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Old 09-17-2016, 10:47 AM   #1
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Tugs - Ranger 31S vs AT 34?

I would appreciate any comments on how a Ranger Tug 31 might compare to an American Tug 34. It would seem that it's longer LWL, 3 foot wider beam, and heavier weight would give the AT 34 an advantage in rough conditions. After all it is not designed to be trailerable. But the Admiral and I really like the Ranger 31S, especially the cockpit for socializing, fishing etc. So I guess my question is ... just how much seaworthiness are we giving up by choosing a Ranger over an AT 34?
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Old 09-17-2016, 02:36 PM   #2
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There can not be a honest comparison in MHO. Two different class and worth (Market price). Of the two, the American Tug is far superior in seaworthiness the more important factor, then value. While costly in terms of new construction, far less than the market price of the Ranger boats where advertising and promotion has more to do with popularity than the factors mentioned with the American Tug line. There is no doubt the comforts on both are of quality, that so much is placed in the smaller space of the Ranger boats would give me a restricted feeling if more than two persons were on board for any time. The American Tug has greater beam by it self a huge factor in space consideration. If speed is a required necessity then of course the Ranger boats will provide that at a cost of cramped engine access required to house the more than required hp, for limited repairs as required. This said as a visitor on a Ranger 29 with a Merc-Cummings. where access was impossible for the repair required, a repair to a item that would be readily accessible on the engine of the American Tug.
The American Tug sells itself. The Ranger Tug sells being a "Tug Nut". Of the two, the American Tug is the boat I would want to be on in Southeast Alaska waters.
With knowledge of what is to come.
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PS: It is interesting that a Cummings dealer I am aware of will not work on the Mercury/Cummings engines. Seems that there is a number of parts that are not common to Cummings parts inventory and or, warranty work is a problem with Cummings. Be interesting if this is a common issue.
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Old 09-17-2016, 03:26 PM   #3
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Hi Al,

Thanks for the comments. What year was that Ranger 29 you were on? I know that from at least 2009 until a couple of years ago they have had Yanmar engines. They went to Volvo after that.

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Old 09-17-2016, 03:40 PM   #4
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Rangers are popular but loose their value fast from what I've seen. I don't consider them trawlers ... they are too light. These boats are so very different I'm wondering why you asked the question? Lots of people like the Rangers but lots are for sale. I can see why people like them. They have more than a few touches of class but most of the special features are'nt high class ... more like cute. For examble consider the red and green plastic backing for the running lights. I've not heard they are bad boats in any way and their use of space is really good. But they are more like an OB boat than a trawler. And an old Bayliner for $5K would probably do the same things equally well or even better. I think you'd have to have a strong need for vougeness to make them worth the money.

We moor right behind the AT facility so see them on the floats constantly. Very impressive boats that obviously have a lot of space aboard and must be more comfortable than most most of the time. Not very efficient being so wide but people buying boats like AT's shouldn't really care.
A choice between the two???
AT without any shadow of a doubt.

All that said the question you need answered is .... "What will each boat do for you. And feeling good or liking it may have as much value (or even more) as tangible qualities.

Also if you're looking at an AT you should probably look at the NT. Don't shop by the foot. Compare by the actual size of the boat. A 42' NT may be no bigger than a 37' AT.

But most importantly I think you need to decide to look at trailer boats or trawlers. A real trawler (IMO) and a good trailer boat as well is the old Albin25.
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Old 09-17-2016, 05:05 PM   #5
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Hi Eric,

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it really comes down to trailerable or trawler - which do I want?. I have the classic boater's dilemma - I want the features of both. As my mother would have said - I want to have my cake and eat it too. Since I am a cautious boater who is very careful about weather etc. I would like to think the Ranger 31 is "seaworthy enough" for what we want to do, which is basically hang around Florida with the odd side trip to the Bahamas each winter.

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Old 09-17-2016, 05:20 PM   #6
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When we were looking to buy our current trawler Ranger was on our list. We liked a lot of things about the Rangers but found they're really not set up for long distance cruising or staying aboard for weeks at time. What really was the final straw for us came after some test rides - because of their narrow beam they are very tender. It's all about trade offs.

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Old 09-17-2016, 05:46 PM   #7
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Ken - exactly the kind of info I need, since I have never been aboard a Ranger that was under way.
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Old 09-17-2016, 05:52 PM   #8
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I don't want to tell anyone what they want, but as others have said the Rangers and American Tugs aren't in the same ballpark.

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Old 09-17-2016, 05:55 PM   #9
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The AT is an extremely "liveable" boat, having spent time on a couple of friends' boats. For the stated purpose (same as our friends', that's where we met them) a great choice.
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Old 09-17-2016, 07:34 PM   #10
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David, About a six or eight year old Ranger would be my guess as the owner sold it at a market loss to rid himself of it and purchased a twin screw Perkins powered 36 foot Europa rig. At the time he purchased the Ranger (new) his choice was between the Yanmar and the bastard Cummings. He chose the Cummings our of support for an American product and thinking the local Cummings dealer would service the warranty work. That and lack of knowledge on the quality of the Yanmar. He later was able to compare the two and reported his disappointment in his choice.

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Old 09-17-2016, 09:42 PM   #11
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Now that you've mentioned your intended cruising grounds, I'd have to ask why those two boats out of all the possibilities? The only reason I see to go with a Ranger is the desire to trailer. I like both AT and NT and if considering one would also give the other consideration. However, there are other boats worth considering too if you're thinking semi-displacement, such as Mainship, Beneteau Swift Trawler, Meridian/Bayliner, Sea Ray, Grand Banks, Hatteras, Viking, Princess, Sunseeker. It just seems that your boat thinking was more in line with where you live than where you're planning to cruise. Now, they certainly are fine to cruise where you intend, just not the two choices I'm use to seeing things narrowed to for that area.
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Old 09-18-2016, 08:01 PM   #12
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Just tossing this out there... If you are looking in that size range, another option possibly worth considering is the Camano 31. A guy on THT posted pictures of pulling his Troll with a 1-ton pickup. A google search for camano 31 trailer might find it. I think he mentioned a 14' height at the top of the windscreen. I don't know that I would want to do that regularly and you would need to watch carefully for clearances, but it might be an option. A Gnome model without the flybridge would be a bit easier for that.
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Old 09-18-2016, 08:23 PM   #13
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Mention of the Camano brings into play a compromise between the Ranger and The American Tug. Between the three the use of space is well laid out IMHO. Not as fancy as the Ranger yet as functional. Better sea boat would be my guess, slightly due to the shortness over the longer American Tug. Performance wise equal to both as it has a 200 hp engine were the need required. I believe on the market, the Camano is better priced of the three given an equal survey.
I would not desire to trailer either the Gome or the fly bridge model for the width factor as well the overall size and weight on a week end basis.
Our boat being 27 feet, but a huge 27 feet when viewed, weighing in at 12,000# or more, would make the traveling some what filled with anticipation and I just would not want the 'aggravation'.
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:12 PM   #14
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Al,
I would not want to trailer a Camano multiple times month or even monthly either. In my research, I first thought of that possibility as maybe a quicker way to get from WA up to Port Hardy or Prince Rupert for a run up to AK or down to the CA delta area. It would be at most a seasonal trip. The OP has not yet mentioned the frequency of trailering as a factor, whether seasonal, regular, or just a few times.
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:22 PM   #15
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For trailering Richard Cook had a fantastic time w his Bayliner trailering to Prince Rupert and more.

And of course the Sea Dory is a great trailorboat. Cook had one of them too as I recall.
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:34 PM   #16
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Eric,
Richard Cook's New Moon was a Bounty 257 Offshore Pilot with a Volvo diesel. He has a book on it, Cruising in a Big Way. They have since moved on from that one. Jim & Lisa Favors wrote a book/blog about the trailerable trawler life featuring Kismet, their Ranger R27. I agree also about the C-Dory. Sam Landsman of Waggoner Guides circumnavigated Vancouver Island in a 22 Cruiser, though he has since upgraded to an NT32. If a smaller, more trailerable size is a possibility, that opens up other options.

Edit: Don't have a copy at hand to verify, but Cruising in a Big Way might have been about their C-Dory 22 they had before the Bounty.
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Old 09-18-2016, 10:22 PM   #17
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Tim, I don't believe you would enjoy trailering up the B.C.highway with a Camano. We drive this highway once or twice each year on our annual plus, medical runs. It is a wonderful highway to drive, however with a boat that size you will disturb many a fellow traveler I fear with the distractions and size of the load.
Better as a couple others have noted and you are aware, trailer a Larger C-dory or Ranger tug. We had the privilege of visiting with a couple from Texas who trailer'd to Prince Rupert in a 31 foot version. Being 8 feet wide makes a big difference no matter the length so it seems. Not so intimidating but still with the accommodations desired for a couple cruising. The C-Dory, of which our Marben is the Grand Father and forerunner of, is another common trailer'd to Prince Rupert for exploring Alaska. Again, we have the acquaintance of a couple who also are from Texas with a summer home on a large lake in British Columbia, They have come North a couple of times in a 23 (or 24') C-Dory. (The 24 or 28' Bayliner too is a common sight on the highway.)
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Old 09-18-2016, 11:33 PM   #18
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Al,
Don't worry. That was just a temporary idea I had. I'm used to towing a 37' fifth wheel, though it's not as wide. My research is now leading me towards taking a boat up on its own hull if I don't get something smaller. I just wanted to toss the idea out in case it helped the OP.
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Old 09-18-2016, 11:57 PM   #19
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Tim, Then you understood my intent. The thought of bringing your own boat up to Alaska will be an exciting time of planning. I offer the following Blog site to represent a current voyage this Spring and still underway on their way back to the States, currently in somewhere in the Broughtons (sp?)
You will enjoy the quality of words, pictures, videos and history of location where given. A fine winter read. You can join the current voyage via email notification within the blog.

.Airship to Alaska | Day 1 | Anacortes to Roche Harbor – Riveted

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Old 09-19-2016, 12:01 AM   #20
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Tim. After thinking about it, here is todays post from the Airship blog.
Hey guess what?

There's a new post on Riveted! Port Harvey to Shoal Bay via Whirlpool and Greene Point Rapids | BC
Last night after catching up with George and Gail about how their season was and the progress they've made on rebuilding the restaurant and store, we headed back to Airship to cook up some dinner. Tonight turned out to be tostada night! We grabbed some of the pulled pork (the stuff ...
You may view this post here:

Port Harvey to Shoal Bay via Whirlpool and Greene Point Rapids | BC – Riveted

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