2011 Ranger R21-EC Tug

Reviewed by Richard Crowder

Ranger Tug EC21 Running

You say you’re looking for something a little bit different – a little out of the ordinary – a cuddy cabin day cruiser/overnighter that will stand out from all the others. Well simply look no further. The Ranger R21-EC, inspired by a traditional Bristol Bay trawler design may well be your answer.

But the R21-EC, or any of the Ranger Tug designs for that matter, is not about simply standing out from the crowd. It is about practicality and efficiency and the pure enjoyment that those attributes bring to boating. Designed and built in the United States’ northwest State of Washington, Ranger Tugs offer design elements that have become a trademark of Pacific Northwest pleasure boat design over the years; protection from the elements by incorporating a fully enclosed stand-up wheelhouse cabin with lots of windows, a hardtop and a solid sedan bulkhead and with a reasonably large, open rear cockpit.

But these same design elements, although not having proved particularly popular over these many years throughout the rest of North America, are really incredibly practical, especially in the weather-shortened pleasure boating season found in most of Canada. They may not be “sexy” design elements in the minds of most, but practical they are. So if practicality and efficiency are your cup of tea, then a Ranger Tug could very well be your answer. And every one of them are so cute and good looking too!

In business for over fifty years, Ranger Tugs’ President, John Livingston, has boating in his blood as his father, Dave Livingston, who spends time with John at the factory, has been responsible for probably more pleasure boat designs for more big name manufacturers over the past number of decades than any other single boat designer in the world. They have both spent countless hours cruising and fishing the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada their whole lives and bring this vast experience to their boatbuilding.

There are four models of Ranger Tugs; this R21-EC, a 25, a 27, and a 29. All are meant to be trailerable, the smaller three being on an 8’6” (or less) legally trailerable beam, the 29 being on a ten-foot beam requiring a permit to trailer. All four models look roughly the same from any angle - like a traditional tugboat, with a tall enclosed pilothouse with huge windows on three sides located relatively forward in the boat, and a relatively very high prow sloping down gracefully toward the low freeboard of the rounded stern, finished neatly with a swim platform.

The fibreglass cockpit of the R21-EC (the “EC” referring to the new Extended Cabin design) accounts for almost exactly half of the length of the entire boat providing ample opportunity to be outside enjoying any available beautiful weather and open air. Full width, padded bench seating is provided across the stern and cushions for extra seating are also provided for atop the centre cockpit insulated motor box. Add any one of several factory Sunbrella™ covering options to shade, protect, or fully enclose this space.

The pilothouse area of the cabin is pretty small and designed strictly for two persons with the helm to starboard immediately forward of the refrigerator and a passenger seat with footrest to port just ahead of the standard galley with sink, pressure water, and single-burner stove. A comfortable and roomy-looking V-berth with centre-mounted porta-potti is a couple of steps below and forward.

The R21-EC with its new cabin design that’s eighteen inches longer and seven inches wider for all the world looks like a real tugboat with its four brass opening portlights, five huge pilothouse windows, the side two of which are opening with screens and the forward three each have windshield wipers, a forward anchor roller, high stainless rails surrounding the entire boat, and a roof-mounted remote spotlight, navigation lights, and the over four-foot stainless steel hinged mast. This rooftop also has two opening screened hatches. There’s another opening screened hatch over the V-berth.

All Ranger Tugs are inboard diesel drive and are designed with a semi-displacement hull to allow each boat to climb somewhat onto plane and therefore achieve speeds greater than a full displacement hull would allow. But we’re not talking breakneck speed here at all. This is not a boat for dedicated watersports enthusiasts. The R21-EC is for gentle, relaxed, efficient, weather-protected cruising with its 3-cylinder, 30 horsepower, freshwater-cooled Yanmar diesel straight-drive inboard engine turning a single 4-blade bronze propeller with the classy and traditional-looking mahogany steering wheel controlling a single stainless steel rudder.

It’s always refreshing to see a unique design available in any market, and these four Ranger Tug designs are just that. If you don’t mind being the centre of attention wherever you launch, dock, cruise, or anchor, and if you are ready for something different, and relaxing, and relatively efficient, and to slow down and fully enjoy and savour every moment and every sensual pleasure of your boating hours, days, and weeks, then a Ranger Tug could be just the answer. Just be prepared to handle hordes of inquisitive onlookers and answer loads of questions at every juncture along the way.

Length: 21' " 6.4 m
Beam: 6' 8"

2.03 m

Draft: 2' 0" 61 cm
Dry weight: 2750 lbs 1250 kg
Fuel Capacity: 18 US gals 68.2 l
Engine / Drive: Yanmar Straight Drive Inboard
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