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Old 26-11-2020, 04:40   #1
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The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

Hey All
We are planning to start the Great Loop this summer--up Lake Huron, around the top and down into Lake Michigan--formally starting our journey in Chicago/down the interior/over across the bottom and up the atlantic seaboard...time is not an issue, but of course we are staging ourselves to coincide with the right weather and yes yes...covid notwithstanding.
So:
I have the book.
I know about the forum of ' loopers' and I will join that.
I did a 'search' in the annals of time here and didnt come up with much information, but anybody out there do the loop?
Thoughts on the experience? I need something to plan to get me outta my funk.
Thanks!
LauraLee
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Old 26-11-2020, 05:31   #2
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

We only did the Oswego and erie canals to nyc. Then stayed coastal and warm.
But we really enjoyed the canals and locks. The loopers we met were like sailors everywhere. Warm and friendly, eager to hear and to share stories you will have the time of your life
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Old 26-11-2020, 06:17   #3
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

You will have one crossing, which you could start to plan. There is no ICW between Carrabelle, FL (our base) and Tarpon Springs. By slow boat it's an overnight, although with only a minor dog leg toward the east you can stay in water shallow enough to anchor for some sleep.
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Old 26-11-2020, 06:24   #4
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

What are your plans for "the bridge" in Chicago that is the bane of sailboaters wanting to do the Loop? Or is that bridge no longer an issue?

Eager to do the Loop as well..
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Old 26-11-2020, 06:27   #5
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV Bacchus View Post
What are your plans for "the bridge" in Chicago that is the bane of sailboaters wanting to do the Loop? Or is that bridge no longer an issue?

Eager to do the Loop as well..
We plan to do what a lot of ppl do and makes sense to me.... demast and have the mast shipped from Chicago to Mobile Alabama... cost is approximately 1000$ and would free up a lot of space and make the boat more stable...
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Old 26-11-2020, 06:31   #6
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

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We plan to do what a lot of ppl do and makes sense to me.... demast and have the mast shipped from Chicago to Mobile Alabama... cost is approximately 1000$ and would free up a lot of space and make the boat more stable...
Gotcha, so the darn bridge is still in the way. Grrrrrrrr

A great adventure, keep us posted as the plans progress.
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Old 26-11-2020, 06:33   #7
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

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Gotcha, so the darn bridge is still in the way. Grrrrrrrr

A great adventure, keep us posted as the plans progress.
Yep- covid has taught me lots- one thing is- if not NOW, WHEN??
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Old 26-11-2020, 07:33   #8
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

Enjoy the journey.


At present our boat is on the Mississippi near St. Paul and is small enough we can trailer it ourselves to nearby waters. I've given a lot of thought to the GL, and we've been along enough of the river and through enough of the locks to have some idea what it's like.


The "Great Loop" implies a circular passage. It is my observation that there are other ways to enjoy these waterways and that making a continuous circle unnecessarily constrains planning.


One possibility not usually considered is skipping Chicago and instead proceeding to Duluth then having the boat trucked the short distance to Stillwater. This skips "that bridge" and the many 47' bridges on the Illinois Waterway. There are marinas with mast stepping facilities at both Duluth and Stillwater and there is 60' clearance down river from Stillwater to the gulf (52' if you take the Tenn Tom). Depending on timing it is possible to leave the boat on the hard for the winter in either city.
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Old 26-11-2020, 07:48   #9
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

Bridge is still there, and the locks which were closed this summer for maintenance recently re-opened. This caused a few friends to delay their departures on the southerly trip from Chicago by a month or so..One is currently on their way now, and are on the Ohio River last I checked yesterday.
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Old 26-11-2020, 08:30   #10
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

LauraLee,


We did the Loop in 15 and 16. We had a great time and I have only a few thoughts for you. First, take your time. Do not rush through the trip. You will see beautiful places and some really run down towns, All of them have a story. Stop and look and talk to people. Tell them about your adventure and ask them what you should see and do in their part of the world. Bikes aboard help with mobility but don't hesitate to rent or borrow a car to go see something.



Be respectful of the commercial traffic on the waterways; contact the tugs by radio and discuss passing situations with them. They are the pros and are moving incredible loads. They are busy but most will talk with you about your plans.


When you get to the big rivers, it helps to travel with other PC's (pleasure craft). We had a group of six boats as we worked our way through the locks. Lock masters have to balance the commercial traffic and the PC's, the commercial gets priority. We found that most locks would pass a group of PC's more quickly than just one or two.


The most difficult part of the loop is the Mississippi. The water flow is amazing. Watch the weather in Minnesota and Wisconsin, rain up there changes the flow in the river in a day or so. You will be so happy to see the Ohio river when you get to it.


Pay attention to the weather. Summer in the Midwest is tornado season so be aware.


Don't worry about the open water passage in Florida. Apalachicola is a nice town to wait for a weather window. Do not be in a rush.



Well, that's where I started. Enjoy the anticipation but 2021 may be too early for the world to open again.


Cheers
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Old 26-11-2020, 11:57   #11
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraleeG View Post
We plan to do what a lot of ppl do and makes sense to me.... demast and have the mast shipped from Chicago to Mobile Alabama... cost is approximately 1000$ and would free up a lot of space and make the boat more stable...
Sounds like a great plan. But without a mast a sailboat is much less stable, lacking the damping inertia of whipping a 50' or so several hundred lb. rig side-to-side. Counter-intuitive, but true!
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Old 26-11-2020, 12:26   #12
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

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Sounds like a great plan. But without a mast a sailboat is much less stable, lacking the damping inertia of whipping a 50' or so several hundred lb. rig side-to-side. Counter-intuitive, but true!
Yes, that has been our experience, too, PineyWoodsPete. However, river traffic is generally lacking in ocean swell, which is what really was the problem when we were dismasted, so I would expect being mastless in a river is less problematic than in the sea.

Ann
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Old 26-11-2020, 12:42   #13
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

GET THIS BOOK!!

Home

I found it to be the best thing out there since bottled beer. It posts all nav points distances you name it.

As I cruised along I kept it open on the dash board and checked off each point as I passed.

It is essential IMHO and I have no connection to Alan Lloyd or anything else.

I did the Loop on an Acadia 32 down east style boat, single diesel, Autopilot (essential) Used an iPad for main navigation tool, with Garmin 1090 (I think) as back up. Mounted iPad on bulkhead with Ram mount suction cup, it never fell off. Worked great. No SIM card, iPad had built in GPS.

My boat had no bridge so I could slip under almost every bridge. Only had to ask for very few openings, which saved a bunch of time. Some bridges will make you wait up to maybe 2 hours for an opening which is a pain drifting around waiting.
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Old 26-11-2020, 12:46   #14
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

Join https://www.greatloop.org/
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Old 26-11-2020, 13:06   #15
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Re: The Great Loop-lets talk about that to get me outta my funk....

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
Yes, that has been our experience, too, PineyWoodsPete. However, river traffic is generally lacking in ocean swell, which is what really was the problem when we were dismasted, so I would expect being mastless in a river is less problematic than in the sea.

Ann
We did the Loop in 2016 in our Beneteau Oceanis 44 CC Cutter. The parts we had to do without the mast were quite comfortable. And the cost to ship it from Waukegan, IL to Turner Marine in Mobile, AL was closer to $500.

If you don't have AIS - GET IT! The commercial tows have it and it allows you to see around the bend. That gives you the opportunity to hail it. You will be told which side you should pass on: the One Whistle or the Two Whistle!

BTW, do as much of Lake Superior as possible! We went all the way to Nipagon, ON. While there we crossed the 49th latitude. Its the only place to sail that far north in fresh water (without a trailer).
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