THE GREAT LOOP, what you need to know.
Here’s what you need to know to plan the famous tour called THE GREAT LOOP.
Here are the most important facts about the characteristics of the route and the boat:
– The AIR DRAFT must not exceed 19 ft. 6 in. and ideally not exceed 19 ft. for this route.
– Boat length must not exceed 85 ft.
– Draft must be less than 6 ft, ideally between 4 and 5 ft.
– Beam must not exceed 23 ft.
– The boat must be able to cover more than 210 miles on a full tank of fuel.
– The entire trip is nearly 6,000 miles.
– It takes about 4 months to make the trip, with a few breaks.
– The height of the Erie Canal from NY to Oswego is 21 ft., continuing on to the Welland Canal, which opens onto Great Lake Erie, where the height (air draft) becomes 15 ft. 6 in.
– To navigate in the Chicago urban area as a visitor, some bridges don’t allow a height of more than 17′, but this is optional.
So you don’t necessarily need a trawler-type boat to make this trip. Really, many boats have the features to make this trip.
Many Meridian, Carver, Sea Ray, Cruisers Yachts, Beneteau, Jeanneau, Chaparral, Regal, Monterey and many other manufacturers can make this trip.
The important thing is that living aboard must meet your criteria and expectations. Of course, you have to respect the size criteria, but the boat must also meet your expectations for before and after the project. Buying a boat is an important decision, and you need to plan carefully to limit regrets later on.
Don’t hesitate to consult a broker to help you. At Ita Yachts Canada and its Owner Boats division, we are at your disposal to discuss this project with you.
The most important thing to remember is the height of the boat above the water, known as the ‘air draft’ or ‘bridge clearance’.
You have a choice of routes, but some optional routes lower the air draft, so you really need to plan carefully.
You need to see if it’s possible to swap or lower certain equipment, like the navigation mast where the navigation light is, for example. This can be done at very low cost, but it’s more difficult or more expensive, for example if you need to lower the RADAR.
You also have a few route choices, such as going through Georgian Bay and the Rideau Canal rather than through Great Lake Erie.
To sail via Sorel via Lake Champlain rather than via Oswego to New York via Albany, but the air draft is 17 ft. on this route.
You can also pass through Louisiana (New Orleans) or Alabama/Tennessee (Mobile Bay) via the TOMBIGBEE canal:
In short, you’ll have plenty of choice, so you’ll have to plan ahead for your marina stops, refuelling and fueling (diesel or gas), in short, hours of pleasure.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any topics of interest to suggest.
THE GREAT LOOP diagram.
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