Get ready to embark on an epic adventure, my friend! You’re planning to conquer the Great Loop, a continuous waterway that includes part of the Atlantic, Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of America’s heartland. But wait! Before you set sail, there’s a big question that needs answering — what’s the best boat for the Great Loop?
Best Boat for the Great Loop
You need a boat that’s comfy for long hauls, shallow enough for those tricky waterways, and efficient enough so you’re not spending more on fuel than your favorite seaside snacks. No worries, we’ve got your back. Let’s dive into the ultimate vessels that will make your Great Loop adventure not only possible, but downright unforgettable!
- Beneteau Swift Trawler 34: A real crowd-pleaser, this baby combines speed, stability, and fuel efficiency. Plus, it’s got all the comforts of home, making it a top pick for liveaboards.
- Nordic Tugs 32+: This tug-style cruiser is perfect for couples or solo Loopers. It’s compact, yet offers plenty of living space and storage. Plus, it has a single, fuel-efficient diesel engine for that long-haul performance.
- Ranger Tugs R‑31: Don’t let its size fool you. This compact command center boasts a master suite, a comfy saloon, and even a guest cabin. Ideal for maneuvering through those tighter spots along the Loop.
- Island Packet SP Cruiser: A motorsailer that offers the best of both worlds — the convenience of a trawler with the backup of a sail. It’s got a fuel-efficient engine, and the added sail power makes it versatile.
- Sabre 42 Salon Express: Looking for something a bit more luxurious? This might be your ride. Its interior feels like a high-end apartment, and it’s equipped with twin engines that provide speed and maneuverability. It might sip a bit more fuel, but hey, who can put a price on comfort?
- Mainship 40 Trawler: This one’s a Loop veteran. Plenty of space, a single fuel-efficient engine, and a killer flybridge to enjoy those scenic waterways. It’s like your personal floating RV.
- Kadey-Krogen 39: A slow and steady long-distance cruiser, this one offers a stellar range thanks to its fuel-sipping nature. Plus, its full-displacement hull ensures a smooth ride, even when Mother Nature decides to throw a tantrum.
Houseboat is also a good choice. These vessels are perfect for extended cruising, as they provide plenty of space for living and entertaining. If You decide to do it make sure You have best houseboat generator.
Other important considerations include the size of the boat, the type of fuel it uses, and the amenities it offers. Boats that are larger than 40 feet tend to be more comfortable and roomier, but they also use more fuel and require more maintenance. Smaller boats generally offer more maneuverability and are more fuel-efficient. It is also important to consider the amenities that the boat offers. Boats with a flybridge, for example, provide an elevated view, making it easier to spot landmasses and other boats.
It is also important to consider the comfort of the boat and make sure it has comfortable living quarters, a well-equipped kitchen, and adequate bathroom facilities. It is important to research the different types of boats available and determine which one offers the best combination of features and amenities for your specific needs.
Great Loop Boat Requirements
Navigating the Great Loop? Strap in, sailor, because we’re talking boat requirements — but hey, it’s not as scary as it sounds!
Mind your head because your boat’s air draft (that’s boating lingo for height!) needs to be under 19 feet to squeeze under those low bridges. Next, your boat’s draft (the part underwater) should be less than 5 feet to glide through shallower waters.
But here’s the biggie: fuel range. Your boat needs to cover at least 250 miles without refueling, as gas stations are not exactly floating around every bend. Don’t forget the creature comforts, either. You’re going to want a boat that feels like a second home, with essential amenities and cozy living spaces.
While smaller boats can do the Great Loop, something between 34 to 45 feet hits the sweet spot between comfort and maneuverability.
Size and Design
When it comes to the Great Loop, size matters. The locks along the route can be narrow, and low bridges can be challenging for some types of boats. As a general rule, boats for the Great Loop should be between 30 and 50 feet long, with a shallow draft of 3 feet or less.
Trawlers are ideal for the Great Loop. They are designed for long-distance cruising, with a shallow draft and a comfortable, fuel-efficient ride. Many have a raised bridge deck and a wide beam, allowing them to fit through the locks with ease.
Sedan cruisers are also good for the Great Loop. They are designed for speed and stability, with a wide beam, low profile, and comfortable interior. They can be powered by either diesel or gasoline engines, making them a good choice for boaters who want to cruise at a leisurely pace.
Pilothouse cruisers are a popular choice for the Great Loop. They are designed for long-distance cruising and have a raised bridge deck, allowing the captain to stay comfortable and dry while navigating the locks. They also have a wide beam and shallow draft, making them suitable for navigating the shallow waters of the Great Lakes.
Fuel Efficiency and Range
Fuel efficiency is an important consideration when shopping for a best boat for the Great Loop. Since the route is so long, you’ll want a boat that can go a long way on a single tank of fuel. Look for boats with fuel-efficient engines and fuel tanks that can hold enough fuel for the entire journey.
Diesel engines are one of the most fuel-efficient options for long-distance cruising. They are powerful and reliable, and can get up to 30% better fuel economy than gasoline engines.
Hybrid engines are becoming more popular in the boating world, as they offer excellent fuel economy and quiet operation. They combine a diesel engine and an electric motor, allowing the boat to run on either fuel or electricity.
When it comes to fuel tanks, look for boats that have large tanks that can hold enough fuel for the entire journey. Some boats are also equipped with auxiliary fuel tanks, which can be used to extend the boat’s range.
Comfort and Amenities
Comfort and amenities are important when planning a long-distance trip like the Great Loop. Look for boats with comfortable cabins, plenty of storage, and amenities like a galley, head, and shower. If You are really fancy You might think of taking boat grills to complement Your adventures.
Look for a boat with a comfortable cabin. Some boats have multiple cabins, allowing the crew to spread out and get some rest. The cabins should also have plenty of storage for clothes, supplies, and other items you’ll need for the journey.
The galley is where you’ll be preparing and enjoying meals while on the Great Loop. Look for boats with a well-equipped galley, including a stove, refrigerator, and plenty of counter space.
Head and Shower
A head and shower are essential for a long-distance trip. Look for boats with a comfortable head and shower, as well as plenty of hot water.
Safety and Maintenance
Safety and maintenance are key when shopping for a boat for the Great Loop. Look for boats that are well-built, with features like a strong hull, ample storage, and reliable navigation and communication systems.
Hulls are the most important part of a boat, and you’ll want to make sure the boat you choose has a strong, well-built hull. Look for boats made of fiberglass or other durable materials, and make sure they have a reliable keel and rudder. Always use a good hull cleaner.
Storage is essential for long-distance cruising. Look for boats with ample storage for supplies, spare parts, and other items you’ll need on your journey.
Navigation and communication systems are essential for staying safe on the Great Loop. Look for boats with reliable systems, including GPS, radar, and a VHF radio.
How much does it cost to do the great loop
Cost is always an important consideration when shopping for a boat. Boats for the Great Loop can range from $50,000 to over $500,000, depending on size, features, and condition. Look for a boat that fits your budget, but also has the features you need for a safe and comfortable journey.
Used boats can be a great option for budget-minded boaters. Look for boats that are well-maintained and in good condition.
Repair costs are an important consideration when shopping for a boat. Make sure to factor in any potential repair costs when calculating the total cost of ownership.
Insurance is also a must when shopping for a boat for the Great Loop. Make sure to get an insurance policy that covers the boat and its contents for the duration of the journey.
Most fuel efficient great loop boat
Drum roll, please… Step right up and meet the trawler. With its slower, steady cruising speed and hull design, the trawler sips rather than gulps fuel, making it the marathon runner of the boating world.
Now imagine this: You’re cruising along America’s beautiful waterways in your trawler, basking in the scenic views, and feeling the breeze. All the while, your boat is running efficiently, saving you time and money at the fuel dock. It’s not just an adventure, it’s a smart adventure. Hop aboard a trawler, where efficiency meets exploration. The Great Loop is calling!
Best sailboat for the great loop
Seeking the best sailboat for the Great Loop? Say no more, the Island Packet SP Cruiser is your ticket to a smooth voyage! This beauty isn’t just a sailboat, it’s a motor-sailer, offering the best of both worlds.
Roomy, comfortable layout perfect for long-term living, combined with a robust motor for those tighter, trickier parts of the loop. And let’s not forget her sail performance for those days when you just want to shut off the engine and glide along with the breeze.
Did I mention the pilothouse? It keeps you cozy in rough weather and offers unbeatable views. So pack your bags and raise the sails, the Great Loop is calling and the Island Packet SP Cruiser is ready to answer the call!
Cheap great loop boats
Consider looking into used trawlers or motor yachts. These sturdy vessels are built for the long haul, and you can often find pre-loved models that offer fantastic value for money. Their spacious layouts mean you’ll be cruising in comfort.
Don’t overlook smaller cabin cruisers or even pontoon boats with the necessary amenities. These might be on the compact side, but they can be incredibly cost-effective and still pack a punch in terms of reliability and performance.
It’s not about the price tag on your vessel; it’s about the priceless memories you’ll make navigating the Great Loop. Now, go snag yourself a budget-friendly boat and start the adventure of a lifetime!
What factors should I consider when choosing a boat for the Great Loop?
When choosing a boat for the Great Loop, consider factors like fuel efficiency, comfort, draft, air draft, and reliability. Your boat should be economical on fuel, comfortable for long durations of time, and capable of navigating shallow waters and fitting under low bridges. It also needs to be reliable, as you’ll be out on the water for a considerable amount of time.
Can a sailboat be used for the Great Loop?
Yes, a sailboat can be used for the Great Loop, but there are specific challenges to consider. The mast height must be able to clear a 19-foot bridge, which might require a collapsible mast. Also, many parts of the Great Loop are better suited for powerboats, so a motor-sailer could be a more fitting option.
How big of a boat do I need to travel the Great Loop?
Boats as small as 25 feet have successfully navigated the Great Loop. However, for optimal comfort and amenities, a boat between 34 to 45 feet is often recommended. Keep in mind that larger boats may face more restrictions in terms of where they can moor and the depth of waters they can access.
The Great Loop is a popular and exciting route for boaters, but not all boats are up to the challenge. When shopping for a boat, look for one that is the right size and design, has good fuel efficiency and range, and is comfortable and well-equipped. Make sure to factor in costs like insurance and potential repairs, and you’ll be ready to hit the open water.