July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow


June 20, 2013
New Adventures


May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug


May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference


May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy


April 15, 2013
In The Middle


March 29, 2013
On The Hook


March 18, 2013
Tinker Time


February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix


February 15, 2013
Time Travel


February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation


January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending


January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports


December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current


December 1, 2012
New Neighbors


November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?


November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?


October 15, 2012
CHANGE OF LATITUDE


October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable


September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem


September 1, 2012
Promises


August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options


August 1, 2012
Go West!


July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination


July 1, 2012
Propane


June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly


June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour


May 15, 2012
Making New Friends


May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New


April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast


April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler


March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature


March 1, 2012
Last Dance


February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique


February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound


January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World


January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation


December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell


December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds


November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love


November 1, 2011
On the Water Again


October 14, 2011
First Impressions


October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun


September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road


September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!


August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row


August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat


July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home


July 1, 2011
One Step Closer


June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future


June 1, 2011
Made in the USA


May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice


May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around


April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude


March 15, 2011
Helping Hands


March 1, 2011
THE PERFECT BOAT!


February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options


February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!


January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing


December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing


December 15, 2010
The New Plan!


December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg


November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water


November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile


October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough


October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?


September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool


September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland


August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"


July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time


July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous


June 1, 2010
On the Hard


May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West


May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board


April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance


April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures


March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise


March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound


February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters


February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise


January 15, 2010
New Frontiers


January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences


December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port


December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady


November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello


November 13, 2009
A Cult Following


October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time


October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye


September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature


August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote


August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North


June 1, 2009
Northern Migration


May 15, 2009
Priceless


May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye


April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!


April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy


March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound


March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?


February 15, 2009
Slow Motion


February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View


January 15, 2009
High Anxiety


January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands


December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure


December 1, 2008
All Together Now


November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike


October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River


October 16, 2008
Big City Lights


October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins


September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop


September 1, 2008
The Space Ship


August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle


August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!


July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around


July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop

   

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
By Kismet, Sunday, May 1, 2011

By Jim Favors

It has been said that the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life are the day’s they buy and sell a boat. I can honestly say that has never been the case for me, I’ve loved each and every one when purchased or sold and wish I could have kept them all. But alas, it always boiled down to economics; we couldn’t afford to keep a 32-footer if we were getting a 42-footer, etc. If the truth were to be told, we’re actually quite saddened since the sale of our last boat. Saddened because we are now sitting boat-less, therefore we can’t get out on the water on a whim, we miss cruising and the cruising community. I guess we miss the whole ball of wax, in fact I think a few tears are coming to my eyes as I think about this.

Ranger Tugs R-27 in action.

Lisa and I have owned a boat of some kind for all of our married life. So to be without a boat after all these years is akin to going cold turkey. For being mariners at heart, it’s been somewhat painful. It’s only been six months since we said goodbye to our old Kismet, but now it’s been a full 12 months since we’ve actually been cruising full time. After being liveaboards for five years, we put the boat into storage 12 months ago, in Key West. We had every intention of returning to our cruising life, we just didn’t know when. The pull of home, family and a familiar community was overwhelming a year ago so we returned to our hometown, bought a house and sold our 40’ trawler. We also discovered this time period away from the boat has actually been good for us; we’ve reconnected with home life after being on the water for five years, making the pain at least bearable. However, now, just as the pull to return home hit us, the pull of the water has started to call us back. We especially feel this need to gravitate to our adventures on the water when we get emails or calls from friends updating us on their current adventures. So during this time away from cruising I guess the more appropriate thought would be how, “absence makes the heart grow stronger.”

R-27 interior shot taken from saloon door, a place for everything. The door to the head is just to the right.

Chet, a friend of ours has been boating for over 60 years. When he was between boats a few years ago someone said to him, “I heard you’ve gotten out of boating.” and his response was, “Did you hear that I died?” Now that’s what I’d call a hard-core boater! Chet changed boats every several years and when he was in between boats he referred to that period of time as being “in the hunt,” as in the hunt for another boat. Lisa and I can relate very closely with Chet’s feelings, as over the last six months we have really enjoyed “ being in the hunt” for our new Kismet. This time, a trailerable trawler for us!

We started our hunt last summer shortly after our decision to sell our Fathom 40 by making a list of our wants and desires for our perfect trailerable trawler. We wanted this boat to have everything our 40’ trawler had, which I think may have been a little ambitious. Ambitious or not, our quest had begun by studying the web sites of every possible candidate in the 25 to 29 foot range, so we could find the boat that most closely fit our wish list. Our search took us walking down more docks then we can count, hours spent on the Internet checking out used and new boat listings, comparing prices, standard and optional equipment, resale value, construction methods and so much more. I spent so much time on the computer researching boats that the wood chair I sit in to surf the web began to fall apart.

 The Ranger Tugs R-27 engine is located in the cockpit, making the ride quieter and the engine easier to service.

Above and beyond all the dock walking in northern Michigan last summer we physically boarded boats in Traverse City, Michigan and Ft. Lauderdale, Naples, Cape Coral and Tampa Bay in Florida. The more we looked the easier our choice became. I say this because our starting point began with that list. As we looked at a boat, we’d compare it to our list to evaluate how close it came to matching the vision we saw as our new dreamboat.

Our “list” included diesel propulsion, generator, large cockpit, pilothouse area, enclosed head/shower, stove, microwave, refrigerator and freezer, windlass, sliding windows with screens, trawler appearance with eye appeal, second stateroom, inverter/battery charger, ability to cruise up to 18 knots if desired, exceptional fit and finish for interior and exterior, no isinglass, strong industry name and reputation and, very important to us, American made. In addition, this perfect boat had to pass the desirability test for both Lisa and myself. We both had to be on board with the final choice. As my friend Mike says, “a happy wife is a happy life,” (and vice versa) and this phrase is so much more meaningful when applied to a couples boating lifestyle. The space is sometimes not large enough (and with this new boat it’s getting even smaller) not to try and maximize the compatibility quotient.

 R-27’s optional solar panel helps keep the batteries charged while on the hook or when being towed down the road.

As you’ve read, our boat’s wish list was rather specific; so, in the end it made our final decision much easier. As we’ve stated before and bear with us for stating it again – for many, our personal list may be over kill and therefore boats that we eventually ruled out would make the perfect boat for someone else. This doesn’t mean anyone is right or wrong or a boat is better or not, it simply means everyone gets the boat that fits closest to their own personal desires, wants, needs and budget.

In the end the boat that matched and actually exceeded our expectations for our trailerable trawler, the one that we saw ourselves exploring new cruising destinations and returning to favorite haunts is the Ranger Tugs R-27! For us the Ranger Tugs R-27 is the perfect boat to quench our longing to return to cruising.

 Ranger Tugs R-27 from the starboard side, note the large cockpit.

Why the Ranger Tugs R-27? Besides being the perfect match to our wish list the boat looks and feels like a trawler that’s much larger than her size. After overcoming the major list hurdle, there were four underlying reasons why the Ranger Tug won our heart. For us, (remember this is a joint venture) spatial comfort, fit and finish, customer testimonials and company reputation put us way over the top.

Seeing is believing, when we first boarded a Ranger 27 we knew right away that this was the boat for us. We got a good sense about the available spatial area by how we could move around within the boat. There seemed to be a natural flow, it felt roomy for a 27-foot boat. The Ranger is a wide body boat (the very narrow gunwale give more interior space), which is important when cruising for long periods of time. The large cockpit also adds to the spatial comfort, especially considering Lisa and I like to be outside. Our thought here was that with a smaller interior, we’d likely want to expand on our overall space by making the back deck a place we’d frequent, when the weather cooperated and the insides got too close.

 Ground tackle is serious business for Ranger, as you can see from their standard windlass.

We were also able to see how meticulous the Ranger Tug factory is with their boat’s fit and finish, something we value very much. I don’t know how it happened but I like things neat and tidy, in order, aligned, finished properly and constructed and assembled with quality. The Ranger Tugs R-27 really does this for me!

Lisa and I have met a few Ranger Tugs owners over the last six months who have provided us with unsolicited customer testimonials. Word of mouth is commonly referred to as the best form of advertising and the folks we met gave us their unvarnished opinions about their experience with their boats. The biggest thing I took away from our conversations, besides their fondness for the boat, was their praise of Ranger Tugs management. I was told about the ease of working with them, whether building a new boat, solving a problem after the sale or just returning a call to help with a technical issue. You just can’t beat that, “service with a smile!”

Lastly, it was Ranger Tugs reputation. While doing research we found most of the boat builders had a good name in the boating community and the boat owners, for the most part, had good things to say about them. Reputation is one of those things that’s ever fleeting as in “what have you done for me lately” attitude. Reputation is something, in my opinion, that has to be earned each and every day. No one company gets everything right but it’s how they go about things that can often make the difference. As an example, Ranger Tugs conducts owner-learning seminars, organizes cruising events in the Pacific Northwest area, and sponsors an annual Tug Fest, all for the benefit of fostering positive client relations and that’s how one maintains a good reputation.

We plan on taking delivery of our R-27 in August, when we’ll attend the Tug Fest in Bremerton, Washington and right after we’ll begin the kick off our trailerable trawler adventures. In the meantime, we’ve put together another list, this time for a truck, and have begun our search for the right truck to haul the boat with, so many decisions to make but oh what fun.