Long Range Cruising

America’s Great Loop Cruise
by the Two J's

(1) JUST WING IT OR DO YOUR HOMEWORK? Many start off on the Great Loop or Great Circle route without doing much, if any, homework. They become frustrated because they expected all the facilities to be equal or similar to those in the area where they normally boat. This article deals with the importance of spending a year or more doing one’s homework before attempting the 5,000 to 7,000 Great Loop / Great Circle voyage where 4,500 or more miles will be in unfamiliar waters. Associations and email chat lines to join. Books and regional magazines to buy and read. Boating courses to take. Rendezvous / Seminars to attend, and other ways to help you do the homework. (more- PDF)

(2) POTABLE WATER FOR LONG RANGE BOATERS - A discussion on how to sanitize and maintain your boats dockside and house water systems and ensure potable drinking water; equal in purity and taste to bottled water without the expense, hauling and storage for the large quantities of bottled water necessary for drinking and cooking.(more- PDF)

-- This article covers the types of electrical power that long range cruisers can expect on the America’s Great Loop Cruise. Necessary equipment needed to take advantage of what is available and how to make due with less than the ideal are discussed. (more- PDF)

(4) GUARD AGAINST VARMENTS, INSECTS & PESTS COMING ABOARD YOUR BOAT - Pesticides, precautions and basic equipment to keep your boat free from unwanted guests, like: spiders, ants, flies, boll weevils, cockroaches, bird nests, rodents, etc. What You Need To Be Prepared and Why! (more- PDF)

- Most boaters rarely need to use the marine horn signals except for perhaps leaving the fairway at their marina or requesting that a bridge tender open a swing or draw bridge. However, on the Great Loop or Great Circle cruise, there are numerous narrow river channels and canals where the proper use of horn signals and/or radio calls are necessary for safe passage. This article deals with signals used in Passing, Overtaking and radio communications with Commercial vessels such as Large Ships, Tow Boats pulling or pushing barges, etc. It also gives ways to easily remember the various horn blasts including the cute and terse radio call “Two Toots and No Bells” popular on the East Coast ICW. (more- PDF)

- This article chronicles two, similar but not exactly the same, boats who cruised together for an entire Summer on the Great Loop Cruise. Before selling the gas powered boat you own and love, read this article. Slow down to trawler speed and spend approximately 50 percent more on fuel than a regular diesel powered boat -- which is less expensive than purchasing a diesel powered boat or engine(s) and generator retrofit. (more- PDF)

(7) CHESAPEAKE BAY PORTS OF CALL - This is the Two J’s “pass out” that has been given at two America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association spring rendezvous where John and Judy Gill participated in panel discussions of the Chesapeake Bay. Thirty-One ports of call, locations and brief descriptions about each are listed to help boaters decide which places will be of interest to them and some “don’t miss” stops on the Bay. (more- PDF)

(8) SECURITY WHILE CRUISING -This article deals with ways to provide security for your boat and crew while cruising and how to reduce the risks of theft and vandalism. Types of locks, lighting, alarm systems, firearms, and what to look out for and how to secure your vessel are all covered. (more- PDF)

(9) WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS & SNAIL MAIL - This article is about keeping in contact with your home and/or business while cruising or vacationing in North America. It includes information about Cell Phone options such as: iPhones, Android’s, BlackBerry’s and other “smart” phones. eMail and Internet connectivity to do Email and Internet using Wi Fi, WWAN, Mobile Hot Spots or using iPhones, Blackberries, iPads, etc. as modems. Also discussed are Mail Options for forwarding Snail Mail. (more- PDF)

(10) ANCHORING OUT vs MARINA HOPPING - This article about Anchoring Out versus Marina Hopping explores the pros and cons of spending your evenings and nights on the hook versus being in a marina or tied up to terra firma near a lock or on a free dock. It is not a question of one being preferred over the other but rather planning ahead so that you see and do those things that are of interest
to you while on the America’s Great Loop Cruise. Anchoring out most of the time, simply to save marina costs, is like going to the grocery store with no shopping list and returning without many of the important items you needed. (more- PDF)

(11) THE IDEAL “LOOPER” BOAT - The quick answer to “What’s the Ideal or Perfect boat for doing the America’s Great Loop?”  Is: There isn’t any.  This artricle by the Two J’s which was published in Trawlers and Trawlering, an on-line internet magazine in October 2006 will help those planningto do the Great Loop or other long range cruise, choose a boat that is Ideal for them.  (more- PDF)

(12) JUST TOYS OR GREAT LOOP NECESSARY - This article answers the questions about the need for advanced Electronic Navigation Equipment such as GPS, Chart Plotters vs Computer Navigation Systems, Radar, additional VHF radios, etc. It also covers the importance of mastering the basics of Dead Reckoning Navigation and Paper Charts. (more- PDF)

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John & Judy Gill - the Two J's

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