Mainship Many Moons finished The Great Loop two months ago. Even among boaters and adventurers, it’s an unusual accomplishment. Fewer than 200 boats achieve this milestone each year, which is fewer than climb Mount Everest. That may be why so few know about it. (The National Geographic called it “the epic adventure you’ve never heard of.”) If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve seen the photos and posts but may not have the big picture. Some statistics might help.
I’ve perused the logbook with calculator in hand and came up with the numbers below. Our statistics are typical of frugal Gold Loopers — i.e, those who complete The Great Loop – and consistent with those mentioned in The Looper’s Companion Guide. Keep in mind that this journey was completed in a 40-year-old, 34-foot, diesel-fueled trawler with a single engine (no thruster) and 40-gallon water tank, traveling at about 8 mph.
Total miles under way: 6,220
Miles on The Great Loop: 5,356 (the rest were off the designated Loop route, including Lake Superior and the St. John’s River in Florida)
Total days gone: 345
Days under way: 152 (the rest were in port or at anchor, including four long stops of one to six weeks’ duration)
States traveled: 19
Free walls: 26
Longest-day cruise: 110 miles (Lake Erie)
Longest period without electricity/water: 7 days
Significant mechanical issues: 0! 🙂
Visitors: 16 (people who came to the boat while in port to host or visit us, plus two who spent time under way)
Boat cards collected 140+ (When Looper boats meet, they usually exchange “business cards” that feature their boat and crew. So we met at least 150 other Looping boats while under way on The Great Loop, since we didn’t get cards from all of them.)
Costs: About $6,000 for marinas and the same for fuel (1,322 gallons of diesel, averaging $4.46/gallon, 4-5mpg). This $12,000 does not include the cost of the boat itself, boat maintenance, or the occasional diver. It also doesn’t include food, eating out, socializing and entertainment, which can exceed the cost of marinas and fuel. Note also that Jeff received 2+ months of free dockage at two marinas in exchange for volunteer work. Jeff got a great deal on the boat itself and put a few years’ work into it before leaving. We’re pretty frugal by nature, and it was a very affordable adventure for us. My rough guess is that the entire trip, including cost of the boat, was under $30,000–far less than most Loopers who use new or larger boats and stay mostly in marinas.
Recent photos below of Many Moons at her home port anchorage on the southern shore of Lake Superior. (She’ll be back on land soon.) At bottom, see the map of The Great Loop which shows our track from July 2021 to July 2022 – minus the off-loop segments.