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Posted by on Jul 14, 2012 in Powerboating, US |

Greatest Loop Update: Coast of Florida

The four-month Beneteau tour of the “The Loop” cruise around the eastern half of the US is moving on schedule, and an aggressive schedule it is.

The 34-foot Swift Trawler named The Greatest Loop is wasting no time. Only a month ago, they were touring Canada and since then, the boat has made its way down the length of the US mostly via the Mississippi and is now in the waters of the Gulf.

greatestloopfireworks

The view from Greatest Loop's flybridge on America’s birthday, at the Panama City Marina..

From Alabama, The Greatest Loop made a run to Pensacola, Sand Destin, Panama City, Dog Island, Cedar Key, Tarpon Springs and St. Petersburg. A truly unique detour from the planned route was an “inland” run through Choctawhatchee Bay in the Florida panhandle to the “Grand Canyon”, a 16-mile land cut with steep walls.

The captain aboard for the first parts of the Florida coastal run has been Stanton Murray of Murray Yacht Sales and he’s been faithfully reporting on fuel consumption. The trawler is powered by Cummins’ new 5.9 liter 425 hp diesel which is reputedly very efficient. Depending on wind and water conditions and of course, speed, the boat has averaged 6-8 nautical miles per gallon. Murray has also been reporting on his day’s likes, dislikes and evening wine selections. When in Florida however, sometimes you have to go with rum.

The crew got a special treat for the 4th of July as Murray reported. “The Panama City Marina is ground zero for the area’s firework display with the firework barge anchored just off the marina breakwater, 800 feet from our slip. The marina staff invited us to join the VIP BBQ on the breakwater.” This is the view from the flybridge on America’s birthday.

A dock at Cedar Key

A dock at Cedar Key

The tour is certainly promotional in nature as Beneteau set off to show powerboaters that you can go long-distance cruising without leaving the country (if you don’t count Canada). The publicity tour certainly ramped up in July as in the span of a little more than a week, The Greatest Loop welcomed the public aboard for tours and receptions in Fairhope, Panama City and at the docks of Murray Yacht Sales in St. Pete. The Greatest Loop is scheduled to arrive back in the Chesapeake in mid-September. There’s no reason to dawdle in the Southeast during hurricane season.

The tour has gathered numerous sponsors including Raymarine, Navionics, Zodiac, Trawler Fest, DeLorme, Interlux, Dometic, Cummins, Onan, MarinaLife, ValvTect, Vessel Vanguard and the National Marine Manufacturers Association to name a few. You can follow the boat at www.GreatestLoop.com where a map and crew posts will keep you updated on the boat’s progress.

Read our previous reports:

Zuzana Prochazka