain, cruisers forum, whatever you like to use.

If you have the time, don't let anything stand in the way,of you and your adventure. If you're careful and reasonably healthy and strong to begin with, it will only make you healthier and stronger. Be strategic about staying mobile and getting off the boat to move around some. I've had friends your age - experienced cruisers - get turned around by little stuff as a result of overdoing it. You sound like you'll do just fine. Have fun and let us know how you're progressing.


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Old 19-05-2015, 08:43   #34
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

I am too in the paper charts team. I sure use gps as much or more than most. Not a reason not to have paper charts, be it Xerox copies, onboard.

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Old 19-05-2015, 08:53   #35
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

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I think your right to be nervous about the Big Bend leg, I go from Dog Island to Tarpon Springs myself, and it's a pretty popular route, I believe you could wait in Apalachicola for a couple of days and go with another boat or two. Wx is the issue in my opinion, not navigation. Worst case you get lost, head due East till you see land, then turn right till you see a built up area. Be real hard to miss Florida.
Pop for a Sea Tow or Tow Boat US membership, that way you won't need it, but if you do it's real expensive without membership

This is one of those rare threads of this type: "I don't have any experience but can I sail a Hobie Cat across the Pacific and live on it full time in a tent?"

Where you can answer, for a change, "absolutely; go for it!". I think it will be a splendid adventure and I think the vessel is fine for the purpose. The OP sounds like he has plenty of basic experience and skill. Go for it!

Navigation for something like this is no problem. A basic chart plotter and electronic charts, and maybe a good set of paper chart books, some pilot guides, and you should be good to go.

Nowhere on this route has you more than a few hours from shelter. Almost no where on this route will you be without Internet via mobile phone. So you can watch the weather closely and just stay in port when there's any question about it.

With the swing keel and a good sculling oar you will hardly be afraid of running aground.

I would say that the biggest challenge might actually be avoiding spending all your money on marina berths. But with a boat with such a shallow draft, you can get into all kinds of hidey holes, tie up or anchor out.

Another advantage of that boat is that you can "portage" around any parts of the trip you don't want to sail by hiring someone to trailer the boat.

The only disadvantage of that boat is that it will be pretty basic for living aboard for a year. Sewage may be a problem as much of the route is a no-discharge zone and the toilet police may be out in strength. Electrical power, refrigeration, fresh water, heat will all be things to think through.
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Old 19-05-2015, 08:56   #36
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

For the great lakes portion of the voyage, which along with the gulf will be the most challenging weather and navigation wise, there are chart books you can buy called "Richardson's". They work as well as anything on a small boat. I carry a combination of paper charts, Richardson's and Ports Guides for all great lakes navigation and US Coast Pilot 6. I have never felt the need for ECS, activecaptain or openCPN. All the information you need is in the publications. I'm not on a dockominium either, I do plenty of cruising and exploring.

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Old 19-05-2015, 10:46   #37
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

Get yourself a hand held chart plotter. I did the whole east coast with a Garmin . Worked great. You need to figure out how to power your vhf and charge your phone and laptop.
I met a couple of girls doing the loop in a skiff and a tent on a plywood deck on the Chesapeake bay and they started from Chicago. Keep us posted I'll buy you a beer when you come by.

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Old 19-05-2015, 11:06   #38
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

Google American great loop map

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Old 19-05-2015, 11:38   #39
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

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I've got a couple of last minute things to do, mount my new to me spring loaded heavy duty motor mount. Get the sliding galley on board and sink hooked up to the scupper drain, get an antenna and mount it for the vhf, and I just wrote an offer for a Craig痴 list C22 boom vang.
I still need to decide where to start from. My choices are Kentucky lake on the Tenn. tom water way to mobile bay 318 miles to launch, or the Arkansas river 90 miles to launch, to go down to the MS then down to NO LA , or haul the boat down to the North Gulf to launch 526 - 600 miles to launch directly in North Gulf.
My original thinking was to start south from Kentucky Lake October 1 so as to be on the Northern Gulf at the end of Hurricane season (Nov 30). Taking the Tenn. - Tom waterway route to mobile bay.
I reason that the Arkansas - Ms - NO LA water route will put me to late for a fall trip to Fl. Even if it would be the shortest haul to launch.
And I don't know if I want to run my outboard that much in the Ms River as it is pretty muddy and gets low in late summer. Anybody know about how that would be?
The other thing is should I move to a different topic in this forum?
If you'd like to get out of the meets and greets then the destination forum is a good place for this type of thread. If it were me I'd do the Tenn Tom just to escape all the river traffic and the lock throughs but I don't know much about either way.
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Old 21-05-2015, 08:47   #40
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Re: 2nd Try To Not Be Embarrassed Off Forum But Unsure What Topic (If Any) I知 In

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If you'd like to get out of the meets and greets then the destination forum is a good place for this type of thread. If it were me I'd do the Tenn Tom just to escape all the river traffic and the lock throughs but I don't know much about either way.
Thanks for the direction I have moved my thread as suggested to the destinations.
look for the heart and ' C-22 on the Great Loop '
and thank all for the welcomes, advice and most of all the support.
Peace and Love, James
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