Coming in first on our list is the relatively new Aspen C108 Power Catamarans. Lately, catamarans have become an increasingly popular choice to tackle the great loop, and the C108 is no exception. A relatively small craft, the C108 packs a lot of space into a little package. With three private cabins, a 12 ft long galley and a master suite complete with a king-sized bed, the C108 is unparallel when compared to vessels with a similar length and power. Couple that with twin outboard engines, the C108 has a 303 mile range at 22 and an impressive 842 mile range at trolling speed. All that while still being small enough to be considered a trailerable boat — so once you are wrapped up with the loop, you can haul it back home for some nearby adventures.
Tiara Sport 43 LE
Luxury interiors and the Tiara brand go hand-in-hand, and that is no exception with the first in its series 43 LE. With an expandable deck, the 43 LE is the perfect yacht to tackle the great loop and enjoy the stops along the way — with ample room to socialize on the aft deck and in the bow chaise lounge. Two private cabins are housed below deck — a queen island berth and a mid-cabin double berth. Not as much sleeping space as the aforementioned vessel, but with a triple Mercury Racing or Yamaha outboard engine combination, what you sacrifice in space, you gain in speed.
Marlow 70E MK II
Go big or go home. The Marlow 70E is more than just a great loop capable vessel, it is a full blown live aboard with options found in your neighborhood home. It comes complete with an enclosed command bridge, aft deck, crew quarters, command bridge deck, full salon and galley and four private cabins — including a full master suite. The galley even comes with a full island that is equipped with extra refrigeration and storage. Folks will undoubtably get sticker shock when pricing out this yacht, but for those that are looking for a multi-purpose live aboard as your main dwelling quarters — and one that can take some time to dock in various locations — this just may be a great investment.
Sabre 38 SE (Salon Express)
One word can sum up the Sabre brand: reliability. With an unmistakable trawler hull design, the Sabre 38 SE provides ease of functionality — with joystick controls and pod drives — along with accessible handrails throughout to make navigating the deck a breeze. The cockpit couples as a command bridge and a roomy salon for day outings. The master berth below deck provides abundant sleeping room, along with a full dinette, shower, toilet and salon seating. 2 volvo penta inboard engines provide a quiet and fuel-efficient ride — coupled with a seaworthy hull to tackle the Gulf and Atlantic Intracoastal Waterways.
Back Cove 41
Similar to the Sabre 38, the Back Cove 41 features a classic trawler hull design — making it a great option for all sections of the great loop. Where the Back Cove really shines is in the galley options. Refrigeration can be a bit small, and for those doing long range cruises, that can be a problem for any perishable items. The Back Cove features dual stainless steel refrigerator drawers, a freezer mounted below the helm seat, a ceramic cooktop and a convection microwave. Below deck features two private sleeping quarters — each containing a queen bed option and separate bathrooms. Powered by Volvo Penta or Cummins single diesel engines — the inclusion of thrusters, a generator set, reverse cycle heat and air conditioning systems make this a maneuverable, efficient and comfortable yacht.
It is rare to include a brand-new company on one of these lists — without the decade plus consumer testing that others have gone through — but with esteemed naval architect Howard Apollonio behind the design of the aptly named Apollonian 52, it is a no-brainer. Where this yacht outperforms some others is in the amount of detail and craftmanship that is included — all the while being affordable. At 52’, the Apollonian can fit into most 50’ slips. Twin Cummins 425 HP inboard engines have a range of 447 nautical miles with a 10% fuel reserve. The raised pilot house allows for ample space in the galley — with a full-sized refrigerator — and 3 separate sleeping quarters below deck. Along with 2 separate showers accompanying the cabin deck, there is also a main deck day-head for the pilot and guests aboard. Along with the 52, the Apollonian Yacht series will eventually include 48, 58 and 62’ options.