The last leg of our three-part Great Loop cruise is a return to where we began: Florida.

- By kim kavin

ruth be told, there is no typical last leg of a Great Loop cruise. The return depends on wherever you chose to start. And as Kim Russo, executive director of the America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Associatio­n, puts it about weather, “Usually, where you start is determined by when you want to start.” ¶ For the purposes of our three-part

Tseries, the last leg would take yachtsmen back to our starting point: Florida. After cruising from there up the Eastern Seaboard, across the Great Lakes and down the Mississipp­i River, the final leg turns to the east, through the Gulf of Mexico to Florida’s western shore. ¶ At its southern end, the Mississipp­i

River runs through New Orleans, one of America’s most storied cities. From the jazz clubs to the Bourbon Street bars to Mardi Gras, the city seems to vibrate. It makes a fantastic place to tie up and take in the sights while waiting for the perfect weather window to enter the Gulf of Mexico. ¶ Along the Gulf Coast, there are sizable places to stop—Mobile, Alabama, and Panama City, Florida, among

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