2012 Ranger Tugs R-29

Boat Reviews

Reviewed by Richard Crowder

Ranger Tug R29p1

Please don't be sidetracked by the word "Tugs" in the company name of this U.S. Pacific Northwest manufacturer. All four models produced by this over fifty year old company may, to the casual observer, have a resemblance in profile to the venerable workhorse commercial tugboat, but make no mistake, these boats are finely crafted examples of gentle, practical, and efficient cruising at its finest.

The R-29 is the largest of the four Ranger Tugs which start at 21 feet, and measures exactly 29 feet on hull centerline and 33 feet with the standard swim platform on a 10-foot beam. And if you might have been expecting a spartan "tugboat-like" cabin interior, you will be most surprised and pleasantly rewarded with the cruising comforts and finishing details that abound and come standard with the R-29.

For starters, the R-29 is a full mid-cabin cruiser with sleeping accommodations for six adults; two in the forward stateroom on its island double berth, two in the double-berth mid-cabin tucked beneath the portside dinette, and two more on the convertible dinette in the salon. Both the forward stateroom and the mid-cabin have privacy doors. Further, the forward stateroom has a full head with standard electric toilet, shower, vanity and sink. This master stateroom also has its own standard entertainment system with 24-inch TV, dvd and cd players plus a large hanging locker.

As with every Ranger Tug, the cabin of the R-29 is extraordinarily bright and open and well ventilated with windows all around for excellent 360° visibility and ease of allowing all passengers to comfortably absorb the passing scenery. There are even five opening, screened hatches on the pilothouse roof for added natural lighting and ventilation plus two of the small but requisite brass (tugboat-looking) opening portlites, one on each side of the cabin (pilothouse). The forward stateroom of course also has an overhead opening screened hatch plus a couple of the brass opening portlites as well.

Aside from the single, forward-facing helm seat, the entire starboard side of the cabin is devoted to counter space for the most usable and practical galley layout bisected by a double stainless sink with hot and cold pressure water and swivel faucet. This arrangement is a chef's delight with everything at hand, lots of storage space, bright, and with full outward visibility in all directions. Standard equipment includes a two-burner propane cooktop with oven below, a microwave and 12-volt dc refrigerator. An electric stove is a no-charge exchange option but I'm not quite sure why you would choose this route unless you also happen to need the optional Onan 5kw diesel generator with sound shield for other reasons.

To port is the aforementioned 5-seater convertible dinette with a hi-lo table providing comfortable seating for daytime passengers. Forward of this dinette and facing forward is a double-wide companion seat opposite the helm seat. Entertainment in the cabin is provided by a standard entertainment centre with a Fusion AM/FM CD player with MP3 port and a 19-inch overhead TV with dvd player. For added comfort, a cabin heater is standard (as long as the boat's engine is running) as is a 6-bottle wine cooler. An optional Webasto forced air diesel furnace is available for extra cabin heat for those extending the spring and fall boating season.

The standard single Yanmar 260 hp diesel inboard engine gives the R-29 a cruising speed of about 17 mph with a top speed in the low twenties. But this boat is not about top speed. It is all about cruising and relaxing and enjoying the journey and Ranger Tugs has provided the necessary equipment to allow you to do just that. A total of six batteries with a substantial charging and inverter system provides lots of power reserve even if you are away from shore power for extended times. Anchoring is made easy with a forward anchor locker, a self launching stainless steel bow roller and a Lewmar electric windlass with both bow and helm controls. Getting out to the bow or side decks is made extra easy for the captain via a sliding cabin door right at the helm. Docking is made easy with both bow and stern thrusters – standard! Hydraulic trim tabs are standard as is a Garmin VHF radio, a 6-inch remote-controlled spotlight, and for those blustery days, forward visibility is guaranteed by not one, but a total of four windshield wipers.

There are very few factory options available for the R-29 simply because almost everything you really need or want is standard equipment in the first place. Aside from those few mentioned above, the most notable and usable option could be the bimini top over the aft cockpit with or without full Strato-glass side enclosures. If you happen to be one of those "early adapters," or simply want to utilize all available energy-conserving technology, you may decide to choose the decidedly unique Kyocera 135 watt solar charging panel which fits neatly on the pilothouse roof between the rails of the sport rack. If you do choose this option, remember to also discuss a recommendation to exchange the standard house batteries with gel-filled batteries.

The Ranger Tugs R-29 is indeed a unique boat. It is not only solid and well built, but it is attention-grabbing in that it looks different from almost all of the others. And if your boating intentions include efficient, relaxing cruising with all of the amenities at hand, then the R-29 can most assuredly fulfill your objectives.

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Length: 29' 0" 8.9 m
Beam: 10' 0" 3.05 m
Draft: 2' 4" 71 cm
Dry weight: 9250 lbs 4196 kg
Fuel Capacity: 150 US gals 568 l
Engine / Drive: Yanmar 6BY 2
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