5 Reasons Our Boat Isn’t Meant for the Great Loop

Published On October 8, 2015 | By Mark Baese | Recreational Boating

We’ve talked a lot about the Great Loop, a trip that we’re keen on doing in the future. How far in the future is unknown at the point, so it’s still a “dream” rather than a “goal”. (Of course I’m referencing the old adage “a goal without plan is just a dream”). We’ll be planning things in the future.

First, let me say that we absolutely could do the Great Loop in our boat. It’s totally possible. These are 5 reasons why we’d really like to find a new vessel for the trip.

Our Boat Isn’t Fuel Efficient: As we noted in our fuel economy post a couple weeks back, our boat isn’t very fuel efficient. Not that any boat really is, but our boat only gets a little better than 1 mile per gallon. We can easily quadruple that in a similar size boat which means we can save 75% on our fuel costs! When we’re talking 30k+, it’s kind of a big deal. This is probably the biggest factor on why we’d want a different boat. Diesel seems to be the way to go, and with our boat currently sucking down gas, we’d like to make the switch.

Boating on Okanagan Lake

Look at that single engine power!

One Engine, No Thrusters: This is another big issue for me. Our boat is 29 feet and only has one big engine. 29 feet is about the size two engines start to be built into boats. This greatly increases small space maneuverability.  With one engine in forward and one in reverse, you can rotate 180 easily. With a one engine boat, it’s possible but more difficult. We also don’t have a bow or stern thruster which move your bow or stern side to side as needed. This can make docking a lot easier especially in windy locations, or where the tide is a factor. As the captain travelling to unknown areas, it would be really nice to have all these options at our disposal.

No Workspace: We don’t have  an indoor dining area per se. It’s more of a couch style setup with a small table. It’s definitely not a place we can post up with our laptops and work for hours. This is pretty vital. If you’ve ever spent hours at a laptop, comfort is important. Not having a proper seat and desk/table would be a real problem for us. We could work in the cockpit, but weather & temperature will greatly determine comfort. There is also no AC outlet up there, which would mean having battery power at all times.

Larson 280 Interior

A little messy, but you can see our couch/table setup to the left.

Anchor Issues: Two major things here. First is that we only have about 10 feet of chain, and the rest is rope. This doesn’t give me a ton of confidence when anchoring out overnight. I also don’t have a Windlass, so even if we converted to a couple hundred feet of chain, we’d have to haul it up manually. I’m sure I could install a windless, but again, it’s just one issue among many on why our boat doesn’t make a great long distance travelling companion.

Raw Water Cooled Engine: Our boat is from 1995, which means no closed cooling. It’s all raw-water cooled. Our engine will happily suck up the silt and salt water during the trip, neither of which are awesome for an engine. It’s not make or break, but it’s not optimal. It will lower the life of your engine and mean more maintenance issues. We’d much prefer a newer closed cooled engine that likes salt water a little more.

These are just 5 reasons, but I could nitpick and think of a couple more. The age of the boat in general always brings up the question of reliability. There’s no radar system, or any navigation electronics. This could all be rectified, but again, do I really want to invest that much in a boat when I could put it all towards a newer / better one.

We don’t hate our boat – in fact, we love it! Next week I’ll list the top 5 things we LOVE about our boat. Sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss that story!

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