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Sunroof Sunroof is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: South of the Mason-Dixon Line
Posts: 3,628
I am one of those guys you hear about on occasion if your a sailor and want to liveaboard and cruise. Yep, back in the early 80's I quit my job, sold my home and just about all possessions and bought a Coronado 35 sloop rigged sailboat in St. Augustine, Florida. With my wife and then three year old son we set out to explore the coast of America via the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and coastwise sailing. It was an adventure of a lifetime.

If you are adventurous and want to explore the USA via its lakes and waterways, Google THE GREAT LOOP and read first hand about the many who have journeyed along this little known water trail around the eastern half of the USA. For starters, lets say we begin in Jacksonville, Florida where you are ready to travel north up the ICW up through the Carolina's, Chesapeake, New York and up the Hudson River where you turn left on the Erie Canal. You will travel through the great lock system and into the Great Lakes where you eventually enter Lake Michigan and head south to the City of Chicago. You enter the Chicago River (max clearance from those bridges downtown is only 17 feet, so its mast down on a sailboat), through the Illinois Barge Canal to the Mississippi River. Heading south you can go all the way to New Orleans or take the Tombigbee Waterway through Alabama and exit at Mobile. This will be your first run in open Ocean (Gulf of Mexico) where you can hug the Florida coastline, cut through Lake Okeechobee at Fort Myers to Stuart, Florida or make a direct run down the coast to the Keys and around back up Florida to Jacksonville where CONGRATULATIONS you just navigated the GREAT LOOP!

Their are books, clubs, meetings and organizations dedicated to this magnificent route and the lifestyle. Its all laid out for you and you can take as long as you wish you complete. Many will leave boats in dry dock for the winter along the way to continue in the spring as you have to travel based on season. Folks have done this on runabouts and pontoon boats to large Trawlers (remember that height restriction). Sailboats have been popular because with the mast down (when you get to the Erie Canal), a small three or four cylinder diesel costs less to operate and gets you farther on a tank.

So, check it out and get the hell out there!!

Catalina 30 Mark II
Breezin II
Lake Lanier, GA
Old 08-21-2020, 08:23 AM
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