Best Boats For The Great Loop | LakeWizard

Key Takeaways

  • The Great Loop offers a unique boating adventure winding through diverse waterways.
  • Selecting a loop boat involves considering air draft, fuel efficiency, and living comfort.
  • Journey length and boat features are critical for a successful trip.

Exploring the Great Loop? Discover the ideal boats for this unique journey, ensuring a memorable and comfortable adventure.

The Best Boats For The Great Loop are the Aspen C108, Tiara Sport 43 LE, Sabre 38 SE, Back Cove 41, and Nordic Tug 44. Each offers unique features ideal for this epic journey, balancing comfort, size, and navigability while on the waters.

As a seasoned mariner with years of firsthand experience on the waterways, I've explored various routes and faced diverse challenges at sea. My insights stem from real-life encounters, blending expertise with a passion for sailing. Let me guide you through your boating journey, offering tips and advice tailored to your unique needs.

Table of contents


Best Boats for The Great Loop

Embarking on the Great Loop is a nautical adventure that encapsulates a variety of waterways across the Eastern United States and parts of Canada. This voyage, which can span about 6,000 nautical miles, takes mariners through an interconnected system, including the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, the Great Lakes, Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of the American Midwest.

Choosing the best boat for such an adventure requires careful consideration of various factors like comfort, engine reliability, air draft, and fuel efficiency. As loopers, you understand that your boat is your home for the duration of your trip, which for most will take about a year.

The boat selection process can be exhilarating, with styles ranging from trawlers and motor yachts to trailerable boats, all equipped to make your journey comfortable and enjoyable.

Here is a table comparing key features of the best boats for the Great Loop:

Boat Length Beam Draft Fuel Capacity Cabins Hull Material Propulsion
Aspen C108 108 ft 30 ft 4.5 ft 3000 gal 4 Composite Twin engines
Tiara Sport 43 LE 43 ft 14 ft 3 ft 400 gal 2 Fiberglass Twin engines
Sabre 38 SE 38 ft 13 ft 3 ft 350 gal 2 Fiberglass Twin engines
Nordic Tug 44 44 ft 15 ft 4 ft 600 gal 2 Fiberglass Single engine
Back Cove 41 41 ft 14 ft 3 ft 500 gal 2 Fiberglass Twin engines

1. Aspen C108

When considering the best boat for the Great Loop, the Aspen C108 is a noteworthy contender. It stands out for its fuel efficiency and the accommodating living space within its catamaran hull design. Let's explore what makes the Aspen C108 an excellent choice for your great loop adventure.

Fuel Efficiency

The Aspen C108 is engineered with a unique patented Power Proa hull design that significantly boosts its fuel economy. It sports a single diesel engine setup, which is an unusual but effective choice.

This design choice leads to an asymmetric power distribution, resulting in fuel savings without sacrificing performance.

  • Diesel Consumption: Approximately 20-30% more efficient than traditional twin-engine cats.
  • Fuel Capacity: Designed for long-range cruising, offering a large fuel tank to reduce frequent stops.


Despite its size, the Aspen C108 performs exceptionally well when it comes to handling and maneuverability. Its well-engineered hull and single-engine configuration provide a balanced and responsive steering experience.

This makes it easier for you to navigate through tight spots – typical in the intricate waterways of the great loop.

  • Hull Design: The proa hull reduces drag, increasing maneuverability.
  • Cockpit: Spacious and thoughtfully designed for ease of control.

Living Space

The Aspen C108 optimizes living space efficiently, which is paramount for those looking to live aboard during their year-long great loop trip. The interior is ingeniously designed to provide the comforts of home while on the water.

  • Salon: A comfortably sized salon area that includes a dining space and entertainment area.
  • Cabins and Storage: Multiple cabins and ample storage space ensure you can carry all the essentials for your journey.

Here’s a table showing the i interior details of this boat:

Area Amenities & Features
Gallery Fully equipped for meal preparation, comparable to a small home kitchen.
Cabin Includes three berths; the dinette converts to a fourth.
Bathroom Enclosed head with a shower, efficiently using the onboard water supply.

Draft Depth

The draft depth is a critical specification for a great loop boat, given the varying depths along the route. The Aspen C108 boasts a shallow draft, allowing you to explore more locations where deeper-hulled boats might not venture.

  • Draft: One of the shallowest in its class, adding a level of safety and accessibility.

The Aspen C108 is a great loop boat that effectively combines fuel efficiency, maneuverability, living comfort, and shallow draft depth to deliver a balanced and satisfying cruising experience for your adventure.

2. Tiara Sport 43 LE

When considering the best boat for the Great Loop, the Tiara Sport 43 LE emerges as an exceptional candidate. Its design marries advanced fuel efficiency with maneuverability, an opulent living space, and a draft depth suitable for both deepwater adventures and shallower inland passages.

Fuel Efficiency

Regarding fuel efficiency, the Tiara Sport 43 LE stands out. The integration of advanced engines tailored for optimal gasoline consumption means you can cruise the Great Loop without frequent stops to refuel. This vessel’s range is commendable, allowing for extensive cruising intervals that are both economical and convenient.

Fuel Specifications:

  • Type of Fuel: Gasoline
  • Estimated Range: Column for specific range value


Maneuvering around the busy marinas or narrow passages of the Erie Canal calls for a boat that handles like a dream. The Tiara Sport 43 LE, with its responsive helm and twin-engine configuration, offers remarkable agility. Whether you’re docking or navigating tricky sections of the Great Loop, this boat gives you full control with less effort.

Handling Characteristics:

  • Engine Configuration: Two Engines
  • Hull Design: Optimized for agility

Living Space

Imagine your floating home equipped with all the amenities you need. The 43 LE offers a comfortable cabin complete with a microwave, fridge, oven, and elegantly appointed galley. The salon area is designed for relaxation and socializing, making life aboard a luxurious experience during your great loop adventure.


  • Galley: Fully furnished
  • Salon: Spacious and comfortable

Draft Depth

The 43 LE's draft depth supports a versatile Great Loop experience. With a hull designed to navigate both the shallows and open sea, you can cruise with confidence from the Atlantic Coast through to inland waters without concern. The Tiara Sport ensures that depth is one less thing to worry about on your trip.

Shallow and deep waters. Opt for the Tiara Sport 43 LE as your loop boat promises a blend of efficiency, control, and home comforts. Whether you're on a long-distance cruise or enjoying a rest in a serene marina, this vessel is equipped to provide an unforgettable journey.

3. Sabre 38 SE (Salon Express)

Embarking on a great loop adventure? The Sabre 38 SE (Salon Express) has become a distinctive choice for this long-distance journey. Boasting fuel efficiency, easy maneuverability, and a spacious interior, it's designed to meet the various challenges and requirements of the great loop.

Fuel Efficiency

The Sabre 38 SE prides itself on a balance between power and fuel efficiency. This model comes with two diesel engines that provide a cruise speed that won't break the bank when it comes to fuel costs. Spanning the great loop means calculating your fuel capacity and range, which is vital, and this boat lets you save money while still enjoying the journey.

  • Diesel Engines: Twin
  • Fuel Capacity: Listed in Specifications


With its efficient hull design and twin engines, handling the Sabre 38 SE is a dream. The boat's performance in close quarters, like the busy marinas along the Intracoastal waterway or navigating through the Erie Canal, underscores its maneuverability. Dual engines also mean redundancy, so in the rare event one engine fails, you still can proceed to the nearest marina.

  • Length Overall: Listed in Specifications
  • Engine Make and Model: Listed in Specifications

Living Space

On the inside, the Sabre 38 SE doesn't disappoint. The spacious salon, well-equipped galley, and cabins deliver comfort for the long haul. Whether you're taking a break from cruising or entertaining new friends, there's more than enough space to eat, relax, and sleep. Plus, the separate shower in the head area means that you can freshen up after a day of adventure without cramping your style.

  • Cabins: Two
  • Separate Shower: Yes

Draft Depth

The Sabre 38 SE's draft depth is key for a great loop boat, given the varied depths along the route. Its hull is designed to provide a stable ride without limiting your cruising options due to depth restrictions in certain areas of the loop. From the shallow waters of the Gulf Coast to deeper waters found elsewhere, this boat has you covered.

4. Nordic Tug 44

The Nordic Tug 44 is renowned for its robust construction and seafaring capabilities, specifically designed to handle the diverse conditions of the Great Loop. As you consider this boat for your long-distance cruising needs, we'll explore its fuel efficiency, ease of maneuvering, comfortable living space, and suitable draft depth to help you understand why it's a top contender for the journey.

Fuel Efficiency

This trawler's fuel-efficient diesel engines make it a practical choice for your great loop adventure. With the ability to cruise for extended miles without frequent refueling stops, you maintain both freedom and efficiency at sea.

  • Range: Capable of covering significant distances with a single fuel stop
  • Diesel Efficiency: Lower consumption compared to petrol engines, saving you money


Crafted with precision and control in mind, the Nordic Tug 44 offers excellent maneuverability. The boat's dual engines and proportional thrusters allow you to navigate the Intracoastal waterway and busy marinas with ease.

  • Engines: Twin engines provide balanced power for better handling
  • Hull Design: The well-crafted hull allows for smooth turning and docking

Living Space

Comfort is key on a great loop trip, and the Nordic Tug 44's cabin and galley are designed to offer the luxuries of home. The salon area provides a cozy retreat after a day of cruising, while the ample amenities ensure that living abroad is a delight rather than a sacrifice.

  • Cabin: Well-appointed with plush furnishings for a good night's rest
  • Galley: Fully equipped for home-cooked meals, adding to the sense of comfort

Draft Depth

Adept at navigating both deep waters and shallower stretches of the loop, the Nordic Tug 44 has a draft that aligns with the varied conditions encountered along this epic route. This attribute is especially critical in areas like the Erie Canal, where depth can dictate progress.

  • Draft: Balanced to manage deeper sections of the Great Lakes and the shallow parts of the waterway
  • Hull: Designed to minimize draft without compromising on seaworthiness

5. Back Cove 41

The Back Cove 41 stands out among the best boats for the Great Loop, combining fuel efficiency and liveaboard comfort in a design that navigates the diverse waters from the Gulf to the Great Lakes with ease.

Fuel Efficiency

This craft boasts notable fuel efficiency, a key factor in long-distance cruising. With its single diesel engine, the Back Cove 41 optimizes fuel consumption, making it cost-effective for the Great Loop, where management of resources is crucial.

  • Engine: Single diesel for better fuel economy
  • Run Time: Longer distances covered with fewer fill-ups


Handling and course maintenance is a breeze in varied conditions, thanks to the boat's design for stability and responsiveness. This means less strain when navigating tight turns or congested marinas.

  • Hull Design: Designed for effortless steering and control
  • Bow & Stern Thrusters: Offer precision docking and maneuvering

Living Space

For live-aboard comfort, the Back Cove 41 offers a generous living space. A well-appointed galley and spacious salon are complemented by cozy sleeping quarters that make restful nights second nature on your journey.

  • Cabin: Luxurious and well-equipped for family or guests
  • Amenities: Modern conveniences from microwave to fridge

Draft Depth

A draft is a key consideration for the Great Loop's shallow sections. With a moderate draft depth, the Back Cove 41 maintains a balance between seaworthy capabilities and the ability to navigate shallower parts of the Loop.

  • Depth: Sufficient for most areas without compromising on sea handling
  • Hull: Semi-displacement form to mitigate concerns about draft restrictions

Seasonal Considerations for the Great Loop Adventure

Timing is everything. Kick off your journey in late spring or early fall to dodge the heavy summer boat traffic and extreme weather. Imagine serene waters and milder temperatures, making your adventure more enjoyable.

Weather Whirls Along the Way

As you navigate the Loop, expect diverse climates. Picture sunny skies in the south during spring, but brace for occasional storms. Up north, summers are blissful, but beware of early frosts as fall approaches. It's a weather kaleidoscope, each turn offering something new.

Nature's Showtime

Wildlife enthusiasts, rejoice! Spring brings a burst of life - ducklings paddling in the north and manatees cruising in the south. Autumn? It's a leaf-peeping season, with forests ablaze in color. Each season paints a unique backdrop for your journey.

Dodging the Crowds

Summer on the Loop can be bustling. Prefer tranquility? Aim for spring or fall. Less traffic means more intimate encounters with quaint towns and peaceful anchorages. It's your chance for a more authentic, relaxed experience.

Festivals and Fun

Sync your journey with local festivals for an extra splash of culture. Summer fairs, autumn harvest festivals, and springtime celebrations - each stop on the Loop has its own local flavor. It's more than a journey; it's a cultural immersion.

Ready for the Seasonal Shifts

Be boat-ready for seasonal quirks. Summer means extra sun protection and hydration, while fall calls for warmer gear and storm readiness. Tailoring your prep to the season ensures a smooth, safe voyage on this epic loop.