By Matt Claiborne
Fast Trawlers and Downeasts
Tug Style Trawlers
Cruisers and Motor Yachts
The Boat You’ve Got
The classic trawler is basically the power version of a sailboat–slow-moving, heavy, and economical to operate. The design is time-tested–they are good-looking and seaworthy. Plus, you can readily find them on the used market for reasonable prices. Most have a maximum speed of about 10 knots.
Thanks to their improved hull design, they’re capable of faster speeds but use a lot of gas going fast. The best thing about them is probably the simple fact that they can do both comfortably–go slowly and economically or cruise faster (about 15 knots) while still giving a nice ride.
What was once a unique niche in the boating world has caught on, and quite a few companies are now making tugboat-looking trawlers. They’re sportier than the traditional trawler and have an aesthetic that looks right at home on the rivers of the Great Loop.
A cruiser is built on a planing hull to go faster. That means more miles per day, fewer nights at anchor, and more fuel consumption while doing it. There are many sizes and styles that are appropriate for the Loop, so the key is to find the layout that is most comfortable for you.
Power catamarans are popular for the same reason that sail cats are. Thanks to their increased interior volume, two hulls make for a more comfortable living space. Your beam should be less than 23 feet, as the Trent Severn Waterway in Canada limits this.
Finally, it has to be mentioned that the best boat is always the boat you’ve got. Lin and Larry Pardey once famously said, “Go small, and go now.” If the Loop is on your bucket list, it’s better to find a boat you can get your hands on that will suit you well enough to travel and enjoy the ride.