Costs for the Great Loop doubtless vary considerably but here is some data from real loopers.
Total Days: 366
Total Miles: 5875sm, 5109nm
Days Traveling: 130
Locks Transited: 118
Nights at Marinas: 232
Nights at Anchor: 42
Fuel Consumed: 2010 gallons
Main Engine Hours: 793
Average Fuel Economy: 2.9 sm/gal (including 84 generator run hours)
Average Speed: 7.4 sm/hr (6.4kts)
Average Fuel Rate: 2.5gal/hr
Cruising with Dough and Kathie on a Mainship 350 single engine trawler that went slow so these are likely at the low end of reasonable.
Here are some statistics of interest:
Miles traveled 6,060
Engine hours 910.8
Locks transited 114
Time to "Loop" 245 days
Major Expenses on "Great Loop" Cruise, MV Winnie W. (rounded off)
Dining out... $3347
*Expenses accrued to Hank (their dog) include inoculations & certifications needed for international travel, food, and monthly heartworm and flea & tick prevention.
Further Explanation of Expenses-
Fuel: we spent far less on fuel than most cruising powerboats; we attribute this to going slow! A 2nd factor is that our boat has good cruising range and this allowed us to buy fuel only at the less-expensive places. We arrived at our home dock with about the same amount of fuel as we left with.
Dockage: we anchored out about half the time... we could easily have saved money on dockage by anchoring out more. Part was due to cold weather at the end of the trip and avoiding ice-covered dinghy rides with Hank!
Charts: Doug bought a lot of brand-new chart kits & books, as well as a few traditional large paper charts (the kind that cover a whole table when rolled out, and you hold the corners in place by jabbing a pirate dagger thru the corners). We did not use any of the large traditional charts for actual navigation, so that was not cost-effective. The Corps of Engineers chart books for the inland rivers (Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee, Cumberland, Tombigbee) have not been revised or updated since 1992, so it would have been more cost-effective to buy 2nd-hand ones from cruisers who finished the Loop last year. However we were very satisfied using paper charts and old-fashioned navigation methods instead of computerized chart plotters. We often heard from fellow Loopers that their chart plotter showed them someplace on the nearby land!
Insurance: we actually spent less on insurance than if we'd stayed home; the premium for the Great Lakes and inland rivers is about half what we pay for coverage in our home waters. Florida & the Gulf is more expensive, but we didn't spend a lot of time there.
Groceries: We stowed a lot of canned & frozen food on board when we left; and we arrived home with about 1/2 as much. Little of it was "original," we replenished several times along the way.
We dined out quite a lot, which adds to the expense but for us adds more to our enjoyment. It's a nice way to socialize with friends we've met along the way, and with fellow cruisers.
One of the bits of conventional wisdom that is no longer true- the Canadian/U.S. exchange rate has changed enough that groceries in Canada are slightly more expensive than in the States.
Gizmos & gadgets.... if we didn't have a chartplotter, what electronic toys *did* we have? An autopilot was the primary "toy;" ours steered the boat at least 90% of the time. It is very easy to use, very reliable, and keeps very steady course.
Would we do it again? YES! The main point of discussion is whether to do the Loop again, or to make a trip south and back and then north and back, or vice versa!
Purcase price 2003 - $225,000 added $50,0000 upgrades - Total $275,000
Selling price 2008 - $225,000
Assume 5% financing cost and/or 5% investment opportunity cost
5 year interest cost ($77,924) Annual $15,858
Depreciation ($50,000) Annual $10,000
Selling Cost ($11,250) Annual $ 2,250
Moorage Annual $ 6,180
Maintenance Annual $ 5,000
Insurance Annual $ 1,240
License Annual $ 1,020
Misc Annual $ 1,500
Fuel (100 hours-12.5Gal/hour say $2.50 $ 3,125
Total Annual $46,173
Total cost of owning boat was $46,173 per year. Fuel cost @100 hours at $2.50 gal represented 6.8% of total costs. If fuel costs double to $5/gal fuel cost would represent 12.7% of total costs