Thursday, May 10, 2007

Loopers, Discussion lists, Blog miscellany

Since we are still 3-5 days of prep time away from leaving the dock, I (Kathie) will fill in a few details about the trip, the prep, and the lifestyle for our ‘non-Loopy’ friends. At the end I’ll comment on some of the comments (all welcomed!).
The aft deck cover is in final stages and as soon as the fiberglass dust is removed from the aft cabin, we will load and leave, say, May 15; see the attached photo of the aft cabin configured as Doug’s workshop. The number of tasks to be accomplished, and the time and energy involved in choosing and assembling adequate stock for the boat (we will be in the US and Canada after all) has been astonishing. Our more seasoned friends who cruise seem to think that we are proceeding with dispatch!
The Great Loop folks (“Loopers”) include several hundred people each year who travel the Great Circle route in one of its various formulations; for example, we plan to go up the Hudson and use the Erie Canal to go to Oswego NY, then Lake Ontario and to the Trent Severn Waterway to cross Canada to Lake Huron; others may choose to go the full length of the Erie Canal to Lake Erie and then via Detroit to Lake Michigan. The Skipper Bob website and the Great Loop Cruisers’ Association (AGLCA; see links on this blog) provide excellent information about the routes and other issues.
Most people do the Loop in trawlers (read: slow but comfortable powerboats), while some may travel in go-fast powerboats or sailboats. People have even done the Loop on jet-skis, canoes, or other less likely vessels.
We read the Trawlers and Trawlering and the Great Loop discussion lists (both through the “samurai” group of websites; see links on this blog). Doug also participates in sailboat discussion lists. Also, I just subscribed to an AGLCA “real-time” discussion list which posts up-to-the-minute information about fuel prices, marinas and other facilities in specific locations, boats for sale, maintenance issues, and weather reports, including conditions in various places (Oriental NC downtown was flooded this week) and suggestions about how to weather ongoing storms. This is a friendly, helpful, and vocal group; the latest post is labeled “AGLCA-2007:3761,” which means as of May 10 (day 130 of 2007) there have been 3761 posts, or 20-40 a day. In mid-April we attended the AGLCA “Spring Rendezvous” which is a forum for meeting fellow travelers and hearing about upcoming areas that we will transit, and it is fun to recognize some of the posters on this discussion list!
Answers to comments and questions:
We will follow the Great Loop in the traditional counterclockwise fashion which takes advantage of the current flow in inland US rivers (Illinois, Mississippi, and Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterways); in a different example, boats usually go clockwise to complete the “Little Loop” (Erie and Oswego Canals to Lake Ontario and St. Laurence Seaway; then the Richelieu Canal to Lake Champlain and Canal) because of the current flow in the St. Laurence Seaway.
We will avoid wintering in the Great Lakes and hurricane season in the south, especially Florida. Our year is anchored by the America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association Rendezvous (Charleston in April; Pentanguishine, Canada, in July, and Rogersville, Alabama in October), and other timing is determined by places we want to see, friends we want to visit, and other people we hope to meet along the way.
We don’t plan to spend time in Long Island or New England this year, because if we don’t get through Canada and the Great Lakes by shortly after Labor Day, we must store the boat for the winter and resume the Loop next year. In future years, we anticipate months-long trips to the northeast and also the Chesapeake in future years.
Technical issues: Several people have told us that they have had trouble posting comments to the blog. We have not fully mastered the capabilities of this weblog but are pleased with what this site can potentially offer. A more computer-savvy friend is working on straightforward directions for non-geeks like me, which I will post when I receive them. Thanks for visiting our blog!


Anonymous said...


Wow - I had heard something about your impending cruise - way cool man - congratulations.

Come to think of it, I didn't know you had a trawler. I thought you were more of a sail guy.

As usual, I'm impressed with your fabrication skills and I loved the blog - I'll be following along. I wish you had some time to visit in New England.

Did you go to the Loop Rondo in Charleston in April? We were down there in April visiting my son. Wish I had known - I would have made time to visit.

Good luck on this trip - I will be following along.

By the way, the Sheik is a numb de plumb - aka Tom Francis. :>) I might create a different account with my real name just to keep the confusion down. :>)

norm pontchartrain said...

Great blog so far. When will the movie come out?

In your spare time I need Doug to come help me put a new deck on MANY MOONS, the Hartley TS16 step child. I guess I'll learn epoxy and cloth on my own, with the Gougeons looking over my shoulder, instead of you.

We're hopeing you have a blog long on travelog and short on travails.

Smooth seas,
Norm & Leslie

Anonymous said...

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts