This category of cruising boats goes by several names these days: pocket trawlers, trailerable tugs, SUVs. Whatever you want to call them, they represent one of the hottest segments of the new boat market and one that has managed to keep selling, albeit at a much slower rate, during the current economic typhoon. That may be due in part to their tremendous versatility, embodied perfectly by the Ranger Tugs 29. The R-29 is the flagship of the family-owned and run Ranger Tugs, at least for now, and it offers a great deal of flexibility for a couple or family that wants to be able to move from cruising area to cruising area without breaking the bank (or the boat). Both the R-25 and R-29 were designed by company President John Livingston and his father, the renowned designer Dave Livingston, based on more than 50 years of experience in the business.
Although the R-29 has a beam of 10 feet, some 18 inches over the limit for permit-less trailering, its moderate air draft and weight, combined with simple, internet-based wide-load trailer permitting, means it can be moved virtually anywhere you want to cruise. “It can be as simple as logging onto www.wideloadpermits.com ” according to Ranger Tugs Director of Marketing and Sales Jeff Messmer. The boat has an air draft (height) on a trailer of 13 feet 2 inches, which is safely less than the normal highway limit of 13′- 7″. Messmer suggests customers considering a “trailerable” trawler carefully inspect air draft specs to ensure that major dismantling of superstructure isn’t necessary. He says that the low height of the 29 allows them to ship all over the country using a simple tow-behind delivery company. A typical delivery from the Seattle area to Florida will cost less than $5,000, says Messmer. The same advantage accrues to customers who want to take the boat themselves. EZ Loader has a trailer for the R-29 already and Float-On is expected to have one shortly. The EZ Loader model is a slightly modified TIEZ102B 29-31, rated at 15,500 lbs.
There are other unique qualities to the Ranger Tugs 29. For example, the main deck, including the salon is on one level. You step over the threshold and into the salon and it’s one level all the way forward to the helm. Messmer says that many of his customers do not want to be stepping up and down all the time and so the main deck house was designed with a single level. The R-29 features 6’5″ of head room in the salon, with 6’3″ in the forward berth. Messmer says that Ranger tugs customers don’t like crawling into a vee-berth so by widening the hull beam to 10 feet Ranger Tugs was able to install an angled island berth. The quarter berth space aft can accommodate a couple, as well.
Ranger Tugs feels the R-29 will appeal to many boaters moving down in size. They compare the interior of their boat to the Nordic Tugs 32 and point out that the R-29 has about six items on its option list, as opposed to several pages for the Nordic Tugs 32 – the Ranger company philosophy is to simply include as standard the items most people end up ordering anyway. On the R-29, these include the mast, transom shower, propane stove and oven, microwave, windlass, bow and stern thrusters, wine cooler and inverter. The only major options left to choose are those involving heat and air conditioning — typically different choices between east and west-coast boaters, and electronics. Northwest boats typically order diesel heating and east coasters typically order the factory’s two-zone air conditioning with a 4 kW Mase generator. The a/c option includes a 16K BTU unit for the salon and a 10K BTU unit for the fwd stateroom. Factory installed optional electronics are from Garmin; the dash is large enough to handle the big new Garmin 5215 15″ display. It’s about $15K for the full Garmin package with autopilot. We wrote extensively about Garmin’s latest offerings in our series about outfitting the new Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition here.
Ranger Tugs has spent a great deal of time and money optimizing the design for construction and maintenance. The industrial design accomplishments at the company’s Kent and Monroe, Washington, plants have helped keep the price of the Ranger Tugs well below some of the competition. The R-29 is built in three major components, with work on each accomplished at technician’s eye level. The solid fiberglass hull, the deck and house, and an all-fiberglass stringer system are assembled and bonded, with the stringers injected with foam around the engine room for sound-deadening purposes.
The 29 has a hard chine bottom with a single keel, and all of the major tanks are down the center of the boat to reduce the possibility of listing when fuel and water loads are uneven. The engine is a Yanmar 6BY2-260, producing 260 HP. This is a six cylinder, common rail diesel with a NMEA 2000 – compatible CANBus, wo all the information you want can be displayed on virtually any NMEA-2000 compatible unit. Ranger Tugs outfits the helm with a single-lever control for the engine and transmission.
Overall length on the boat is 33′ with the 4′ swimstep included. With a beam of 10′ and a weight of about 9,250 pounds, the boat only draws 28 inches of water. The fuel tanks (main and aux) will hold 120 and 30 gallons, respectively, and there is a 70 gallon water tank and a 40 gallon holding tank.
As if all this isn’t compelling enough to take a hard look at the Ranger Tugs 29, consider the price for this extraordinarily well-equipped boat: $199K. That’s easily $50K – $100K less than you would expect, based on prices of roughly similar boats in the market.
We’ve got all the detailed information on the Ranger Tugs 29 here in a couple of brochures:
Check out the Image Gallery here.
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