Lifestyle / POSTED 08-Mar-2024

Around the Loop in 34 Days

Many boaters like to ease into a raft-up or drop a hook at the sandbar. Others… well, others crave adventure. A select few need adventure with an exclamation point.

Dr. Scott Meyers scaled the full height of adventure when he took on the 6,000-mile America’s Great Loop in a single-outboard tritoon. “A couple of my patients had done it in a 43-foot Albin trawler. I couldn’t get it out of my head,” says Meyers, a 55-year-old Tulsa, Oklahoma, dermatologist. “I wanted to go faster and do it while I was still working. This was about challenging myself.”


About 2,600 boats have reported completing the Loop since 1999, when
the America’s Great Loop Cruiser’s Association® started, says director Kim Russo. Most spend a few years completing various legs of the route — which wends through at least 15 Eastern states and Canadian provinces. 

Loop boats have ranged in size from a kayak to a 70-foot motoryacht. Meyers’ tritoons — and he used three different boats — measured 24 to 26 feet. The trip took only 34 days, but travel was spread over three legs during a period of four years. That 34 days held a speed record until 2022, when a Florida-based firefighter and charter captain clocked 28 days aboard a twin-outboard 26-foot Glacier Bay catamaran. 


But Meyers hadn’t really set out to break records. “People said, ‘go slow,’ but my only option was to go faster” because of work, he says. He thought he could take a two-month break from his practice during the summer of 2017 to complete the trip. But “things came up.”

Meyers started the trip by himself on May 22 in Kentucky Lake, near Paducah, the closest point of the Loop to Tulsa. He packed far too much gear, he says, but had wisely invested in two 50-gallon fuel bladders. The plan: Cover 150 to 300 miles a day; eat energy bars and beef jerky; overnight on deck in a sleeping bag when necessary and take breaks at marina hotels when available.


Meyers readily admits he was not a heavily experienced boater, so he made some mistakes. “I basically had done all small-boat freshwater-fishing type stuff,” he says about his prior boating experience. “Maybe the more you know, the less you probably stick your neck out?”

A few days after his Kentucky launch, Meyers reached the southern Tennessee-Tombigbee River in Alabama. A friendly lockmaster almost burst his bubble.

“He said, ‘You’re seriously not trying to take that boat across the Big Bend (the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida panhandle), are you?”

But Meyers had to keep to an accepted Loop route. Given a redo, he says he might have hung closer to the shoreline versus run across open water from Apalachicola, Florida, to Crystal River. Thankfully, the weather cooperated with flat seas.

Just prior to the crossing, however, he picked up some sand in his outboard’s intake. The engine alarm sounded multiple times that afternoon.

Meyers made it to Crystal River, where his brother Steve joined him. The two ran to Cortez, near Sarasota the next day. But with the outboard needing service, the brothers decided to halt their progress on May 29, just seven days into the trek.

“I was pretty disappointed in myself that I was quitting the trip,” Meyers says. “I sold my boat to a guy at a bar in Homosassa. It was really tough. I had wanted to show my kids that if you start something, you should finish it.”


Fast-forward three years. Meyers hired Andre Santos at his medical practice. “He said he had heard what I had done [on the Loop],” Meyers says. “He said he would have loved to have done that. So, I said I would get a different boat, and the dream came alive again.”

On May 22, 2020, they left Cortez, Florida, in a Manitou® 23 SHP with a Yamaha 250 SHO®. They logged seven more travel days and pulled up at Southport, North Carolina, after a particularly rough run on Florida’s East Coast. “In the Atlantic, the seas were 6 to 8 feet; the Intracoastal 

Waterway was rough. We ran from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. through the rain. I had blisters between my toes from the back-and-forth jarring. We made it to a little protected marina, and there was one slip available.”

On their way north, with bigger water ahead, they decided they needed more LOA. 


By July 14, 2021, Andre, Meyers, and his daughter Lauren shoved off from Southport in a new Bennington® 25QSB with a Yamaha 425 XTO®. “That was a heavy boat,” Meyers says. “It would have been slower if I hadn’t have put that big motor on it. We really liked the 425 and the digital controls.”

The trekkers headed north up the ICW, and then ran 30 miles in the ocean before pulling in at New York Harbor. With COVID peaking, they couldn’t enter Canada, so they took a longer route, through the Erie Canal and across three Great Lakes.

On the final push, Sept. 5, 2021, Meyers and a friend named Scott Merrill motored south toward Kentucky Lake to “cross their wake” (run past their starting point). “At the end, I remember cruising out of the last lock and a whole flock of white birds flew over us. It was as close to a spiritual feeling as you might get in the real world. To me, that was the best ending. There was no big celebration. Just a feeling that it’s the journey and memories that count.”

  Back to Blue Life