America’s Great Loop Presentation

Here you can view my 176 slide presentation that I am presenting at various yacht clubs in 50 minutes.

It includes Looper Basics, detailed route decisions and recommendations, and lots of photos!     The four sections make the full presentation available in smaller file sizes for easier downloads/viewing.


Great Loop Presentation Simons – Looper Basics


Great Loop Presentation Simons – Waukegan IL to Key West FL

Great Loop Presentation Simons – Marathon FL to Statue of Liberty NY

Great Loop Presentation Simons – Half Moon Bay NY to Waukegan IL

Here is a link to an article I wrote about cruising the first section of the Great Loop from Waukegan, IL to Green Turtle Bay, Kentucky.

Please contact me to request a speaking engagement for your yacht club or  other interested group.

Changing Latitudes – Post Script

Miles cruised 0, fuel purchased $0, slip $0, daily high temperature 83°f, boats sold – one.

Here is a blog posting to bring you up to date on the crew of Changing Latitudes activities post Loop.

Living on dirt was an easy transition. We completed our Loop trip on September 17 and proceeded to haul at least 12 cart loads of “stuff” off the boat. We could finally see her water line.

Anxious to assimilate back into Waukegan society I accepted an invitation to go fishing with Jeff and Stacy and put a few fish in the boat. Jeff doesn’t have a fish weighing scale on his boat. That way no one can challenge his estimate on the weight of the fish caught.  He admitted this was the first time he wished he did have a scale. Best guess is this is a 30 pound Lake Trout.


No time was wasted getting CL buffed, waxed and detailed. Chris Weber of Weber Yachts had lined up a viewing on Friday so we had to pay extra to use the boat detailer who had time start the detailing on September 19. In three days CL looked like new. A full year of diesel soot was buffed off and her hull gleamed like the day she left the Cruisers Yachts factory.  On Friday Chris called and advised he would not be back from a sea trial on another boat in Sturgeon Bay in time to conduct the tour of CL. No worries, I met the prospective buyers and gave them the tour. They were conflicted as to whether they wanted a boat with an open stern or an enclosed stern like CL. The buyers are two couples. What could be more right? By Sunday night we had accepted their offer and on Monday they provided the deposit. The $4,600 detailing was well spent.


Our only remaining issue on CL is repairing the generator. When the generator broke down in Canada we had the Cummins techs diagnose the problem as a broken spring in the fuel injector pump. When the Cummins tech arrived on CL in Waukegan I told him the diagnosis. He proceeded to spend two hours trying to get the computer codes on the generator to tell him that the issue is the fuel injector pump. As a last resort he removed the fuel injector pump and stated – “look at this, the spring in the fuel injector pump is broken.” My response was “really.” Dale would have been proud. That is his favorite word of all time. So now we are waiting for the replacement part to arrive and be installed. In order to move ahead with the sale we agreed to a $5,000 escrow. Even Cummins couldn’t charge us more than $4,000 for a simple repair. You can get better service but you can’t pay more.

CL is as bright and shiny as new.  She will never be this clean again.


In the mean time life goes on. Dale and Andy are back in their dirt dwelling. John and Priscilla are living in JP and Rachel’s basement.

We enjoyed a wonderful day of apple picking with our granddaughter Eleanor.


We extended the lease on our home until April because we will spend the majority of our time this winter at our condo in Stuart, Fl. It was very exciting for a few days as hurricane Mathew barreled down on Florida. The weather channel identified Stuart as ground zero for the hurricane. Fortunately Mathew stayed out to sea and we had no damage.

Notice where the Weather Channel placed the arrow at ground zero – Stuart.


The sale of the boat was completed on October 11. The new owners moved CL to Milwaukee and the Cummins tech will complete the generator repair on October 24.  Kudos to Chris Weber of Weber Yachts who sold our boat 3.5 weeks after we completed the Loop.

John and Priscilla drove to Florida and spent two days visiting Dick and Candy Smith in Mount Dora. That breaks up the trip so we do not arrive at our condo in Stuart in the dark.

Dick and Candy Smith at the Highlands restaurant in Mount Dora, Fl.


Bonus photo – we were able to put a check mark next to America’s Great Loop on our bucket list.


Our friend Gabe invited us to go cruising on his Island Packet 485 for 10 days.  Winds look favorable for a cruise from Miami to Key West in time for Fantasy Fest.

Our boating carreer is not over.  My Pearson 39 sailboat spent the summer indoors at Larsen Marine.  She is now outside and covered for the winter.  Boating adventures will continue when Blue Heaven splashes in the spring of 2017.

Blue Heaven looks like a blue whale in her winter cover.


Fair winds and following seas gentle readers.



Days 361 and 362 – Gold Loopers

Miles cruised today 50, total miles cruised on the Loop 6,381, total fuel purchased 6,397 gallons, slip fee $0, daily high temperature 72°f

“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” – Ursula K. Leguin

On Thursday we pulled into the fuel dock at McKinley Marina in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The slips are so far away from the marina office that you must stop at the fuel dock to check in. Inside the marina building we asked the fellow at the snack bar where we might find a good place to go for dinner. He immediately advised that the only place to go in all of Milwaukee was Pitch’s supper club. We would have to walk past 30 other restaurants to get there but it’s the best. It was a much longer walk than he advised but we finally arrived. There was only one other occupied table with two people, otherwise the restaurant was empty. No one else came in while we were there. We chatted up the waitress and she revealed that the guy at the marina snack bar is a family member of the owner. It was thirsty Thursday and all drinks were $2.00 off. It was fine, just a much longer walk than we expected.


Pitch’s on the corner


On Friday night we had our final visitors of our Loop trip. Andy’s brother Lonnie, his wife Connie and their son Derrick joined us for sundowners. They brought two cars and drove to us to the 3rd ward section of Milwaukee for dinner.

Lonnie, Connie and Derrick


Today we are officially Gold Loopers. We crossed our wake in Waukegan, Illinois on Lake Michigan on Saturday, September 17 after cruising for 362 days. We cruised 6,381 miles and burned and 6,397 gallons of diesel. It safe to say we burned one gallon per mile. We were somewhat unusual because we cruised with two couples. We are aware of one only one other Looper boat cruising with two couples. We departed Waukegan on September 21, 2015. We were greeted at our slip by our family and friends with a wonderful welcome home party.


We are now CLODs (cruisers living on dirt). We will turn in our AGLCA membership card and immediately join Weight Watchers and AA. It will be an interesting transition. For a year we lived in a world with a 24/7 water views and made instant Looper friendships wherever we docked and they were eager to socialize and help solve any problem boat related or otherwise.

There are always highlights in any journey. Here are a few of our Loop highlights but certainly not an all inclusive list.

Places – Key West, Bahamas, Annapolis/Naval Academy, Charleston, Savannah, Shiloh battlefield, Jamestown/Williamsburg, 911 Memorial, Statue of Liberty, West Point and Canada (Trent Severn Waterway, Georgian Bay and North Channel).

Experiences – getting to the know the locals in Key West at Grunt’s bar, head boat and deep sea fishing in Key West, swimming with the pigs in the Exumas, playing bingo at Captain Jack’s in Hopetown, Bahamas, threading our way through crab pots, crossing the Gulf of Mexico at night, crossing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas for the first time, Big Chute Railway, encountering bears in Killarney and seeing the night sky in the north channel.

Culinary experiences – two inch thick pork chops at Patty’s in Green Turtle, the Culinary Institute of America, Aligator bites, City Hardware in Florence, Alabama, Chick and Ruth’s deli in Annapolis, Gumbo Shack in Fairhope, Alabama and Garbo’s food truck at Grunt’s in Key West.

Challenges – repairing the port transmission in Port St Joe, Florida which took 3 weeks and cost $15,000, getting a crab pot line on the propeller, swimming with the bull sharks at the marina in Bimini, bumping a sandbar on the AICW and having to clean out the raw water filters, losing the use of the generator on Georgian Bay

The next phase of our life includes selling Changing Latitudes. Hopefully another Looper will find her to be the ideal Looper boat just as we did.

Thank you to Carl Wooden for your inspirational quotes of the day and thank you our blog followers. We hope we kept you entertained while we were on our year long adventure. Perhaps our experience will inspire one or more of you to cast off your dock lines some day. The Loop is just a series of 30 mile day trips.

Bonus photo


“Always be yourself unless you are a Looper, then always be a Looper.” Captain Father John
Carl (Chef) Wooden – quote of the day.

“Out of sight of land the sailor feels safe. It is the beach that worries him.”
– Charles G. Davis

Charles G. Davis was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. on July 22, 1870, and died in Manor Haven, Port Washington, N.Y. on January 22, 1959, aged 80. His father was clerk to Admiral David G. Farragut, Union Naval Commander during the Civil War. He began his love of boats and sailing at an early age; he is reputed to have sailed around Cape Horn in a square rigger at the age of thirteen. He and his older brother, William, built their own boat in 1884, cruising the Hudson and Western Long Island Sound in her before purchasing, refitting and racing an old sandbagger.