Call them pocket-trawlers or mini/pocket-tugs, the North Pacific Yachts 28’ Pilothouse, Nordic Tugs 26, Ranger Tugs 25SC, Minor Offshore 25, and Rosborough RF-246 have hardiness and efficiency in common.
The terms “pocket trawler” and “pocket tug” don’t really have precise definitions, yet both connote a small, salty vessel that’s probably a jack-of-all-trades and won’t break the bank. In that sense, the labels work, and in this article we take a look at five popular pocket trawlers to consider if you’re looking for a capable small cruiser under 30 feet.
Editor’s Note — This is a preview of a longer piece I wrote for Yachtworld.com. I write a monthly boat review for Yachtworld/Boats.com. The sites have a large, and growing collection of features, mostly written by dedicated marine journalists (like me!). The full article at Yachtworld has more detail about the boats, specs, prices and photos.
Nordic Tugs 26
The rejuvenation of Nordic Tugs 26production three years ago was cause for celebration among the Nordic Tugs faithful. First introduced more than 30 years ago and withdrawn in 1997, its 2011 incarnation features a smart Cummins QSD 115-hp diesel and has a range of about 150 NM on its 75 gallons of fuel, cruising at 8 knots. Top speed is about 14 knots.
North Pacific Yachts 28 Pilothouse
The North Pacific Yachts 28is the smallest boat in the company’s lineup, and it carries on the philosophy of providing maximum value for the dollar. Built from a new hull design by Karl Stambaugh at an experienced yard in China and well-equipped right off the delivery ship, a new 28 will run you about $177,500. The only thing you need to add to that base configuration is electronics. The boat comes standard with a single 150-hp Cummins QSD diesel, bow thruster, windlass with anchor, chain, and rope rode, raw water washdown, teak and holly floor and hand-rubbed teak paneling and cabinetry. All the sliding windows have screens, and curtains are even provided.
Ranger Tugs 25SC
In 2010, Ranger Tugs modified the design of its popular 25SCto increase the size of the cockpit (“Sport Cockpit”), but taking some room out of the deckhouse. It was a good idea because it makes the cockpit truly useful now and ensures good access to the standard Yanmar 150 -hp diesel. The R25 has always been one of the most popular of the Ranger Tugs line. Its classic “tiny tug” lines draw visitors at the dock, and the company insists on a high level of standard equipment.
Minor Offshore 25
Finland has a generations-old tradition of producing hardy, all-weather and all-season cruising boats. Two of these brands are now available in the United States; the Nord Star line and Minor Offshore boats. (See our recent reviews of the Nord Star 26 and the Nord Star 31.) For this roundup we chose the new Minor Offshore 25.
The Minor Offshore brand is imported to the U.S. by Skarne Marine, in Milford, CT. The look of these boats isn’t so much tugboat as it is military or government patrol boat. In fact, many are sold for just those purposes. But they work as a great all-weather cruising boat for a couple or a small family, too. The 25 has a fully enclosed pilothouse, wide sidedecks, a decently sized cockpit, and a huge swim platform.
Rosborough is a family company, headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that builds a feature-packed cruiser for the rough North Atlantic waters that the company’s government and military customers operate in. Interestingly, Roseborough’s RF-246 sedan-style cruiser (also available in a Custom Wheelhouse configuration) can be powered by either outboards or a sterndrive. The hull features a full-length 9” keel for directional stability. The beam is 8’ 6” and the overall length is 25’.
To see all the specs, more details about the boats, as well as some photos, see my original piece on Yachtworld here.
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