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 Tugs R-27, Boat Review
Length (hull)  27' 1"
Beam  8' 6"
Draft  26"
Weight, Dry 6,200 lb
Fuel 100 gal   Water 40 gal
Price as Tested $159,937

I had just completed a two-week Intracoastal Waterway delivery aboard a 54-foot trawler when I got the chance to review the Ranger Tug R27. This 27-foot trailerable tug is quite a departure from that big trawler and I was eager to drive these boats back-to-back. While coming up the ICW, I passed so many little nooks and crannies that I wanted to explore and spend the night anchored in, but we just could not fit due to our length and draft.

Having reviewed several pocket cruisers over the years, I have really come to appreciate the ingenuity involved with the fitting all the necessities and most of the comforts of a larger cruising yacht into a more compact and trailerable package. It challenges the designer to be efficient with space and weight as well as hull form and engine placement. All of this must be done while maintaining an attractive look and quiet, comfortable ride. When done right you end up with an efficient cruising boat that is convenient enough to take out for an hour-long sunset harbor cruise yet capable of a week-long cruise of the Bay. Pocket cruisers also have the advantage of economy as they can be maintained and operated for a fraction of the cost of a full size trawler.

In this category nobody does it better than Ranger Tugs and their sister company Cutwater Boats. This family owned company has been building boats in Washington State since the late 1950’s and has a reputation for quality and excellent customer service. They have come to specialize in the compact cruiser market with the Ranger Tug line and the more sporty Cutwater line.

On the day of my test ride, it was overcast, breezy and choppy as I headed over to Chesapeake Ranger Tugs to review the R27. Having reviewed the Ranger 29 and a Cutwater on calm days, I was thrilled that I was going to get the chance to try the R27 in choppy conditions.

With 20 knots of wind and a 2-3 foot chop running in the mouth of the Chester River I made test runs up, down and across wind and sea and found that I barely had to keep my hand on the wheel. The R27 held her course well and did not bob around as I expected it would. The ride was surprisingly smooth, steady, quiet and comfortable at various speeds and angles despite my best efforts to trip her up. The fuel economy was also consistent over a wide range of speeds indicating that she is a very well balanced boat that has been not only well-designed from a creature comfort and aesthetic point of view but also has the engineering to back it up.

The R27 offers the comfort and fuel economy of a big trawler in a smaller package that also gives cruisers the option of going faster, getting into many more anchorages and marinas and leaving you with more cruising options. All this in a trailerable package that can cruise the Chesapeake Bay on one day and the Great Lakes the next.