By The Numbers: Many Moons On “The Loop”


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

Marinas: 140

Anchorages: 67

Free walls: 26

Locks: 60

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.

14 thoughts on “By The Numbers: Many Moons On “The Loop”

    1. We are on a 3 week vacation from our “Vacation” on The Loop. Lee and I left the boat at Alton and took Amtrak to Dowagiac near our kids and our woods property. We’re splitting our time between there and our home at Hopkins. We are very busy doing work which needs to be done and some socializing too.

      Tom and Joyce decided to stay on the boat visiting with fellow Loopers, exploring Alton and spending time in the pool. They’ve also been really working on stuff on the boat which is much appreciated! We had to have Caterpillar service for an engine issue which Tom supervised. Also we were able to have some upholstery work done during this time.

      We’ll be returning to Redemption by train on the 16th and heading down the rivers! Have a wonderful Fall Season. Hope you’ll be spending some time in Michigan’s wonderful north.

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      1. I heard some of this from Jeff. I have been in the UP since late July and will stay a few more weeks. Still no progress on building a cabin but I love it here anyway. Living in a camper is quite similar to living on a boat!

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      1. We just left home in Colorado yesterday. Heading for Iowa for next wks highschool reunion for John. Then down to Arizona for the winter. Follow us on Facebook if you do that… John Johnson. He sent you a friend request.

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