The Great Loop. Are You a Looper?

Updated 12:45 AM ET, Fri January 4, 2013
The Great Loop.  Are You a Looper?
The circumnavigation of Eastern North America by water is known, to a tight circle, as The Great Loop. Boaters who travel this "loop", known as Loopers, could be aptly described as fanatical about the trip.

As a broker, and someone who works for a boat brokerage, I hear everything at my job. I've talked to people who are buying (or scouting for a boat) to use for everything from starting a charter fishing business to the pending "end of days". All of those stories are interesting but, what I find most fascinating is boaters or families intent on making The Great Loop.

And we get contacted alot by boaters planning to sail The Great Loop. Notice my intentional use of capital letters each time I mention The Loop? It is apparently a requirement when speaking about The Loop and I do not want to upset any Loopers ;)

According to the American Great Loop Cruisers' Association (ALGCA), "The Great Loop is the continuous waterway that encompasses the eastern portion of North America including the Atlantic and Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, the Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of America's heartland."

It is considered safe but, perhaps more importantly, it is considered the adventure of a lifetime by all who have dared to undertake the journey - or even just small parts of it when convenient.

We see comments every day about The Great Loop and indeed we often counsel our clients on which boats are best and the best ways to prepare for the journey. I selected a few of these comments for this article from our exhaustive email database (I assure you there are literally thousands of comments regarding this adventure):

"I would love to make the loop. It sounds like such a fantastic way to see the country, and a great way to travel. The great loop is definitely on my bucket list."

"Our first goal is to complete the great loop within the next five years, and then upgrade to a larger boat to travel around the Caribbean islands."

"It will need to be a diesel cruiser with a lot of range to make the great loop."

"My wife and I are at the beginning point of planning to experience the Great Loop. We are just learning about it and of course one of the first questions is which boat is best for this adventure? Our planned departure date would be summer of 2014 so purchase of a boat is one or two years out. I am looking at all options and if I become more knowledgeable on the subject may purchase for dry dock in one or two years."

"In May I'm doing the Great Loop with a friend that has a 50'..."

"I am doing a little daydreaming about taking the great loop around the east coast."

"...would like to try doing the great loop someday when we retire(a couple of years away yet)..."

And comments from our sellers who have been there, done that:

"I am retired from boating and looking for offers. This would make a great liveaboard cruiser or great loop boat."

"She would be the perfect choice for doing the great loop."

"After 12 years and the Great Loop, time for a new owner of this US-made, high quality long range cruiser with liveaboard qualities."

"Extensive maintenance records and how-to instructions available. All necessary charts and info for the Great Loop included."

"The N35 is perfect for coastal or canal cruising, or even completing the Great Loop. Her mast can be easily lowered for bridge clearance."

And even a few from our sales associates:

"Well if you do..I will help you with that great loop as a crew member :)"

"I know you're planning on doing the great loop. That's got to be exciting. I hope to make that trip as well some day. Are you going to be doing it in two parts? I know that many people choose to do it that way."

"I hear you're planning on doing the great loop. What a great adventure!"

"I had never hear of the great loop until I was involved with the sale of a 1979 Marine Trader 40'. I asked the couple buying the boat what they were going to use it for, and they explained to me what the loop was. I have since done some more research, and looked at the AGLCA's site, but, it will be some time until I am ready to make the voyage."

And then we even get interesting requirements like:

"I am actually looking for a boat to do the great loop with my wife, 4 year old daughter comes the complicated part, our huge dog..."

If you have comments to share about The Great Loop, please feel free to leave them here on this blog. We always welcome any and all commenters and I'm certain anyone reading this who was unaware of The Loop would be interested in a few comments from people who have completed it or plan to do it.

If you are at least considering planning such a monumental trip for you and your family, the first step is planning the purchase of the right vessel. The perfect vessel has a draft of no more than 5 feet and a bridge clearance of 19' or less (for you sailboaters).

The links below are for all Trawlers (family-size cruising vessels) in the right suggested length range (36'-44'), ordered by the most popular:

Under $50,000

$50,000 - $100,000

More than $100,000

NOTE: These search lengths do NOT take into account draft and bridge clearance

More information on the Great Loop can be found at:

And, of course, in Wikipedia at:

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