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"Bring Your Own Boat"
and take the voyage of a lifetime
America's Great Loop
For more on the "Great Loop" Boat - click NEXT
Your Great Loop Boat!
In a real big hurry? If so, a "TRUE" Trawler might not be the boat for you. But cruising around America's Great Loop isn’t about speed. It
is about safety & comfort. So, if you are ready for "a real voyage" while living on your boat, you might (and should) consider a Trawler. The
"true or real" Trawler has a rounded-bottom full displacement hull which easily accommodates comfortable sleeping, cooking and bathroom
facilities with larger appliances and enclosed showers. This makes them perfect for a voyage around America's Great Loop.
      The full displacement hull is designed to be most efficient at about 8 knots. It is a slow boat. In fact most cruise only about a knot or two
faster than a sailboat. As a result, they need very little horse power and require very little fuel compared to their semi displacement
counterparts and Cabin Cruisers. A "true or slow" full displacement hull Trawler 36' and under will burn an average of 2 to 3 gallons of fuel
per hour (maybe less if you keep your speed down). They are widely known for their long distance cruising capabilities and thrifty fuel
      New - You can expect to pay $350,000 and up for one of these babies. Used - You will find some 'die for' Trawlers around $100,000
and better yet, some great buys are out there for $50,000 and under. Some great deals on 'handy man specials' can be had for under
The above vessel is a 34' Mainship "TRUE" Trawler
Think you need more speed? While the "true" Trawler is a slow boat, there are other trawlers that are called "FAST" Trawlers, though
"technically" they are not Trawlers at all - they look the same above the water. These vessels however have "semi-displacement" hulls and
generally two (twin) huge engines. The combination of which allows these heavy vessels to get up on plane. The semi displacement hull is
designed to produces lift. The theory being of course, less wet area produces less drag and more speed. It works, as these "fast" Trawlers
cruise at speeds twice as fast as their "slow" full displacement counterparts. That additional speed however, comes at a huge additional fuel
cost. These vessels typically average a fuel burn of 4 to 10 gallons per hour depending on your speed.   
The above vessel is a 36' Grand Banks "FAST" Trawler
The above vessel is a 36' Sailboat
The "SAILBOAT" is a great economical choice for long distance cruising. . . The right kind and choice can take you around
America's Great Loop, then Island Hopping the Caribbean and even on around the world! For cruising couples, it typically requires a bigger
sailboat than a Trawler for complete comfort, but the sailboat -
even motored around - will prove to be your very most economical means
of transportation & lodging. For couples, a 32' to 38' sailboat will provide plenty of comfort inside and out.
      While the Trawler is the most popular vessel for cruising the Great Loop, the sailboat comes in a close second in popularity but it is first
in fuel efficiency. My 36 footer burns 1.2 gallons an hour on a 6,300 mile, 900 engine hour adventure around the Great Loop. For size and
comfort, it won't get any cheaper than that.  
      For sure, the most important thing to remember is:
     The very moment you select your boat. . . You have just selected your forever cost of cruising and boat
      It's a fact! I'm not saying any one boat is right or wrong. What I am saying is "only one boat is right for you". Your current
lifestyle & comfort zone will be the single biggest influence on the age, type and size and price of your boat, as well as the amount
of fuel it uses and your choice of amenities and equipment on board. This is why it is extremely important for you to select a boat
that is "right for you". Your choice of boat must fit your lifestyle, comfort zone, boating philosophy and pocketbook! That means it
has to be "your boat" - not a boat someone else "thinks" is best for you!
      While this is true. . . No boat should be 1 foot smaller than your comfort requires nor 1 foot bigger than your safety demands.
Some boats are too big for one person to handle safely, and a cruising couple should always be prepared for the possibility that the
weakest person on the boat - may in a life saving situation - have to get the boat safely to the next Port or Marina.
      One other thing is true. . . Every "experienced" boater out there has at one time or another thought to himself; "I wish I had a
smaller boat" and at other times, "I wish I had a bigger boat". That's just the way it is. When you find yourself living aboard and
cruising for a year or more, there will be time you will wish you had a bigger boat. There will also be times you will wish you had a
smaller boat.
      No boat is perfect, but there is a perfect boat for you!
Cruising on a Budget:
      We all have our lifestyles, comfort zones and pocketbooks. Therefore we all have our own budgets. I cruise in a frugal boat on a
frugal budget! That is my choice. My boating philosophy is "More Fun than Fuel". But make no mistake about this. . . You can NOT
spend a year cruising America's Great Loop without a substantial amount of money or income. Cruising on a budget MUST be a
financial choice! It will NEVER WORK if you attempt this as a result of financial hardship or under bad financial circumstances. It
takes good money to cruise successfully; even on a frugal budget.
      In simple terms, my "More Fun than Fuel" boating philosophy works like this: I would rather spend $175 on shore eating out,
seeing the sights, etc., than pour $175.00 down my fuel tank. I don't even have to think twice about it. Some boats will cost you $175
(and more) per day in fuel. Some boats will only cost you $20 a day. Many will only cost you $40 and many more will cost you less
than $50 per day for fuel. Just be aware, there are some that will burn in excess of 40 gallons an hour running at 15 knots. That is a
whopping 280 gallons or $840.00 for one average day of cruising. Ouch!
      That's what I mean by cruising on a frugal boat and budget. It is first and foremost having all the money or income you need so
you can make a wise financial decision about where and how you want to spend it. The choice is simple. . . Spend the bulk of it on
your Boat and boat fuel - or spend the bulk of your money on fun?  It is your choice, your decision and your money. There really is
no right or wrong choice. The only smart choice is the "well informed" choice. Some have the money and income for both the big gas
guzzling boats and the fun - that's great! But most of us live on a budget and we need to decide where and how we want to spend
our money BEFORE we select our boat.