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cruiser boat for the great loop

Best Cruiser Boat for Doing the Great Loop

Are you ready for a thrilling waterway adventure? The Great Loop awaits! This network of waterways in the eastern half of the United States offers a unique opportunity for recreational boaters to embark on an epic journey. Spanning 5,000-7,000 miles and taking about a year to complete, the Great Loop is an experience like no other.

When it comes to choosing the best cruiser boat for the Great Loop, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, some boats are more suited to this adventure due to certain restrictions along the route. Factors such as air draft, draft depth, and range should be considered when making your decision.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Great Loop offers a thrilling waterway adventure for recreational boaters in the eastern half of the United States.
  • Choosing the best boat for the Great Loop requires considering factors such as air draft, draft depth, and range.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all boat for the Great Loop, but a trawlerscabin cruiserpower cruiser, and trailerable boat are all popular options.
  • Recommended boat models for the Great Loop include the Aspen C108 Power Catamaran, Tiara Sport 43 LE, Marlow 70E MK II, Sabre 38 SE, Back Cove 41, and Apollonian 52.
  • Select a boat that meets your needs, preferences, and budget to enjoy a memorable waterway adventure on the Great Loop.

Types of Cruiser Boats for the Great Loop: Trawlers

Trawlers are a popular choice for the Great Loop due to their comfort, stability, and fuel economy. Most trawlers are built on displacement hulls, powered by a single engine, and have cruising speeds of 7-9 knots. They provide ample accommodations for living aboard and have good ground tackle for anchoring. Trawlers are ideal for slow distance cruising and are well-suited for the Great Loop.

If you’re planning to embark on the Great Loop adventure, consider the benefits of choosing a trawler as your cruiser boat. Here are some key advantages:

  • Comfort: Trawlers are designed with comfort in mind. They typically have spacious cabins with multiple berths, full-size bathrooms, and well-equipped galleys. This allows for comfortable living aboard during your Great Loop journey.
  • Stability: Trawlers feature a displacement hull design, which provides excellent stability in various weather conditions. This makes them reliable and safe options for long-distance cruising.
  • Fuel Economy: One of the significant advantages of trawlers is their fuel efficiency. Their single-engine setup and efficient hull design allow them to travel long distances on relatively low fuel consumption. This not only saves costs but also minimizes the environmental impact.

To give you a better visual understanding, here’s a comparison table highlighting the key characteristics of trawlers:

TrawlerDisplacement HullSingle EngineCruising Speed
AdvantagesStability in rough weatherEfficient fuel consumptionAmple accommodations
ExamplesNordhavn 55Kadey-Krogen 44Fleming 55

As you can see, trawlers offer numerous benefits for navigating the Great Loop. Their comfort, stability, and fuel economy make them a popular choice among boaters embarking on this unique waterway adventure.

Types of Boats for the Great Loop: The Cabin Cruiser

A Cabin cruiser is another option for the Great Loop, offering a cabin aboard for extended periods of living. They come in various types, including pocket cruisers, motor yachts, convertible fishing boats, and power catamarans. A Cabin cruiser can have semi-displacement or planing hulls and are equipped with amenities such as galleys, full baths/showers, and ample storage. They provide comfortable accommodations and are suitable for cruising the Great Loop.

When considering a cabin cruiser for the Great Loop, it’s important to note that they offer a balance between comfort and cruising ability. These boats provide the convenience of a home away from home, allowing boaters to enjoy extended trips along the waterways.

Types of Cabin Cruisers

Cabin cruisers for the Great Loop come in various types, each offering unique features and advantages:

  • Pocket cruisers: These small but cozy cabin cruisers are perfect for solo or couple adventures on the Great Loop. They are easy to handle and maneuver, making them suitable for navigating narrow waterways.
  • Motor yachts: Motor yachts offer luxurious accommodations and ample living space for longer journeys on the Great Loop. They are often equipped with multiple cabins, a spacious salon, and various onboard amenities.
  • Convertible fishing boats: For those who enjoy fishing as part of their Great Loop adventure, convertible fishing boats provide both comfort and versatility. They have spacious cabins and deck areas for both cruising and angling.
  • Power catamarans: Power catamarans are known for their stability and fuel efficiency. They offer spacious cabins and deck areas, making them an excellent choice for cruising the Great Loop with family or friends.

Regardless of the type, a cabin cruiser provides a comfortable and convenient way to experience the Great Loop. They offer the necessary amenities for extended trips, allowing boaters to relax and enjoy the journey.

Advantages of a Cabin Cruiser for the Great Loop

Cabin cruisers are popular among boaters undertaking the Great Loop for several reasons:

  • Comfortable accommodations: Cabin cruisers are designed with comfortable living spaces, including galleys, full baths/showers, and sleeping quarters. They provide a homelike atmosphere, ensuring a pleasant experience during the long journey.
  • Ample storage: A Cabin cruiser has sufficient storage space to accommodate personal belongings, equipment, and supplies for the Great Loop adventure. This allows boaters to have everything they need within reach.
  • Various hull options: Cabin cruisers come with semi-displacement or planing hulls, providing flexibility in terms of speed and efficiency. Boaters can choose a hull type that suits their desired cruising style.
  • Ability to navigate different waterways: Cabin cruisers are designed to navigate a variety of water conditions, making them suitable for the diverse routes encountered during the Great Loop. They offer stability and maneuverability in both protected waterways and open waters.

Overall, cabin cruisers are well-suited for the Great Loop, providing the necessary comfort, amenities, and flexibility for an unforgettable waterway adventure.

Types of Boats for the Great Loop: Power Cruisers or “Express Boats”

Power cruisers, also known as express boats, are a category of boats that combine comfort and performance, making them a popular choice for cruising the Great Loop. These boats typically feature a cabin below and an open cockpit design, allowing for an open-air environment on deck. The main social spaces, including the galley and salon, are located on deck, creating a spacious and inviting atmosphere.

Power cruisers are often powered by twin engines, providing ample power and speed for navigating through the waterways. However, it’s important to note that these boats may not be as fuel efficient as other types of boats, given their speed capabilities. Despite this, power cruisers offer a unique combination of comfort and performance, making them an attractive option for those seeking to embark on the Great Loop.

One of the benefits of power cruisers is their ability to quickly cover long distances, allowing boaters to explore various destinations along the Great Loop route. Their twin-engine configuration provides enhanced maneuverability and control, making it easier to navigate through vessel traffic and changing weather conditions.

It’s worth mentioning that power cruisers come in different sizes and layouts, catering to various preferences and needs. Some models may offer additional features such as flybridge seating, swim platforms, and outdoor entertainment areas, enhancing the overall cruising experience.

To give you an idea of the available options, here is a table showcasing a few popular power cruiser models suitable for the Great Loop:

Boat ModelLengthMaximum SpeedAccommodations
Tiara 43 Open43 ft35 knotsSleeps 4-6, full galley, head with shower
Regal 38 Grande Coupe38 ft38 knotsSleeps 4-6, full galley, spacious salon
Cruisers Yachts 42 Cantius42 ft30 knotsSleeps 4-6, full galley, luxury interior

These power cruisers offer a combination of style, comfort, and performance, making them well-suited for experiencing the Great Loop adventure in style. With their sleek designs and impressive capabilities, power cruisers provide an exciting and enjoyable cruising experience for boaters embarking on the Great Loop.

Types of Boats for the Great Loop: Trailerable Boats

Trailerable boats offer a unique advantage for those embarking on the Great Loop journey. With the ability to be easily towed to different locations, these boats provide maximum flexibility and convenience. They are typically smaller in size, making them ideal for navigating the various waterways of the Loop. Whether you prefer the compactness of a pocket trawler, the versatility of a cuddy cabin, or the excitement of a bowrider, there are trailerable options available to suit your preferences.

Trailerable boats are particularly suitable for individuals who prefer to complete the Great Loop in small segments. This allows them to return home in between segments and resume their journey at a later time. The ability to trailer the boat opens up endless possibilities for exploring different sections of the Loop, ensuring that every adventure is tailored to your desires.

Take a look at some of the popular trailerable boat options for the Great Loop:

  • Pocket Trawlers
  • Cuddy Cabins
  • Bowriders

These are just a few examples of the trailerable boats that are well-suited for the Great Loop. It’s essential to choose a boat that not only fits your preferences but also provides the comfort, stability, and performance necessary for a memorable boating adventure.

When considering a trailerable boat for the Great Loop, be sure to take into account factors such as size, amenities, fuel efficiency, and maneuverability. Each boat offers its own unique features and benefits, so it’s important to evaluate your specific needs and preferences before making a decision.

Considerations for Choosing the Best Great Loop Boat

When embarking on the Great Loop, choosing the right boat is crucial for a successful and enjoyable journey. Consider the following factors to ensure you select the best cruiser boat for your Great Loop adventure:

1. Timeframe

Think about how long you plan to spend on the Great Loop. If you have a limited timeframe, you may want to choose a boat that can cover distances more quickly. On the other hand, if you have ample time, you can opt for a slower-paced boat that allows you to savor the sights and experiences along the way.

2. Budget

Set a realistic budget for your boating adventure. Consider the cost of purchasing a boat, maintenance expenses, fuel costs, and any additional fees or permits required along the Great Loop route. Remember to account for unforeseen expenses as well.

3. Personal Preferences

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to boating. Think about the amenities and features that are important to you. Do you prioritize comfort and spacious accommodations? Are you looking for a boat with a specific layout or design? Consider your preferences to find a boat that matches your needs and enhances your enjoyment of the Great Loop.

4. Size and Space

Choose a boat that strikes the right balance between size and space. It should be small enough to be economical in terms of fuel consumption and maintenance costs, but large enough to provide comfortable living quarters during extended periods aboard. Consider the number of guests you plan to accommodate and ensure there is sufficient storage space for your belongings.

5. Speed and Fuel Efficiency

Find a boat that offers a speed suitable for your preferred cruising style. It should allow you to navigate through vessel traffic and adverse weather conditions safely. Additionally, consider fuel efficiency to minimize your environmental impact and keep costs under control.

6. Power and Control Features

Explore the power and control features of different boats. Look for features that provide ease of handling, maneuverability, and safety. Consider whether you prefer a single-engine or twin-engine setup, and ensure the boat has the necessary equipment to navigate locks, bridges, and other potential obstacles along the Great Loop.

7. Consult with Experts

Don’t hesitate to seek advice from boating experts, experienced Great Loopers, or boat dealers specializing in cruiser boats. They can offer valuable insights and recommendations based on their knowledge and experience.

By considering these boat considerations, you can select the best cruiser boat for your Great Loop adventure and embark on an unforgettable journey filled with breathtaking scenery and exciting experiences.

For those planning to embark on the Great Loop adventure, considering the right boat model is essential. Here are some highly recommended cruiser boat models that are well-suited for the Great Loop:

1. Aspen C108 Power Catamaran

The Aspen C108 Power Catamaran is a top choice for cruising the Great Loop. With its innovative hull design, this boat offers exceptional stability and fuel efficiency. Equipped with ample living space and modern amenities, it provides a comfortable and enjoyable experience throughout the journey. The Aspen C108 Power Catamaran is a reliable and versatile option for Loopers seeking an unforgettable boating experience.

2. Tiara Sport 43 LE

The Tiara Sport 43 LE is a versatile and luxurious cruiser boat that suits the Great Loop’s requirements perfectly. This boat combines elegant design with upscale comfort, featuring a spacious cabin, modern galley, and state-of-the-art navigation systems. Offering a smooth and efficient cruising experience, the Tiara Sport 43 LE ensures a delightful journey along the Great Loop.

3. Marlow 70E MK II

The Marlow 70E MK II is a remarkable yacht known for its impeccable craftsmanship and exceptional performance. With its spacious layout, high-end finishes, and advanced technology, this boat provides a luxurious and comfortable environment for cruising the Great Loop. The Marlow 70E MK II offers a blend of elegance and functionality that appeals to boating enthusiasts.

4. Sabre 38 SE (Salon Express)

The Sabre 38 SE, also known as the Salon Express, is a high-quality boat that combines classic design with modern features. This cruiser boat offers a comfortable and stylish interior, equipped with all the necessary amenities for an extended journey. Its superb handling and fuel efficiency make it an excellent choice for navigating the Great Loop’s waterways.

5. Back Cove 41

The Back Cove 41 is a popular choice among Loopers seeking a comfortable and efficient cruiser boat. Built with attention to detail, this boat offers a spacious and well-appointed interior, perfect for extended periods on the water. The Back Cove 41 provides a reliable and enjoyable experience for cruising the Great Loop.

6. Apollonian 52

The Apollonian 52 is a luxurious yacht ideal for those seeking a premium experience on the Great Loop. This boat features elegant design, exceptional craftsmanship, and cutting-edge technology. With its spacious accommodations and top-level amenities, the Apollonian 52 offers a lavish and unforgettable boating experience for Loopers.

These boat models represent a selection of options suitable for cruising the Great Loop. Each model offers unique features and accommodations tailored to different preferences and needs. Whether you prioritize fuel efficiency, luxury, or versatility, there is a cruiser boat model that will meet your requirements for an exceptional Great Loop adventure.


Embarking on the Great Loop is an adventure that attracts many boating enthusiasts, offering a unique way to explore the waterways of Eastern North America. The journey requires a vessel that can handle various conditions and provide comfort for extended periods. Among the options available, a cabin cruiser stands out as an excellent choice for this voyage.

Cabin cruiser boats from manufacturer like Regal Boats are designed with amenities that make them suitable for long-term living aboard, such as sleeping quarters, a galley, and a head. These features contribute to enjoying the boating lifestyle while traversing the Great Loop. A small cabin cruiser offers the added benefit of being more maneuverable and economical, which is ideal for the diverse waterways encountered on the route. So if you’re planning on doing the Great Loop, give strong consideration to cabin cruiser boats in 2024

When considering boats for sale for the Great Loop, it’s essential to look at cruising boats that balance size and functionality. A maximum boat length of around 40 feet is often recommended for ease of handling and docking. However, the boat of choice ultimately depends on personal preferences and needs. A boat show is a great place to explore boat options

For those who aspire to a more luxurious experience, luxury yachts | cruisers provide additional space and comfort. Exploring cruisers yachts options through a cruisers yachts dealer or platforms like MarineMax account can reveal a range of vessels tailored to the idyllic boating experience. MarineMax will use the information provided by customers to help find the perfect match for their Great Loop adventure.

Sport boats, including runabouts/sport boats, are another category to consider, especially for those who value speed and agility over living space. While not typically associated with overnight cruising boats, some sport boats can be equipped with small cabins, making them a viable option for shorter legs of the journey.

Deck boats, with their open design and ample seating, are great for day trips and entertaining guests along the way. However, they may lack the necessary accommodations for the full Great Loop unless paired with stops at marinas or yacht charters for overnight stays.

For a comprehensive view of what’s available, exploring boat types through listings of boats & yachts, including Monterey boats and similar boat brands, can be insightful. Boat clubs and private yacht charters also offer opportunities to test different models before committing to a purchase.

In summary, the best cruiser boat for doing the Great Loop is one that aligns with your boating lifestyle, whether it’s a compact cabin cruiser or a made luxury yacht. It should offer a blend of comfort, navigability, and reliability to ensure a memorable and safe journey around the loop. Save your favorite boats during your search and consult with yacht resources to make an informed decision that will enhance your experience on this epic boating adventure.

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