The maiden voyage of Beneteau hull number 202, appropriately named The Greatest Loop, will be a 5,000-plus mile circumnavigation of the eastern United States, beginning and ending in Annapolis, Maryland. The Great Loop is a popular cruise likened to Europe’s canal cruising, only with more variety and punch.
Thousands have set off on this journey that typically meanders through the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi River, out to Florida, and then back up the Intercoastal Waterway. However, this is the first time a boat builder has gathered together the resources of equipment manufacturers and the media to promote such a marathon pilgrimage. Beneteau has gathered over a half-dozen sponsors to help outfit the boat and promote the adventure, which will also support the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s Grow Boating initiative by highlighting a dream cruise close to home.
The trawler is powered by Cummins’ new 5.9 liter 425 hp diesel and will have electronics from Raymarine and equipment from Dometic Marine. Annapolis Yacht Sales is helping to commission the boat, while America’s Great Loop Association provides information and planning and MarinaLife helps to secure dockage at the many stops. Beneteau expects journalists from various publications to join legs of the trip to help publicize this popular cruise, which runs for thousands of miles but effectively never leaves the familiarity of home.
With the boat due back in the Chesapeake in mid-September, the trip will be somewhat of a four month dash. You can follow the boat’s progress after the May 15, 2012 departure; currently, a clock counts down to that date.
The Beneteau Swift series was introduced in the US just over a year ago and has captured the imagination of the power cruising market. The 125 year-old Beneteau organization is still family run with the founder’s granddaughter, Madame Anette-Beneteau Roux, at the company’s helm. It’s not clear whether or not she had anything to do with this idea, but what better way to promote the capabilities and tout the fuel efficiency of this new line than with a dream cruise?
For more information, visit Swift Trawler