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-29, Boat Review
Length overall  29'
Beam  10'
Draft  2'4"
Displ. 9,250 lb
Fuel 150 gal   Water 70 gal
Price as Tested $224,937

A strange thing has been happening to me in the past few years. While most folks interested in the cruising lifestyle seem increasingly fixated on ever larger and heavier cruising yachts that offer all of the comforts of home, I have been more attracted to small boats that are just big enough to carry me and my family comfortably to the countless cruising destinations on the Bay and beyond

Pocket cruiser is a term that refers to a compact (usually trailerable) sailboat that packs a lot of amenities into a relatively small but capable cruising hull. While they have been around for a long time in the sailboat world, the concept seems to be just now coming of age for the powerboating market. Ranger Tugs is at the forefront of this growing niche.

This past summer I was delighted when I got the chance to take a test ride on a Ranger Tug, a boat I have been admiring for several years at various boat shows. Ranger Tugs is a family-owned company that has been building boats in the Pacific Northwest since 1958. Their corporate philosophy of "doing things right" is evident in both the common sense simplicity of their design and the quality construction of their boats.

I joined Chuck Wistar of Chesapeake Ranger Tugs to review the R-29 and go for a spin on the Severn River. The R-29 packs a lot of big boat features into 29 feet. Beginning aft, the swim platform is equipped with permanent fenders and D-rings to accommodate dinghies and anything else you may need to secure. A transom door leads into the cockpit area, which is equipped with a transom sink and hot-and-cold shower. Access to the engine space and other critical systems is through large hatches in the cockpit area.

The cabin of the R-29 offers a stateroom forward, a galley area, a convertible dinette (which creates a second stateroom) and a helm station. Ranger has done a great job of creating functional space that does not feel cramped but offers cruisers everything they need to cruise in comfort. The galley is to starboard and has a propane stove, a double sink and a microwave oven. The helm seat folds forward to add extra counter space when you're not underway.

Forward of the galley on the starboard side is the helm station, which offers excellent visibility and access to the starboard side deck via a sliding door. The throttle control slides out of the way of the door making it easy for the skipper to transition from maneuvering to line handling.

To port, the three-way convertible dinette can be a dining table or a double bunk, and you can also reverse its normally aft-facing forward seat so that it faces ahead, allowing a passenger (or crew mate) to "co-pilot" with the captain while underway.Both staterooms have closing doors and double bunks. The single head (with shower compartment) is forward and adequate.

Underway the R-29 was very maneuverable both at the dock and out on the river. The standard bow and stern thrusters made docking easy. She came up on plane quickly and was a pleasure to drive. Engine noise was muffled, and I could easily carry on a conversation at a normal volume while underway.

The R-29 is an ideal boat for the cruiser who's interested in a capable, nimble, potentially trailerable cruiser. It offers the amenities of a larger trawler at a fraction of the price and with greater versatility.