John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Ranger Tug R31, Boat Review
JULY 2013
 
   
Length 31' 2"
Beam  10'
Draft  28"
Engine Volvo 300hp D4
Fuel 180 gal
Water 80 gal
Price as Tested $311,827


I always look forward to test driving a Ranger Tug. It is no secret that pocket cruisers have a special place in my heart and nobody does trailerable tug yachts better than Ranger. Having had an opportunity to test many of their models over the years, I have watched their product line grow and evolve. The new Ranger Tug R-31 is the current queen of the fleet and shares many of the features of her sister ships but with several new and innovative features including pop-out cockpit seats, a flip-up bow seat and panographic windshield wipers.

To me, the concept of a trailerable tug is ideal for cruisers with limited time. You get the efficiency of a displacement trawler, the speed of a fast trawler, adequate and comfortable accommodation space and you spend much less money on dockage and marina services than you would with a larger boat. They are also simple to operate and not as intimidating to dock for most boaters. More importantly, these compact trawlers offer something many ignore; that is the gift of time. In today’s fast-paced and hectic world, we need time to decompress and getting out on the water for a couple of hours or for days is the best medicine I know of. I would not think twice about popping down to the marina to take this boat out for a quick boat ride, nor would I hesitate to take it on a several month Great Loop cruise. Not only does the Ranger 31 offer a great get-away plan, it requires less time to learn and maintain than larger trawlers which have extensive systems onboard.

Being trailerable also gives you many more options to haul out and launch the boat even if you don’t personally own a tow vehicle. Transporting the boat to another cruising ground such as a lake or even another coast is as simple as having the boat transported over land or towing it yourself.

Ranger packs all of this convenience and capability into 31 feet. To make this happen without giving up the creature comforts of larger trawlers requires a great deal of engineering and innovation.

I met up with the dealer, Mark Schulstad from Pocket Yacht Company to review the R-31 on a beautiful spring day this past May. When I first saw the 31 from the dock, I was reminded of how much thought and consideration goes into every detail of Rangers. From the placement of mooring cleats to the placement of cup holders to the quality of the hardware, you can tell that these boats are put together by folks who are passionate about their jobs.

Down below, the R-31 offers sleeping accommodations for four in two double bunks plus two more on a convertible dinette bunk. The helm station is to starboard and has excellent visibility. The R-31 can be equipped with an optional flying bridge. Underway, she performed well. Standard bow and stern thrusters make docking straight forward.

At the end of my test ride I was sad to return this little tug to the marina. I was tempted to point her down the ICW and disappear.