Minor Offshore boats

Five Pocket Trawlers for Consideration

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 First introduced more than 30 years ago and withdrawn in 1997, its 2011 incarnation features a smart Cummins QSD 115-hp diesel and has a range of about 150 NM on its 75 gallons of fuel, cruising at 8 knots.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 RF-246

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.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Powerboats

Minor Offshore has a New 28′ Cruiser

Minor Offshore 28 Pilothouse Family Cruiser

Minor Offshore 28 Pilothouse Family Cruiser

The Minor Offshore brand of Finland-built patrol/cruiser boats has introduced a new 28′ model that strikes a good balance between affordability and size — all packaged in a hardy, family-ready cruising boat.  Represented in the U.S. by Skarne Marine, of Milford, Connecticut, the Minor Offshore boats could eventually become major players in the small-to-mid-size cruising market.  These are tough, seaworthy boats meant to be used and they’re built to be economical to operate and maintain.

Minor Offshore 28 Pilothouse Family Cruiser. Interior Looking Forward.

Minor Offshore 28 Pilothouse Family Cruiser. Interior Looking Forward.

The 28 features two cozy, double cabins and an enclosed head compartment.  There is a compact galley with a two-burner stove and sink with hot and cold water.  There are some nice standard features on this boat, including a bow thruster, which will be helpful to those who aren’t proficient yet with a sterndrive around the docks. A Raymarine C120W chartplotter is also standard, along with power trim assist, interval wipers, remote-controlled searchlight, auto trimtabls, defroster, stainless steel keel protection, adjustable passenger seat and teak interior.

Minor Offshore 28 Pilothouse Family Cruiser.  Interior Seen Through Sunroof.

Minor Offshore 28 Pilothouse Family Cruiser. Interior Seen Through Sunroof.

I really like the sunroof on these boats; mainly for the way they open up the interiors and offer abundant fresh air from a source up and away from any incidental spray.  Another thing to note is the kind of utilitarian detail on these boats.  The rubrail, for example, is a beefy, thick rubber that runs around the entire boat.  These boat builders understand that in the real world, boats bump into things — docks, pilings, other boats — and as pretty as a nice stainless insert is, it’s gonna get scratched, and worse, scratch whatever it hits.  This kind of practicality seems to be a feature of the Nordic-built boats I’ve reviewed lately.

Minor Offshore 28 Pilothouse Family Cruiser at the Dock. Note Rubrail Visible at Transom

Minor Offshore 28 Pilothouse Family Cruiser at the Dock. Note Rubrail Visible at Transom

These are all diesel-powered boats, using Volvo engines.  The 28 comes with a D4-260 Duoprop as the standard engine, but can handle up to a D6-370 single, or twin D3-220s.  The base engine will still drive the boat to 30 knots and at a 25-knot cruise should still get nearly 3 nmpg.  With 83 gallons of fuel aboard, you could cruise for days on a typical trip around coastal waters without having to refuel.  As with all sterndrives, you need to learn how to use thrust from the Duoprop to help you in a turn; the drive unit itself being something of an undersized stand-alone rudder.  The standard bow thruster will serve as a set of suspenders while you learn how to use your belt.

Running Shot of Minor Offshore 28 Pilothouse Family Cruiser.

Running Shot of Minor Offshore 28 Pilothouse Family Cruiser.

The Sarin family, has been building boats for three generations now in the Ostrobothnia region of Finland. The Minor Offshore line is considered an all-season line by its builder. I suppose with short summers and long, dark seasons, that would be a necessity.  I didn’t look the word up in a Finnish dictionary to be sure, but the company claims the “Minor” name of the line comes from the family’s humility. They are clearly NOT minor boats, and are certified to the CE offshore B standard, which is just plain nasty weather — a sea state of waves up to 4 meters and wind of 40 knots.

(An aside here — the actual CE Category B refers to the Beaufort Scale number of 8, which is a full gale of 40 knots, and also refers to a wave height of up to 4 meters. Curiously, the Beaufort Scale suggests that wave heights at a wind speed of 40 knots could be from 5.5 meters up to 7.5 meters, about 25 ft.  So the CE category standard refers to a sea state that is actually lower than what is expected at the standard’s wind speed.  Odd.)

I like the idea of a steel-reinforced keel; it would likely come in handy in my rocky-bottom home waters of Long Island Sound.

We’ll be testing the Minor Offshore line as soon as the weather warms up enough here in New England to splash the boats.  In the meantime, check out the Skarne Marine website and take a gander at the specs.

Minor Offshore 28

Length over all 27.1 ft Engine rec. (single) 225-370 hp
Hull length 25.2 ft Engine rec. (twin) 340-440 hp
Beam 9.4 ft Top speed range 30-42 kn
Draft 3.1 ft Fuel consumption (25 knots) 0.27 gal/nm (est.)
Displacement 3.52 tons Maximum cruising range/time 305 nm/12.2h
Overall height 12.9 ft Maximum load 2204 lbs
Height above WL 9.8 ft Ce category B-Offshore
No. of cabin seats 6 Base Price (excl. shipping)  —  $190,881.
Berths 4 Est. Shipping and import duties — approx. $12K
Fuel tank 83.15 gal  
Water tank 26.4 gal  
Septic tank 10.5 gal  
Battery 2×100 Ah


Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Powerboats