Sharing the Love


By Lisa Targal Favors

When Jim and I made the decision to downsize from a 40-foot trawler and purchase a Ranger Tug R27, we soon found out that since we were driving out to the Seattle area to pick up the boat, there would be a couple of options to spend some significant time with other Ranger Tug owners. Jim and I had a lot of conversations about how important this would be to our new mode of cruising. Getting to know a few seasoned Ranger Tug owners meant that we could glean information about, for instance, how they outfit their boats and why, how they’ve dealt with limited storage onboard, what kind of dinghy fits and secures best to the R27 and also, how they’ve overcome any obstacles with the trailering part of the equation. All this is important information to boaters, especially like us because we’re new to the trailerable boating crowd.

Bruce Moore said he knew the perfect spot to take the group photo; he even got in some tugs in the background.

Jeff Messmer, the V.P. of Sales and Marketing of Ranger Tug told us about two Ranger Tug events happening in the Pacific Northwest in 2011. The first was a cruise to Desolation Sound, British Columbia, Canada, and the second was the annual Ranger Tug Rendezvous in Bremerton, Washington. We would have liked to do them both, but time constrains on our side limited us to only signing up for the Rendezvous in early September.

A couple of 21-foot tugs and a 29-foot tug, we found out that a lot of Ranger Tug owners start out small and eventually move up to a larger model.

Never having been to one of the Ranger Tug Rendezvous, we really didn’t know what to expect but we learned ahead of time that there would be a lot of tugs in attendance. Since Jim had already signed up on the Ranger Tug forum, “Tugnuts,” we were already corresponding with some owners online and were looking forward to meeting them at the event. Jim did a lot of research using this forum before we even made the decision to buy our R27. What better way to get information about a product before you invest in it than to talk to current owners and what we found out from not only the forum but the rendezvous is that Ranger Tug owners are a very happy group. Proud of their respective boats, and more than willing to share information about their experiences and upgrades they’ve made to their boats.

One afternoon we walked around the marina and took photos of some of the different dinghy configurations other owners had set up on their boat. This will come in handy in helping us decide not only what kind of dinghy to buy but how we might attach it to the swim platform.

One owner kindly invited me onboard to see a couple of drawers she and her husband had added to their boat – one, under the tabletop, to gain more storage space and the other to make it easier to access stored items.

We arrived in Bremerton on Wednesday, one day before the event started, so that we could get settled, do some laundry and watch the boats as they slowly trickled in. Jim was scheduled to give a presentation on the Great Loop boat trip, so we wanted to make sure we had everything we needed in place for that as well. Showing up a day early was a good idea from the standpoint of getting to meet the boaters in small groups as they arrived. So, for us, the party seemed to slowly unfold and build to a marvelous crescendo as a total of 68 Ranger Tugs and Cutwaters and approximately 150 owners gathered for the festivities. Rainbow of colors were represented from yellow, dark red, fire engine red, blue, green, tan and white. Owners were from as far away as Maine and New York, on the east coast, Michigan, Texas, California, Montana, Colorado and Oregon. Most were from the Washington State, many from British Columbia, Canada.

More Ranger Tugs looking regal in the soft glow of a setting sun.

Many of the owners already knew each other either from cruising the PNW waters and getting acquainted or they’ve gotten to know each other during the Desolation Sound tour I mentioned earlier. And, if they hadn’t met either of those ways they probably met at one of the previous rendezvous. We soon found out that it didn’t matter if you had met before or not, a warm welcome was rolled out to all attendees, ourselves included.

The exchange between boaters at these events is very important whether it’s favorite cruising spots or how to fix something on the boat – it’s all valuable information.

Our boat was tied up on the huge, main dock, which was also the break wall for the marina – this is where most of the activities and parties took place. So, I guess you could say we were kind of in the thick of things. Every morning included coffee and muffins or scones stationed at a couple of the boats around the marina. Lots of opportunities to meet and chat with other boaters about what most of us are so passionate about – our boats and boating. Friday and Saturday included presentations by boaters and vendors along with factory info sessions (Andrew Custis gave a very informative session on electrical systems) and informal “owners forums” throughout the day on Friday.

A few fun events during the day included a Craft Fair and the Second Annual Veggie Race. Every evening there was a different dinner planned and executed by volunteer owners who worked tirelessly around the clock, to pull them all off. Thursday night featured a cocktail hour and a potluck dinner. Friday was a fun Parrottville Party and auction with live entertainment, margaritas and dinner provided by the Bakers, owners of Karma, an R29. Saturday featured a cocktail hour with potluck appetizers and a factory-sponsored BBQ with a multitude of door prizes and acknowledgements for the event committee along with a few thank-yous to a few new owners, special guests and attendees.

The factory employees were just part of the crowd. It was fun to get to know some of our contacts at Ranger Tug better during the event.

Every night another party was held on the dock and sometimes you could just about feel it vibrating.

One of two observations we couldn’t help but make during this Ranger Tug Rendezvous was how hands on and available the factory was with the owners group.

When we make new boating friends one of the first things we do is ask for their boat card and give them one of ours. This is just one of the books we have which is full of cards with contact information and our own little notes written on the back to remind us where we met. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to look up a card so that we could contact someone we wanted to ask a question of.

Of course many of them were involved with showing the model Rangers and Cutwaters in attendance during the day but every night they made a big statement at the social events showing up in their bright red shirts but still blending in with the group. The other impression that struck us both was that every owner we met took great pride in their boats and what surprised us even more was the number of owners who were looking to move up in size to a larger Ranger Tug (they currently have a 21’, 25’, 27’ and 29’ models). We met several Ranger Tug owners who had orders in for a larger tug. Ranger Tugs does a good job of providing a quality product and great customer satisfaction; why would they look anywhere else?

We were dully warned by many of the owners we met that we would probably have only one problem being Ranger Tug owners and that would be having to fend off inquisitive people who have run into you at a dock or on the road and want to know more about the little tug you have. While it certainly is not a problem for us because we love to chat with people about boats and boating, we will have to agree that there is a lot of interest in these boats because they just seem to have that “cute factor.”

When you possess a passion as we do for boating, a get together like the ones we make a point of attending, it’s important to connect with people with a similar enthusiasm because you can share stories and knowledge with each other, what better way than within a group setting like a rendezvous. We always come away with, not only a handful of boat cards but, having made new friends all over the country.