If you are an adventure-seeker and getting ready for the Great Loop then you need to look for the best boat to make your adventure all the more exciting.
Sailing across the eastern half of the United States is an adventure that can last up to a year. For this reason, you should look for a boat that has an excellent air draft, space for flexible accommodation, and is equipped with a powerful engine.
We highly recommend taking a Swift Trawler 48, Gran Turismo 45, and Leopard 53 Powercat. All of these boats are designed specifically for long travels on the sea with comfortable accommodation and are perfect for an adventurous trip like the Great Loop.
The best type of boat will have a cruising speed of 7-9 knots and will have a good range for the long routes. As the distance between the fuel stops is long, the best boat will have a minimum range of 500 miles. The air draft will be 6-foot maximum and length overall (LOA) of a maximum of 18 feet to be suitable to bypass all the bridges on your route.
We have gathered a list of the 5 best boats for the Great Loop that you can consider that are recommended by other Loopers just like you. All these boats have been listed keeping in mind your need for comfort and style on your adventure across the Great Loop.
5 Best Boats For The Great Loop
The Great Loop is a series of connected waterways that hundreds of people from all over the United States sail through each year. These people who are referred to as ‘Loopers’, travel across a stretch of waterways. These include major parts of the Atlantic Coast and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Also included are the Great Lakes, and the Candian Heritage Canals. The American Midwest rivers such as the Mississippi and the Saint Louis River are also parts of the loop.
The entire loop is about 5000-7000 miles long and you can take different routes. It is a loop, so your adventure begins at the port closest to you and ends there.
Your port can be either in the Great Lakes, Florida, Inland Rivers, or the Atlantic Coast. Most Loopers start their journey counter-clockwise which is how you could start off your journey as well.
The ideal choice for the best boat for the Great Loop is not one that is cheapest for you but one that can provide you comfort and facilities on a long trip. Traveling thousands of miles on the sea means you need to have a place to lie down and stretch your legs.
More importantly, you want to make sure that the boat you choose has a good range of traveling at least a couple of hundred miles. It is best to have some extra tanks with you if you need to refuel before you reach a fuel stop.
It is not wise to spill the used fuel in the water as you do not want the habitat of plants and animals living there to have a dirty home.
1. Swift Trawler 48
We highly recommend taking the Swift Trawler 48 onto your adventure of the Great Loop. Trawlers were originally used for commercial fishing. But with the increasing interest in sea adventures, many companies like Beneteau are now building trawlers designed specifically for recreational activities.
There is an aft deck space with folding chairs and a transverse bench seat. The functionality features of this boat also include sliding flybridge stairs that can be operated with a foot pedal, a starboard sidekick acrylic wind stopper door, and an overhead handrail.
You can also enjoy a nice swim time during the Great Loop with its transom double gate that opens to a huge swimming platform with a hydraulic lifting system to add more fun to your dives. In addition, there is a bathing ladder with swimming pool handrails. There is a sun-pad too for your sunbathing times on the journey.
The Swift Trawler 48 is 48 feet and 4 inches long. The hull length on this boat is 41 feet and 11 inches while the hull beam is 14 feet and 9 inches. With a standard horsepower of 380 and a fuel capacity of 510 gallons, this trawler is what you need for a perfect cruise around the Great Loop. It has a range of +600nm with a displacement speed of 9 knots.
Due to its exquisite facilities, this boat has gained quite a large popularity amongst frequent cruisers for its seaworthiness and comfortable living space. Inside the boat, you can find a 67-gallon fridge and freezer with large overhead lockers outboard.
A galley or a kitchen with an oven, drawers, and cupboards will make your one-year-long journey all the more easy and comfortable.
Beneteau is also trusted for its services because its boats come with the SEANAPPS app. It allows the boaters a unique experience of staying on a boat where with just one touch they can order services for the boat.
2. Gran Turismo 45
If you are someone who likes to go on adventurous trips with family whenever you can get a chance, then you need to try hopping onto a sea adventure with Beneteau's Gran Turismo 45 express cruiser. It is like a portable home that is perfect for a long sailing across the Great Loop.
We trust the company Beneteau and so do many other seasoned boaters which is why we recommend this boat as well for your adventurous journey. The boat has a cabin aboard which is perfect for comfortable and spacious living. It also has a large sun pad, a u-shaped cockpit seating area, and large windows for a more aesthetic experience.
Gran Turismo 45 is known for its versatile design that has great adaptability to changing conditions. This makes it all the better for the journey across the Great Loop. It is a 48 feet boat with a sleek metallic modern interior design.
The boat has the capacity of boarding up to ten people at a time. There is a shower room, a guest cabin with its own shower room, and a decorated lounge and kitchen. It sounds like the best getaway adventure to spend some quality time with family or friends.
The hull length of the boat is 44 feet and 3 inches while the hull beam is 13 feet and 9 inches. The fuel capacity is 199 gallons and the horsepower of this boat is 440.
The amenities also include large loungers and sun pads where you can relax and enjoy a nice sunbath. The spacious deck can serve as a perfect place for your kids to play and also be a nice spot to draw a fishing line from.
3. Leopard 53 Powercat
Often referred to as power catamarans, a multi-hull powerboat is perfect for a long journey around the Great Loop essentially for its powerful propulsion. This is why recommend the award-winning multi-hull powerboat, Leopard 53 Powercat, designed by Leopard Catamarans.
It is designed with two hulls and a deck and cabin that are suited for long stays. They are also highly fuel-efficient as they do not require heavy power to cut through the water. They are also easily maneuverable because their engines as designed to be set wide apart from each other. This means that there is no need to use a strong propellor or bow thruster.
There is also a high chance that you will feel less sea-sick on Leopard 53 Powercat as it has different motions on rough water. This boat is part of one of the most successful power catamarans series out there. This should give you a pretty good idea about its popularity amongst regular boaters.
With its modern interior, you will hardly feel like you are on a boat. It is a three or four-cabin layout and also has an option for a separate cabin for the crew. The lounge or the saloon as it is called on the boat has large windows offering a panoramic view of wherever you are on your journey.
The boat has a furnished galley, a number of bathrooms, and bedrooms in the deep hulls of the boat.
The boat size is 53 feet and 1 inch while its beam size is 25 feet and 2 inches. It is designed to be smart and an economical ride with 50% fuel efficiency. It can go up to a maximum speed of 22 knots at a range of 342 Nm. This ensures that you have a smooth sailing experience on the Great Loop.
4. Monte Carlo 52
Motor yachts are also a type of cabin cruiser but they are typically large in size and have more than one cabin. Monte Carlo 52 is one of the best motor yachts out there, designed by Beneteau.
This boat is perfect if you are planning a cruising adventure with your extended family and friends. Everyone can have their own privacy while enjoying the trip together. It is elegant and luxurious, and Beneteau takes pride in its handcrafted finishing. You can have one memorable and lavish Great Loop adventure.
The flybridge on the boat acts as a perfect area for just laying back and enjoying a beautiful evening out on the sea. The overall length of the boat is 53 feet and 7 inches that allowing for a comfortable spacious area for your entire family. The hull length is 47 feet while the beam size is 15 feet.
The saloon has a port and starboards side windows that drop below the furniture. This gives the entire lounge a mesmerizing aesthetic appeal. The bedrooms have a walk-in closet and a bathroom.
This boat may be a little more costly than other boats but its amenities make it an ideal choice for a trip around the Great Loop. The design typically involves a cabin that is below while the rest of the space like the galley and the saloon are in the open air.
This boat offers an exquisite and luxurious adventure just like traveling on a first-class ticket on the plane but this trip lasts for about a year not a few hours with beautiful sightseeing in between.
The fuel capacity of this boat is 172 gallons with a horsepower of 435. Up to 8 people can comfortably sit on the flybridge which also has a decorated kitchen. The boat also has a sunpad and swimming platform so that you can take a nice dip in the water on your way around the Great Loop.
Motor yachts are also enjoyable for their outdoor dining area and sun pads to truly get the feeling of being out in the sea. There is also an aft deck which is perfect for just lounging on a typical Sunday afternoon on the boat. To get a full experience of being on a boat, there is also a helm or an outside steering station for your fun.
5. Adventure 208
If you are planning a getaway honeymoon with your beloved, then a cuddy cabin is our recommended choice. Grady White’s Adventure 208 is just that boat for you. Derived its meaning from the idea of a small cupboard, this type of boat is perfect for your family vacation on the Great Loop.
It can hold up to 8 passengers at a time and is 20 feet long. The enhanced design of this boat has qualified it with overnight accommodation amenities. So, you can consider this boat for your Great Loop travels.
The beam size of the boat is 8 feet and 1 inch while the hull draft length is 15 inches. The depth of the cockpit is 25 inches. The fuel capacity of Adventure 208 is 82 gallons and the maximum horsepower is 250.
This boat comes with a small cabin space with a berth and a toilet. It is not as spacious as the other boats but if you are looking for a cheaper option for a small number of people with you on the adventure then this boat is the best for you.
There is a composite stringer system and transom on the boat. Along with that, there is also a berth in the cabin with a bathroom and other amenities like storage space, lights, and windows. You can have your meals on the deck and enjoy the beautiful view around the Great Loop.
Finding The Best Boat For The Great Loop
Whenever you decide to set yourself for an adventure on the sea and you decide to take a trip around the Great Loop, the first thing is that you prepare yourself mentally.
Staying on the water for an extended period of time can lead to problems such as sea-sickness or home-sickness. Make sure that you are ready for the adventure of the sea and remain prepared for any hurdles that the sea may splash at you.
This is why you need to have all the information at your disposal to help you make the right decision.
Size Of The Boat
The best way to decide which boat size will be perfect for you is to count the number of heads who will be joining you on your journey. If it is just for two people then you are good to go taking a small boat as will cost less and will also be easily transported on a trailer.
If you are a family of more than 2 people then it is recommended to get a larger boat that has enough cabin space for everyone to cozy up and sleep comfortably. It is nice to have a boat that has a lounging area, a kitchen, and a dining area so that you can truly experience being on a vacation with your family.
However, a larger boat may not be easy to transport on a trailer due to its size so you will have to make your decisions according to the length of your vacation period and if you actually want to complete the entire loop.
Any best boat for the Great Loop will be easy to transport. This means that a boat that has the facility to be trailered will have more flexibility. This would allow you to take breaks in between your journey if you want to go back home to work emergency or a family emergency.
A boat that can be trailered also provides you with the ability to tow it to a launch ramp. This is an amenity mostly available for small boats that have comparatively less space than the other boats but can still be great for the Great Loop.
The decision to choose a boat that has one or two engines depends on how long you are planning your trip for and how many people are on board with you. Multiple engines mean that the boat size is large which ultimately makes it costly. Go for this only if a large party is joining you on the Great Loop.
Single engine boats are just perfect for the adventure as well. They would most likely be smaller in size and hence cost a little less. They may be perfect for a small family or a couple wanting to cruise around the loop for a vacation.
If you are thinking from the aspect of fuel consumption then there is only a slight difference between the two. So, if you want a more peaceful ride then you can go for the boat with two engines as any other looper would do.
About THE AUTHOR
I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.Read More About Brian Samson