Ranger Tugs introduced the 29-foot model of their popular tug boat-style pleasure craft in January of 2009, and the company that’s known for offering a safe, stable vessel with generous creature comforts has remained true to its tradition of offering more than you’d expect. The 29, of which there are 90-some sold to date, is trailerable (with a permit & wide load signs) on a 15,000lb EZ-Loader trailer and therefore can be driven to any launch facility in North, Central or South America to begin its adventure.
In its Ranger Tugs series (the line’s parent company, Fluid Motion, also builds the new Cutwater line of boats), current models include the 21’, 25’ and 27’ models in addition to this one. We thought we’d review the R-29 since we’ve been aboard that model, and it’s been available long enough for it to achieve a positive track record now.
The Ranger Tug 29 is not only the largest vessel in the line, but it is also the best equipped. Yacht buyers who are looking for a boat that won’t require much in the commissioning process will be attracted to the fact that the R29 comes with a complete navigation package, bow and stern thrusters (overkill, some may say; but not the pampered skipper who has them at his fingertips in a beam wind), a hinged mast (critical to achieve bridge clearance in most areas of the country; both on water and on land), comfortable helm/navigator seating and more. Options include enhanced navigation packages, a diesel generator, auto helm, air conditioning and a Kyocera solar panel to provide 12V power to certain onboard plug-in devices and to charge/assist in charging the house batteries.
Boarding via the comfortable transom gate in the R-29’s cockpit, one immediately notices the boat’s fit and finish. There seem to be molded in steps, storage units and hatch doors everywhere they should (and can) be. There is a fiberglass cabinet with sink and a large basin at midships facing astern, and two sets of stairs (port and starboard) that make ascending to the upper deck and side decks easy. The cockpit floor is tastefully covered in teak, and the tops of some major fixtures are upholstered in a UV-resistant fabric. The swim platform is large and has excellent stainless rail works; it’s larger and more plush than I’ve experienced on much larger boats. there is a bimini-style top that completely covers the cockpit area in the event you want shelter from the weather. Even before entering the house, you have the impression that Ranger Tugs didn’t skimp in seeing to the owner’s luxuries.
A huge lazzarette/engine compartment door is in the cockpit floor (the hatch is larger than some 40-footers), and can be effortlessly raised and lowered via an electric ram from the electric control center just inside the house. Access to the sea cock and other vital equipment is located here. Beneath the lazzarette door, and to forward, sits the Yanmar 260hp 6BY2 engine, the propulsion system that gives the R-29 a top speed of about 15 knots. Serving the regular maintenance needs of the 6BY2 and doing pre-start engine checks is simple and straight forward. This power plant, made in Sweden, has a top-notch and well-earned reputation for reliability and long life. The main fuel tank holds 120 gallons of fuel, and there’s a 30 gallon auxillary tank available. All of the boat’s systems are installed by professionals, as if they and their families would be relying on the systems themselves. I couldn’t spot a single wire, circuit breaker or other such item that was left unsecured or not labled.
Enter the salon through the all-glass cockpit door, and the luxury appointments of the Ranger Tugs R-29 are apparent. Immediately inside, you have the well-equipped galley to starboard and the entrance to a guest stateroom (that’s right, there are two sleeping quarters aboard) to port and down two steps. This creative space is located beneath the dinette, and offers a double bed, reading lamps, and privacy for guests (complete with a door!). On the bulkhead you must pass to reach the guest cabin, you’ll find electronic circuit boards and control panels, the lazzarrette electric ram switch, as well a monitor panels for the boat’s tankage. Though it’d be nice to have these nearer the helm, the area designers chose for their electronic control center is central to all areas of the boat and easy to access.
One characteristic of the R-29 that I appreciated, was that nothing aboard was “boxy”. The designers went to the trouble to contour and angle edges that might have been left straight, and the result has been a true ‘designer’ yacht. The dinette and galley areas are good examples of this, with the settees and table (and deck below, which has three different levels) presented in an aesthetically pleasing crescent design, and the asymmetrical galley set up with everything at easy reach, but little of the squared-off look found in other boats. Whether enjoying this boat yourself or entertaining guests, you’ll have a sense of being surrounded by carefully planned elegance.
The galley has two sinks (a luxury one cannot measure until comparing a single sink with the functionality of two), an oven beneath the range, a fridge located conveniently just behind the helm (and across from the navigator’s seat), a microwave in the port side aft dinette seat pedestal, a wine storage fridge (!) in the forward seat pedestal and ample teak-faced cabinetry down below for storage. Ranger Tugs has made use of the above counter space too, and while avoiding blocking your view out the large, abundant windows, has designed in several levels of storage here … including a long elevated rack with it’s own stainless rail that’s perfect for jars and cans, etc. The same wooden flooring warms the interior while the walls of the salon are done a rich teak veneer. Overhead, the ceiling is covered in a nice fabric throughout, quality LED lighting is spaced generously and opening overhead hatches and Ranger Tugs’ signature portholes add to the light and ventilation of the space.
The spaciousness of the salon at mealtime is accomplished by folding the helm chair forward (thereby rendering it not useable) and reversing the navigator’s seat to become one of the dinette settees. Assuming you aren’t underway while your mate prepares a meal, this works well, and if you are, some of the counter space in the galley can be forfeited with the helm seat in place.
Moving forward, the helm is a well-thought-out space as well, obviously planned out by a yachtsman. The helm seat (which folds up to make room for a more spacious galley) is comfortably cushioned and positioned ideally for piloting the boat. Visibility is excellent. A stainless steel foot rest (with a rubber pad) serves the skipper (and another is at the adjacent door), and everything he/she needs is close at hand. The wheel is a destroyer type affair with a burl wood (like) treatment to its grip surface … nice to handle, especially with the hydraulic steering. On the lower dash in front of you is the VHF radio and switch panel, and on the upper dash are the control heads for the auto-helm and other devices you choose to install. To the left is your MFD (multi-function display) and, mounted next to your seat (to the right) is your engine throttle control and joysticks for the R29’s bow and stern thrusters. The starboard side, all glass door is at the helm, and it makes for good ventilation and communion with the sea and salt air.
The navigator’s seat, a comfortable double-wide affair that looks an awful lot like one of the dining settees (it IS the forward settee, in reversed form) sits “up” to port. There’s a navigator’s chart/cocktail table attached to the forward bulkhead that folds down into a convenient position. Both helm and navigator positions have access to their respective sides of the chart tables above the forward bulkhead and the overhead cabinetry, as well as the flat screen television that folds up into the helm’s overhead cabinetry and is ideally positioned for viewing from the dinette and galley areas. Once again, there are molded, fiberglass (and gel-coated) foot rests at both the helm and navigator’s seats.
Step forward, down two steps and through the folding wooden doors, and you’re in the main sleeping quarters. or should I say “the master’s cabin”. Immediately to port is a well-appointed head that features a midsized toilet, a sink in a granite counter material, an outlet, a medicine cabinet, and a nice wall-mounted stainless shower system, with detachable nozzle if desired. Masters at space usage, the designers at Ranger Tugs put one of those narrow shelves, made from the same granite as the counter and with the stainless rail, along the wall above the sink. Another convenient, stainless-railed counter space sits behind the toilet. With the upper above-sink wall mirrored, the space feels like one you’d find on a much larger yacht. The head is ventilated through it’s roof with a hatch that opens onto a corner of the cabin riser.
The sleeper is roomy and well lit, with finished storage beneath the bed (remove cushions) and a hanging locker abaft the bed. Another small locker, done in the same rich teak seen throughout the boat, sits on the port side. An overhead escape hatch/vent/sunroof compliments the room. A stereo system, separate from the salon’s, is mounted near the flat screen TV on the panel in front of the bed. Speakers for the sound system and two reading lights are mounted in a wooden panel above the bed.
Ranger Tugs compares the space and livability of this 29’ yacht to that of a 40-footer. I sure agree that the boat feels bigger than it is, especially in certain areas. I think the Ranger Tugs designers have found a place for all the creature comforts one could hope for in a boat this size, or larger, and that was no easy task without the boat looking and feeling “too busy”.
R-29 – Specifications
|Length Overall||29′ 0″||8.9 m|
|Length w/swim step||33′ 0″||10.06 m|
|Beam||10′ 0″||3.05 m|
|Weight, Dry||9,250 lbs||4196 kg|
|Water Capacity||70 gals.||265 ltrs|
|Holding Tank Capacity||40 gals.||151 ltrs|
|Fuel Capacity (Main tank)||120 gals.||454 ltrs|
|Fuel Capacity (Auxiliary tank)||30 gals||114 ltrs|
|Height on Trailer||13′ 2″||4.03 m|
Topside, the thoughtful planning continues, with a nice flush deck forward that includes an attractive (stainless) windlass with foot pedal controls and a switch at the helm. Those visiting the forward deck are protected by high stainless railings and there’s adequate room for sitting (especially on the starboard side) on the cabin riser for the sleeper. The roof features a rack system for water toys, kayaks or bicycles.
Ranger Tugs has built a superior boat in the R-29. Initial demand from the compact yacht community has been strong, and we think it will just get stronger. The yacht is a stunner folks, so you may wish to be prepared with a purchase deposit (the R29 is currently priced at $230,000 + options) if you make an appointment to see it.
Photos courtesy of mftrs. website: www.rangertugs.com