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Old 09-29-2014, 01:09 AM   #21
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We aren't loopers but we spent a lot of time weighing the pros and cons between a Ranger 29 and a Nordic 32. The American tug was outside our price range though they are beautiful boats. One thing that I've heard/read from experienced boaters is to buy the smallest boat that fits your needs. It makes sense to me for docking, maintenance, and ease of handling - relative newbie that I am.

We chose the Ranger 29 for a couple of reasons. First since its a ten foot beam you don't need a pilot car and it can be moved by a 1 ton truck. I'm not planning on trailering it but it will cost us less to have it done - which we will do. Second the older Nordics that we could afford didn't have a queen bed. We love the bed in the Ranger and use the boat as our "Motel 6" on the bay. Lastly the boat we got came with all the bells and whistles that we could ever want.

The Ranger Tug Nuts group is very active, as you probably already know, and a great resource.

So far we have been happy with our choice. Have a great time with your research. I look forward to hearing what you end up with.

Jeff
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Old 09-29-2014, 06:19 AM   #22
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> Built in settees are my pet peeve on most trawlers. They are not easy to use for anything other than eating.<

That is why the SAWZALL was invented.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:26 AM   #23
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We aren't loopers but we spent a lot of time weighing the pros and cons between a Ranger 29 and a Nordic 32. The American tug was outside our price range though they are beautiful boats. One thing that I've heard/read from experienced boaters is to buy the smallest boat that fits your needs. It makes sense to me for docking, maintenance, and ease of handling - relative newbie that I am.

We chose the Ranger 29 for a couple of reasons. First since its a ten foot beam you don't need a pilot car and it can be moved by a 1 ton truck. I'm not planning on trailering it but it will cost us less to have it done - which we will do. Second the older Nordics that we could afford didn't have a queen bed. We love the bed in the Ranger and use the boat as our "Motel 6" on the bay. Lastly the boat we got came with all the bells and whistles that we could ever want.

The Ranger Tug Nuts group is very active, as you probably already know, and a great resource.

So far we have been happy with our choice. Have a great time with your research. I look forward to hearing what you end up with.

Jeff
I have heard this quote often..yet usually never from liveaboards/long term/distance cruisers. I personally never give it...I concentrate more on issues that I have repeatedy heard as "well, my next boat will have"....for living aboard or cruising till you get to a certain range..it's usually never smaller.

While the logic isn't faulty...boats that you live on or all but live on are no different from houses of much else for that matter.

A few feet longer/wider can be be all the things people have mentioned...including TOO small for what you want.

For me it would be interesting to see how many have done the loop more than once used the same boat. If so what was the boat like for the first one? Would some change boats for the second one? Would they go up/down in size and why?
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:00 AM   #24
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Ranger Tug vs. Nordic vs. American Tug

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...including TOO small for what you want.

Seldom does a new member show up here with both previous brand specific experience and a well thought out cogent short list. It sounds to me that he knows exactly what he wants. It does not sound like a roomaran with an oxygen tent and root cellar.


Smallest boat that fits YOUR needs is not the same for everybody due to the word I bold typed here.
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:17 AM   #25
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Seldom does a new member show up here with both previous brand specific experience and a well thought out cogent short list. It sounds to me that he knows exactly what he wants. It does not sound like a roomaran with an oxygen tent and root cellar.


Smallest boat that fits YOUR needs is not the same for everybody due to the word I bold typed here.
Just reminding people who haven't done it already that their dreams need not cloud the realities of long term time aboard their new home....
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:41 AM   #26
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Never let "perfection" be the enemy of "good enough".

No matter what you choose you will eventually find it to be a compromise in some way.
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Old 09-29-2014, 09:49 AM   #27
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Most of the people that I have known in this situation considered buying an AT 34 or an NT 37, not the NT 32. Of course all now have "stretchitis", which means they count the swim platform in the LOA.

I have been aboard all of them and personally could not comfortably do the loop in a 32.
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Old 09-29-2014, 10:20 AM   #28
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I have heard this quote often..yet usually never from liveaboards/long term/distance cruisers. I personally never give it...I concentrate more on issues that I have repeatedy heard as "well, my next boat will have"....for living aboard or cruising till you get to a certain range..it's usually never smaller.

While the logic isn't faulty...boats that you live on or all but live on are no different from houses of much else for that matter.

A few feet longer/wider can be be all the things people have mentioned...including TOO small for what you want.

I agree completely!

It's one thing to spend a week on a smaller boat, another a month, another a year or a lifetime.

In my opinion, having had ocean cruisers from 24-47' size is comfort. Elbow rom. Storage room. Room to relax.

It baffles me why people dont buy the most boat they can own and maintain at a certain budget price point.
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Old 09-29-2014, 10:40 AM   #29
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Most of the people that I have known in this situation considered buying an AT 34 or an NT 37, not the NT 32. Of course all now have "stretchits", which means they count the swim platform in the LOA.

I have been aboard all of them and personally could not comfortably do the loop in a 32.
Yep, the 34 (365) American Tug is closer in size to the 37 (39) Nordic Tug. In fact, the AT is beamier than the NT. Tankage between the two is very similar. The salon and pilothouse is similar too. The NT has a second small stateroom, the AT doesn't but it has a better head. Both the 37 NT and 34 AT have much better engine access than the other boats being discussed. And much longer range. Good ~2000 vintage NT 37s can be had for low 200k's.

The 32 (34) Nordic is much smaller than the 34 (365) AT. Almost two feet narrower, several thousand pounds lighter. Much less tankage and room. Step down into the salon.

The 29 Ranger is smaller still. It's tough for two people to pass each other in the salon. Engine access is difficult since the engine straddles the aft bulkhead. The shower and head are one and the same. A stall shower is really nice when living on the boat for long periods. The AT weighs twice what the 29 Ranger weighs.

If you'll be cruising at displacement speeds waterline length is your friend. I cruised to Alaska last summer with a 29 Ranger. At 8 knots I burned just over half the fuel that the 29 Ranger burned. But their high speed cruise is 16 knots instead of 12 in my Nordic. And the Rangers have great cockpits for entertaining when the weather is nice.
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Old 09-29-2014, 11:47 AM   #30
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It baffles me why people don't buy the most boat they can own and maintain at a certain budget price point.
I believe the thinking is that "the most boat for a given price" may be larger, but is likely to be older. This makes it harder and riskier to determine condition at purchase, and may introduce higher maintenance costs just due to age and usage.

My point was, given the same quality and condition, larger boats will cost more to operate, may be harder to handle, and may limit access to some areas when cruising the Great Loop. Why buy into that if a smaller boat meets your needs?
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:42 PM   #31
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I believe the thinking is that "the most boat for a given price" may be larger, but is likely to be older. This makes it harder and riskier to determine condition at purchase, and may introduce higher maintenance costs just due to age and usage.

My point was, given the same quality and condition, larger boats will cost more to operate, may be harder to handle, and may limit access to some areas when cruising the Great Loop. Why buy into that if a smaller boat meets your needs?
Which is all I was trying to point out in the beginning...just make sure your needs are met in the size you are buying...dreams cloud reality...

Almost EVERY boater except for a few TFers I've met have nowhere the boating experience that a VERY, VERY few have. When they sit down with someone that has tens of thousands of serious cruising miles experience and liveaboard experience...usually it is a jaw dropping session when all the little things most boaters take for granted are discussed. It's because they do all that crap at home...well.... when home is thousands of miles away...all of a sudden these little things become important when deciding on a boat.

Sure there's compromise...but even something that many take for granted....like spreading out some simple little project...for example making a screen for a 4 foot by 2 foot window. When someone else is living aboard with you...where do you spread out to put it all together without being totally in the way of everyday life/needs?

Sure some smart guy is going to say how easy it is...I'm counting on those that spend a lot of their time aboard their boat with not even a car in the parking lot to store anything in to chime in to the reality of long term, long distance cruising or living aboard.
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Old 09-29-2014, 03:09 PM   #32
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Are you going to cruise moving every day or linger in the same spot for days at a ti

If your cruising harbor to harbor, moving constantly, the smallest boat makes a lot of sense. if you are living on the boat and spending a lot of your time actually on the boat then the bigger the better. You can anchor out and explore by dingy or dingy to the dock from a bigger boat. In my mind there really is two types of cruising, one under the constraints of time and the goal of making the passage. The other is the journey, where time on the water and the act of cruising is the end in itself. Small fast boats offer the best choice for cruising under a time line. The ICW has been down with 16' outboards and pontoon boats. if this isn't the goal, get the biggest boat you can afford, because they all shrink when put in water. Bigger boats are more comfortable in poor anchorages and allow you to bring toys like bicycles, kayaks, and dingys large enough pull water skiers. That Ranger 29 on a trailer , or 27 Sea Sport, or an Osprey, maybe even a Sea Dory would be ideal if you plan on spending every night in a harbor. If your planning on really living on a boat start with 36' and go up. Anything smaller is a compromise. In fact I like 48' small enough to handle alone and big enough for privacy.
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:11 PM   #33
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I believe the thinking is that "the most boat for a given price" may be larger, but is likely to be older. This makes it harder and riskier to determine condition at purchase, and may introduce higher maintenance costs just due to age and usage.

My point was, given the same quality and condition, larger boats will cost more to operate, may be harder to handle, and may limit access to some areas when cruising the Great Loop. Why buy into that if a smaller boat meets your needs?
Within reason, size is not a limitation when doing the loop. Yes your 34 AT is nice, but it is not the only duck in the pond. Years ago we had friends who did the loop twice in their steel CC Roamer, no a small boat by any means. Met some nice folks this year who did it in their Sabre 48.

Having done the loop in stages part way only in larger power boats (did the Atlantic portion offshore in a large sailboat), if I were to do it again it would be in a 30' Grady White with big outboards. Thirty knots sounds about right.
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:28 PM   #34
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Within reason, size is not a limitation when doing the loop. Yes your 34 AT is nice, but it is not the only duck in the pond. Years ago we had friends who did the loop twice in their steel CC Roamer, no a small boat by any means. Met some nice folks this year who did it in their Sabre 48.

Having done the loop in stages part way only in larger power boats (did the Atlantic portion offshore in a large sailboat), if I were to do it again it would be in a 30' Grady White with big outboards. Thirty knots sounds about right.
I always thought it would be fun to change up every once and awhile...cruise at 30-50 and stay in waterside hotels/motels/B&Bs. Doing it in a smaller boat it may shift expenses in different ways....especially if you really planned your stops...obviously they would be much fewer but you could have some pretty good flexibility if covering 2-300 miles a day.
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:49 PM   #35
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Within reason, size is not a limitation when doing the loop. Yes your 34 AT is nice, but it is not the only duck in the pond. Years ago we had friends who did the loop twice in their steel CC Roamer, no a small boat by any means. Met some nice folks this year who did it in their Sabre 48.

Having done the loop in stages part way only in larger power boats (did the Atlantic portion offshore in a large sailboat), if I were to do it again it would be in a 30' Grady White with big outboards. Thirty knots sounds about right.
Yes you can do the loop in boats well over 50 ft, but size, height and draft are limitations and will limit the extent of the trip and side many trips.

Examples:

Absolute height limit of 19.7 ft to get from Lake MI into the Illinois River, 17 ft height limit to go through downtown Chicago, or up the Champlain Canal.

In the Trent-Severn, minimum depths are 6 ft, but if you are over 5 ft you must contact the Waterway Office. Many boaters report touching bottom under 6 ft.

The river system center channel is dredged to a 9 ft minimum, but the interesting anchorages can be 4-5 ft, and many entrances under 4 ft. Likewise, there are areas on the Atlantic ICW, especially near inlets, that may shoal in to under 3 ft and this would not be reflected on the charts.

The small boat channel in the Georgian Bay has some depth and turning limitations which causes larger (say over 40 ft) to have to run outside in the Bay.

We stayed overnight in over 125 marinas, and at least 2/3 of those would not have a spot for boats over 50 ft and very limited spots for boats over 40 ft. Also, many of these do not have 50 amp power and some only a few 30 amp outlets.

I could tell you several stories about twin gas boats with exposed props having to be hauled for prop/shaft/rudder repairs.

------------------------------------

Again, I am not trying to sell the AT 34 or say it is the best boat for everyone who wants to loop. However, some of its attributes certainly make for a more flexible and less risky trip, and make it more suited to and fit for the purpose of looping. If I were buying a boat to live on full time, it wouldn't be the AT 34, and I could probably still do the loop.
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:57 PM   #36
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I chose the NT over the AT for 2 reasons. Price and the second stateroom. Price aside, the second stateroom was a requirement for me. But NT does off the 37 without the second stateroom and a larger master stateroom and head, if I am not mistaken. IIRC, there is a nt37 that has done the loop for sale.
But I agree, both are great boats. I think the AT is a little bit more flashy on the inside than the NT.

Personally a ranger would be too small for us and i think my kids would break all the swiss army type gadgets they have installed in them. But it is an impressive and handsome boat. I understand why they are so popular.

The OP could fly to Bellingham and charter them both for a few days consecutively to see which one he likes better. The money you spend chartering them will pale in comparison to ownership costs. While you are there you can see dozens of them for sale as well.
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Old 09-29-2014, 06:22 PM   #37
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I like the AT/NT vessels such as pictured (second choices), but I insist on wide walk-around decks and railings.

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Old 10-01-2014, 06:08 AM   #38
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One of the biggest hassles with a big boat is the builders usually chose NOT to remind customers of non smooth days, away from the slip.

Very few large cabins have enough handholds to not be thrown from bulkhead to bulkhead when it kicks up a bit.
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:12 AM   #39
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Mark,
Great Nordic Tug picture. And judging by her wake the engine is probably singing a nice tune.

Re your notions about railings and side decks neither one of us can have an NT. Too much money for me and a NT w side decks would have a tiny cabin like my W30 or be a real barge of a boat. Eighteen foot beam?

Look at the wasted space on Willy.
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:28 PM   #40
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Eric, with 13-foot beam, having 18-inch-wide decks still allow lots of interior room in the Coot.
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