The Great Loop is one of the best known and most rewarding cruising adventures in North America, and rightly so. Generations of boaters have enjoyed the challenge this 5,000- to 7,500-mile cruising expedition offers. For many, it is the premier achievement of their boating careers, and certainly on the bucket list for many others.
MJM Yachts became an official sponsor of the America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association (AGLCA) in April 2015. MJM founder and experienced yachtsman Bob Johnstone... yes, of J/Boats, Inc. sailboats ... commented, “Cruising is about shared adventure, and to do the Great Loop, parts of it, or any number of smaller loops around the country is a wonderful way to learn more about the country, meet new friends, and enjoy the peace and beauty that boating provides. But, the right boat can make a big difference."
Having cruised many parts of the Loop, namely Lake Michigan, the North Channel, the Gulf, and from Florida to New England, both offshore and on the ICW, Johnstone is convinced his MJM Yachts, particularly the 40z, are ideally suited. He wanted to get the message out and here it is in his words:
Category A Ocean Seaworthiness - "Contrary to what some think, the Great Loop is not just tranquil countryside canals like France. There are some 1,200 miles of open water than can be rough: 824 miles on the Great Lakes, 389 miles between Mobile and Clearwater, plus the Chesapeake, the Sounds in the Carolinas and the New Jersey Shore. The North Channel can be brutal. I’ve seen 4 days of 30+ westerly gales with mountainous, steep seas. It’s another Lake Erie! I’ve been surprised by a 70-knot 'white squall' on Lake Michigan off Charlevoix that wasn’t in the forecast. Are there any other vessels suitable for doing the Loop besides the MJM 40z, 50z or a Nordhavn trawler under 50 feet... that are ISO Certified Category A Ocean? Might be worth checking."
Seakeeper Gyrostabilizer - MJM Yachts led the industry in making a Seakeeper standard equipment on its new 50z and an option on the 40z. The fifteen 40zs ordered since have all opted for this amazing technology, which eliminates 92% of the roll at sea or at anchor. Nothing contributes more to guest comfort... eliminating seasickness and roll-induced fatigue. In fact, as Mary Johnstone learned, it even makes for peaceful sleeping at the dock if a roll kicks up unexpectedly. Crews were up all night on other boats, but not on ZING.
IPS & DPS Managing of Locks - None of us are getting more agile. The 40z is equipped with Volvo Penta IPS joystick docking as well as DPS (Dynamic Positioning System), which automatically hold the boat on a constant heading and GPS position. You can go down the center of the lock, stop, and then use the IPS to go sideways until fenders are barely touching a wall. Then engage the DPS to hover next to the wall while grabbing bow and stern lines. In fact, you don’t even have to grab lines. The DPS will keep the boat from slewing with the bathtub effect of water entering or leaving the lock. And, the flush deck from wheel to stern cleat makes it easy for the helmsperson to grab a stern line without having to go up and down a bunch of stairs or levels. I saw a 48-footer go perpendicular in a lock because the driver couldn’t get from the wheel to grab the stern line in time.
10-Foot Air Height - With radar and low-profile Glomex HD TV antenna, a 40z can do the Erie Canal route and has to wait for only 2 of 21 bridges between Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach to do the 37-mile trip in 3.5-4 hours instead of 6 hours.
Speed - There can be large distances between good marinas and anchorages. With 34-knot cruising speed (top speed 38 kts), you can pick a weather window on the best day of the week to cover as many as 275 miles in daylight... the length of Lake Erie, Charlevoix to Chicago or Pensacola to Clearwater... rather than have to run overnight at 8 knots, be holed up for a week waiting for a break in the weather in a less than desirable anchorage... or having to be underway at slow speeds, risking all sorts of weather.
Main Deck - Like a Flybridge Without Ladders - Fully-opening windshields, sliding glass or roll up Strataglass sides and back, 360-degree panoramic visibility, flush deck from transom to wheel, side access doors at floating dock height, air-conditioned or open, ventilation customized for any condition... a cruiser’s dream.
Fuel-Efficiency - Fuel-efficiency is a function of horsepower applied to overcome resistance/drag. It takes more fuel to push a heavy boat at a given speed through the water than a light boat. Since there’s not much difference in propulsion systems’ abilities to produce horsepower, the only way to improve fuel-efficiency with boats or airplanes is to build them lighter and stronger... of epoxy composites...like an MJM or the Boeing Dreamliner. At 8 knots, an MJM 40z gets 3.8 nmpg with a range of 1,200 miles. A Grand Banks 41 trawler at 8.8 knots gets 1.1 nmpg with a range of 501 miles. See this chart comparing different boats
. There is a lot of misinformation on the forum.
Comfortable Living - With plenty of room in the pilothouse and aft deck for relaxing and entertaining, it’s nice to be able to go below and have a quiet, comfortable place to read or do some work. For 12 weeks of the year, Johnstone runs his company in exactly this way. The dinette is an office by day and converts to a double berth with a privacy curtain at night. The two settees in the pilothouse serve as twin berths... surrounded by privacy curtains, adding up to sleeping accommodations for six. Although fitted with heat and A/C, an MJM has 50% more hatches and hull ports for natural light and ventilation than other boats in class.
Wide Load Sign Only - The 40z fits within 13.5’ height and 12’ width restrictions for trucking, so does not require an escort and can be readily shipped anywhere, with drives in place and antennas hinged down... should you want the flexibility to do the Loop in stages.
Bicycles - Nothing looks less shipshape than a rack of rusty bikes on deck. Yet, consensus of AGLCA forum participants is that they are a real necessity. MJM has solved the problem. 40z and 50z have cavernous settee lockers, port and starboard, capable of storing up to 4 full-size "real nice" bikes where they are out of sight and won’t rust or be stolen.
Having grown up boating his whole life, created more than 30 J/Boats racing and cruising designs and now 5 powerboats to meet the demands of the experienced, performance segment of the market... not to mention his own fastidious needs for functionality and ease of operation... it’s not surprising that Johnstone has made MJMs that are exceptional in their build quality, ease of maintenance, joy of driving and adoption of the latest technology to make a Great Loop adventure more enjoyable.
MJM Yachts: The Luxury of Effortless Driving™