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Dinghy - Let me repeat that:  You need a dinghy! The more "frugal" you want this voyage to be, the more you will need a good dingy! There
are FREE "Dinghy Docks" all over the Great Loop route. So, when anchoring out, your dinghy is your free access to shore. When the only
alternative is paying for another night in a Marina, verses using your dinghy to go eat out or get provisions, you will probably save more than you
pay for your dinghy. For sure, If you are cruising America's Great Loop in a larger or deep draft live aboard size vessel (power or sail) you will
certainly want and wish you had a dinghy. It is also great for exploring & fishing in areas you can't otherwise reach from your main ship.
  Unless you plan on staying at a Marina every single night (which is impossible to do, by the way) your vessel's anchors, anchoring system
and ground tackle will need to be very strong and heavy, and in excellent condition. Don't over look this or take it for granted. When you are
anchoring out in tidal waters and on big rivers, and your anchor drags. . . It will at minimum, scare some real anchoring sense into you and your
1st Mate. Not anchoring properly not only puts you and your boat at risk, it puts those around you at risk. My anchor, chain and rode are all at
least twice the strength and weight as the Coast Guard recommends. Additionally, you should always have a spare anchor (or two) spare chain
and anchor rode (line).
  If you have never done it before, anchoring out in the tidal currents can be a real shocker - especially along the Atlantic ICW. If you are
new to anchoring in tidal waters, believe me. . . You are going to drag your anchor at least once. It will happen! This is one of those lessons
most novice boaters insist on learning the hard way! When you hear that "bump" in the night or you wake up on the floor and your boat is
leaning far to one side - it will be because you failed to anchor properly. But this doesn't have to happen to you! Get (not good) but great
anchoring gear and learn how to use it!
If you just bought a new production vessel, chances are 100% certain that the anchor and anchoring system that came with your vessel
(if any) is woefully inadequate for use around the Great Loop. Replace it with heavier stuff! When you get "out here" with the anchoring system
that came on your vessel, you will immediate realize how silly it looks when compared to that of the more accomplished cruisers.
Also keep in
mind -
The purpose of your anchor's chain and rode is NOT to hold the weight of your anchor. It is to hold your 10 ton vessel in place. In fact, it
has to hold your 10 ton vessel that is being pushed by a mighty flow and force of water!  
  You have probably heard and read it before, but let me reinforce the fact that the safety value of a good anchoring system and knowing
how to use it is vital.  NEVER just drop an anchor. Make sure it is holding by using your engine to back off until you know your anchor is set.
  Tides cause the current to reverse directions which will make your boat swing 180 degrees around in the opposite direction. If you have
a 100 feet of anchor rode out, your boat will swing in a circle with a radius of 100 feet plus the added length of your boat.
  Heavy chain the length of your boat will help keep your anchor on the bottom so it can reset. A good anchoring system is one that resets
itself when this happens. It will in fact, be better for a good nights sleep than a sleep number bed. So, consider yourself warned.

Should your boat be NEW or USED?
  The answer of course has to do with your lifestyle, philosophy, and pocketbook. For sure, the smart buyer will buy
used. I do, my son does, and believe it or not every single one of the most "experienced and accomplished" boaters I've
ever met - buy used! For long distance voyagers, it is a simple question of: "Do you want to give the bulk of your money
to a boat dealer or would you prefer to keep it in your cruising kitty?
  Our experience over the years is both new and used boats have their problems. In both cases, it should be no
surprise to anyone that you get what you pay for. Truthfully, buying new does NOT guarantee you any less trouble then
buying used. New or used, what you want to look for is quality.
  When you are 1,000 miles from home and it comes to a Coast Guard, Boat-US or Sea-Tow rescue - a new boat
warranty 'most likely' won't do you any good unless you are one of the luckiest sailor's in the world. Why? Like cars, the
warranty is not any good if you don't take the vessel to an Approved Certified Service Dealer - and what are the chances
your boat breaks down right in front of one?  When you have to have your boat towed or rescued, chances are it will cost
you more money to get your vessel to an Approved Dealer than the eventual cost of repairs. Your warranty will NOT
cover the towing or rescue!
What else do you need?
For more on the "Great Loop" Boat - click NEXT
   When cruising America's Great Loop - you will see all kinds and types, sizes and shapes, of both new and used boats.  The
bigger "yachts" are the ones that are more for show then go. Most of them by far, you will only see them at the dock. It will be a rare sight
indeed to actually see one underway.
Yes! In addition to your boat, you will need a Certified Marine Pre-purchase Survey, BoatUS or SeaTow membership and
Towing/Rescue Insurance - and you will also need "Boat Insurance".
If you finance your boat, the lender will require it. In addition, most
Marinas require you to have Boat Liability Insurance. Your boat insurance can range in price from very reasonable and affordable
($400 a year) to
very expensive
($400 a month). So it will be smart to keep in mind the differences in Insurance cost, rates and coverages when you select your
boat. Financing your boat will require "Full Coverage" on your boat and (especially for rookie boaters, it can be very expensive. I strongly suggest
you do some research on the subject to get an idea of what your boat insurance might cost you.
America's Great Loop
Should you buy
That. . .
is the question!
    In many cases, a Sea-Tow or Boat-US boat rescue will cost you a minimum of $650.00 for a simple tow to the nearest Marina. Your warranty of
course, will not cover the tow. If it's a major rescue with your boat in jeopardy, a rescue could easily cost you $3,000 or more. Both Sea-Tow &
Boat-US (like Triple AAA for your automobile have Memberships). Join one, and you will pay about $170 a year Membership for their "Best" coverage.
It is well worth it, as it could easily save you two to ten thousand dollars or more. So for a 1 time, 1 year trip around the Great Loop - a $170 Towing
Membership & Insurance coverage is well worth the peace of mind.    
  Out here the bottom line with a new or used boat is safety - not shine. It is important to remember, that the primary purpose of your vessel is
to get you safely and comfortably where you want to go and back home again. I recommend buying used because in this Boat Market - it will save you
thousands. In fact, if you are willing and able to do a lot of 'cosmetic' type work or repairs, it could save you enough money to pay for your fuel or
entire trip around the Loop.    
For sure when it comes to cruising and living a-board, it really doesn't matter to anyone else if your vessel is new or used, small, medium or large.
Just keep your vessel in & looking ship shape and you will fit right in with the rest of us. By far, most everyone out here is in smart used humble
  BEFORE YOU BUY USED - make sure you get a "Certified Pre-Purchase" Marine Survey.  I have shaken hands on several deals
based on a $100 down payment, with the balance paid upon receipt of a
satisfactory to me Certified Marine Pre-purchase Survey.
  Possibly this is the very best advice I can give you. DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!  
- Cruising America's Great Loop - Once Around Is Not Enough -
Wow. . .
  If that boat doesn't look like a perfect Great Loop boat to me - I don't
know one that does.

  Had I heard about it in time, I would have bought her.
Then I would have cut that wooden mast off at a measured 15 feet
above the water. I then would mount my anchor lights atop the mast
along with my VHF radio & digital TV and other antennas.

  A Certified Marine Pre-purchase Survey would verify the condition
she was in and what I need to take care of immediately, soon and
down the road.
  After that was all done, some new paint & polish, and I'd be on my
If I knew where this boat was, I would buy it. Cut that mast down to 15' above
the water, mount my anchor lights and antennas on it, and cruise the Loop
with no worries!