Katie Smith and I began our loop in Northport, Michigan on September 4th, 2012. Crossing our wake two years later to the day, September 4th, 2014 aboard a Cal 27 named “Louise”


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America’s Great Loop. Google it.

Depending on how many side trips you choose to take, the Great Loop is 5 to 7 thousand miles of inland rivers, and waterways, circling the eastern half of America. For us this included 13 states and three counties. America the Bahamas and Canada.

On average it takes a boat like ours a year to complete the circle. Between running out of money,  encountering break downs both mechanical and mental, one year turned into two.

This is hands down one the most outstanding ways to see America. Through many trial and tribulations Katie and I got an education of a lifetime in every aspect, on and off the boat. I could write hundreds of pages on why I would suggest the younger generation to look into this as a possibility, but until that happens… here are several articles I’ve written that might help you understand:

 Five. Miles. Per. Hour.

The best bits…&…the worst bits

Turn that ridiculous drawing on your fridge into reality

 The GREAT LOOP ASSOCIATION is a great source of information for those interested.

34 thoughts on “America’s Great Loop

  1. Katie and Jessie: I stumbled across your blog – WOW! what great fun. Growing up on KY Lake, I had pleasure of learning to (power) boat. When I move to Seattle 20+ years ago, I eventually graduated from “lake boating” to “destination boating” and now cruise from San Juan Islands north into BC and outer Vancouver Island. Reading your blog made me think about how I dreamed as a young girl of boating from lock to lock to eventually reach the Guld of Mexico. Glad to read about you girls doing it. Sounds like you’re having a grand time – a constant adventure. Have you played the game of “sink or swim”? Ha! hang in there – nothing like experiencing the world from afloat! Safe travels – and have nothing but fun!

  2. Very cool journey. I grew up on a sailboat going all over the caribbean and a little bit in the mediterranean. It is the best way of life. Did you figure out your engine issue? If you need help with that or anything else, my brother is the captain of a ninety foot racing sailboat. They are arriving in Cape Canaveral in 3 or 4 days and will be there until early february. Then they race to Jamaica. Anyway, he is top notch mechanic and is happy to help new boaters out. The boat is called Donnybrook and his name is Freddie. Good luck on your adventures!

    1. Agreed, it is the best way of life! By far the most amazing way to see new places. Luckily it was just a busted freeze plug. Nothing serious, and we are good to go now. Thanks for the contact, you can never have too many.

  3. You chicks are rad! Really going for it — cheers!

    I have been sailing the South Pacific for the past 2 years but am not nearly as cool as you because I am sailing with my parents, but hey, I will take what I can get! Any plans to go to the S.Pac? It’s a lot of ocean but there are little pockets of paradise dotted all over it!

    1. Hey Corie, that is so great. Even better you are with your parents, no one understands one another more than family, and that is very important while living on a boat! I honestly have no clue where we will end up, if it ends up being the S pac, I will be contacting you for the secret paradise! Have so much fun, look forward to seeing your journal

  4. Sorry I didn’t meet you guys. You were aboard my boat James Gang the Tartan 4700 at the Miami Boat Show. I hope your trip is the great adventure you want. Doing it on a little boat makes it ever more special. I did the same 25 years ago on a 27 ft Trimaran .
    Good luck and fair breezes with an occasional day of ripping good breeze

    1. We completely fell in love with James Gang… we probably sat in “the living room” for an hour pretending it was our boat, and welcoming every person who came aboard. It was fun to dream : ) Thanks for checking out our site, and if we ever win the lottery, I will contact you with a generous offer for your vessel!!!

  5. Hello Young Ladies! We heard you may be headed out this way. We are currently in Marsh Harbor Abaco. Any chance we might see you? Hope you have a great sail. Whish

    1. JEFF AND DONNA!!! we miss you! Just had lunch with johnny and doris on “bout time” and sounds like they had met with you in the bahamas… jealous. Our last shift at work was last night, we plan to leave saturday… depending on the weather of course. I know we will run into you somewhere, and can’t wait for the moment it happens. PS we have a bimini now, just in case you happen to spot us from a distance and don’t think it’s us!

  6. We are in Nassau Sunday May 13 and we don’t see you guys at the Harbor Club. Wondering how you’re handling the “transmission”?

  7. Hey girls!

    This is the Motley crew. We are headed back toward Nassau from Staniel tomorrow morning. Any idea where do you expect to be tomorrow night?

  8. The both of you are amazing! I love this blog and all the photos-they are truly phenomenal. You have real gift-Good luck with the repairs and cant wait to read, see more, and live vicariously through your sailing adventure!! thanks ladies 🙂

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  10. Hi Ladies,
    Henning from Flying Free. Jealous that long after we are back at work, the two of you are still out there living the life. You two were an inspiration from the day you started. We enjoyed spending time with you at turners in mobile. Best of luck as you progress north.

  11. Hi Girls, Its John and Wendy (The Regal J.A.C.E) we just wanted to drop you a line and say it was great to meet you. Fri night at the Lovesick lock. Good luck the rest of the way. You are entering the very best part of the system. You Girls are inspiration to all, and further proof that you really do meet the best people boating.

  12. Hi Girls, I just read your article in CO on the weekend and then I checked out your blog. Imagine my surprise when I realised that you stepped your mast in the marina that I keep my boat and that you also know Mark and Jo. It can be a small world.

    Steve

  13. Hello Ladies
    You both are an. Inspiration. My friend Lance and I are looping right now. Left out of Chicago. We are currently anchored in Hennepin. Wish we could meet and break bread and swap stories… Locks, logs, folore. and all.Lol This is afer all an adventure of a lifetime, that few are willing to explore.. So happy that i left NYC on a wing and a prayer. Life is so amazing when you let go and make dreams come true. This is living!!!! I feel so connected to this beautiful land, our history and even you our Sisters on the loop. Thru grace maybe one day we will meet. Blessings to you Katie and Jessie.
    Wish you girls all the best,
    Ruth V

    1. Where are you now?!? I am jealous as I sit here in northern michigan by a fireplace… you’d think I would have gotten boating out of my system. Congrats on “living” I am very excited for the rest of your journey.

  14. what’s the advantage of going thru Alabama instead of going down the Mississippi?
    What’s the advantage of going the longer route through New York?
    Thanks
    Jim

  15. I just stumbled across your blog and love your writing and admire your adventure. I am just now considering a Great loop trip. One question. How do you handle the low bridges? My understanding is that there are a couple of bridges in the 15- 19 foot range. I already have a 41 Morgan OI sailboat which is almost paid for and have been thinking about buying a trawler for this trip. It appears I could do it on old Plan B – my Morgan 41 sailboat. What is your advise?

    1. You up-step the mast in or before Chicago… (ship or carry it on deck) and re-step in Mobile Alabama ! And unstepping once more upon entering the Hudson river, and re-stepping in the Great Lakes. It is totally possible in your boat !

  16. Has anyone ever completed the loop in a Silverton 31c fly bridge? We’re thinking about going Chicago to Mobile, AL, & want to know if anyone has done it? ?

      1. We had similar mast height. We shipped our mast from Chicago to Mobile and then had to go the long way around Florida, but other then that had zero problem with the mast. Of course it had to come down again to traverse the Erie Canal.

        Flying Free.

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