Why a year-long Great Loop journey does not work for us

The loop is typically made in about ten months, with the other two months spent in the Florida Keys or the Bahamas. That means 6000 miles divided by the remaining 300 days equals 20 miles per day of travel. Neither Deb nor I are interested in a 6000-mile boat ride, especially at seven mph.

When we left Mobile going across the pan-handle of Florida we quickly leaned that we wanted to be in one place for a least 3 days. The day you arrived is dedicated to boat chores: laundry, engine room check, docking, hooking up utilities, checking in, etc. This is all after lunch, most times around 4pm, after you have traveled all day. Day 2 gets spent checking out down town and might include a grocery run or trip to the hardware store or Walmart. Day 3 more exploring and a trip to the history center, museum, local parks, aquarium, etc. So, for us 3 days are the very minimum. If the town is interesting or the weather is bad, we might stay for up to a week.

Now back to the Math. If we have stayed for four days, then the next day, day 5, would require 100 miles of travel, and Lollipop cannot do that long of a trip at 6 or 7 miles an hour. So we have a max of about 60 miles per day. Even a faster boat will have difficulty covering that distance as no-wake zones, bridges, or locks slow you down.

As I write, a sailboat is leaving that came in about 4 pm yesterday, continuing their journey, and in 2 days, they will be in St. Augustine. It will take us five days to get to St. Augustine. If we move at 50 miles every five days, we are moving at half the speed required to make the loop in a year. Others have run into the same problem.

A semi-famous you Tuber, ‘What Yacht to do,’ put their boat in indoor heated storage in Michigan two years ago and went home for the winter, returning in the spring to continue.

As for us, time will tell. I have injured my shoulder, and when we get to Jacksonville, we will go home and visit some doctors. Meanwhile, Lollipop will be in Jacksonville, waiting for us to cruise the St. Johns River to Sanford, Florida.

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Captain Tom

For decades I have read boating magazines and dreamed of making The Great Loop. I have studied specs and knew what I wanted in a boat. I guess the timing is never perfect, but my wise dad told me to “travel before I get too old to travel.” So here we are about to embark on the trip of our life.

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