Meet ’tis Grand, Our 1987 Grand Banks Classic 36 trawler

Our boat is a classic trawler. It is 36′ long with a near 13′ beam. We decided to keep the name ’tis Grand, given to her by her previous owners, because we like it! She weighs in at 23,000#, has two sleeping areas, two heads (toilets for you landlubbers), a galley/salon, and an upper flybridge and helm from which we’ll pilot her most of the time. She’s powered by a 210 HP Caterpillar V-8 diesel engine. She’s not a fast boat, with a top speed of 10.5 mph (so we’ve got to keep a close eye on weather). We cruise at 7.5 – 8 mph.

She’s a beauty! The previous three owners kept her in great shape and we plan to do the same. We have not had to do a lot of work on her, except for general maintenance. We have added two 160 watt solar panels on the bimini to help keep us powered at anchor. She’s an excellent boat for the Great Loop.

Great Loop Route Options

Kathy and I started thinking about boating the Great Loop after I completed a pontoon boat journey down the Rivers from St Paul MN to Mobile AL during Fall, 2018. I met “Loopers” during this trip and and the idea of doing the Loop started to grow inside me. That pontoon boat trip is chronicled at http://www.MikoManto thegulf.com.

The Loop is a 6,000 mile cruise around the eastern half of the US. You can start anywhere on the Loop, using any kind of boat that suits you. The goal is to complete the loop and “cross your wake”. For most people, the trip takes portions of more than one year, especially if you start “up north”. We will be starting where our ’tis Grand is slipped, in Ashland WI, on Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay. Our exact route will evolve as we move along. People ask when we will be at a certain point. We truly don’t know!

Our general initial route will be heading east on Lake Superior to Sioux St Marie, then down past the straits of Mackinaw to Chicago. We’ll go through downtown Chicago, down the Illinois River to the Mississippi, to the Ohio, to the Tennessee, and to the Gulf at Mobile AL. And then beyond!

Our progress will be determined based on whether we decide to stop for a while to visit a location, take a side trip, and most importantly the weather and water conditions. Loopers advise that the worst thing you can do is have a schedule. The adventure will take us most of two years, Maybe more if we get carried away with our new lifestyle.

Kathy, I and our best buddy Zeke will live on the boat. We’ll both anchor out and stay in marinas or at docks. Zeke will complicate things, but we wouldn’t travel without him. We will periodically blog to let you know where we are and how it’s going. Stay tuned!