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Soundings on board

Stephen Blakely, a contributing writer for Soundings, will be aboard a newly launched Beneteau Swift Trawler 34 that is embarking on a maiden voyage of the Great Loop.

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Blakely will adjust to the cruising-under-power lifestyle on the first leg of the 7,000-plus-mile tour — from Annapolis, Md., to New York City — beginning May 15 and will file a report on his experiences and observations for Soundings.

The trawler, named The Greatest Loop, is hull No. 202 and was built at Beneteau’s facility in Challans, France. It arrived March 23 in the United States. The Greatest Loop will be outfitted with the latest equipment supplied by several sponsors, including Cruisair, Dometic, Interlux, Raymarine and ValvTect. It’s powered by a 425-hp Cummins QSB5.9 diesel.

The 41-leg tour will encompass the Hudson River, most of the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, Tombigbee River, Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway and then north on the ICW, returning to Annapolis in September.

“The Swift Trawler 34 is a performance-based cruising boat offering exceptional fuel efficiency, stability and maneuverability,” says Laurent Fabre, vice president of sales and marketing for Beneteau’s Powerboats Division.
To follow the journey, visit or the Facebook page at

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- Easy cruising at 65 mph

- Checklist for your cruising destination

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This article originally appeared in the June 2012 issue.