One of the great things about the sporty little cruisers Ranger Tugs builds—you get a heck of a lot of boat for the money. The outboard-powered Ranger R-27, for example, is sold “fully equipped and ready to cruise,” according to the manufacturer, and this rather expansive claim is not even faintly exaggerated. I mean, how many other small, recreational cruisers are there today that a guy can buy in the morning, trailer to a launch ramp at noon, and then head safely and comfortably off into the wild blue yonder for an evening on the hook, with everything from fenders and lines to a sophisticated navigation package already on board? Not many.
And the pricing is relatively reasonable, especially when stacked up against the majority of 30-plus footers that have hit the marine scene over the past few years. The colder-climate Northwest Edition of the R-27 (which is more affordable due to the absence of a reverse-cycle air conditioner and a genset) sells for $184,937, complete with a lengthy list of peripherals that include a diesel heater, a Garmin 7612 plotter, a 4-kilowatt radar, AGM batteries, anchor and chain, underwater lights, solar panel with controller, AIS and a Garmin autopilot. Pony up a few extra bucks for the tropically outfitted Luxury Edition ($199,937) and you get the aforementioned genset/air-conditioning package as well as all the stuff that comes with the Northwest package, minus the diesel heater of course.
“The philosophy behind this particular boat is the same for the rest of the boats we build,” says Ranger Vice President Jeff Messmer. “We want to equip it the way people are going to use it, which means everything’s there when the customer buys the boat: fire extinguishers, PFDs, lines, nav equipment, everything.”
The layout of the R-27 is similar to that of many other Ranger models. The forward third is devoted to a double berth, a head to starboard (without a separate shower stall—understandable given the boat’s LOA) and a hanging locker/bureau combo opposite. The salon comprises the middle third, with a convertible dinette to starboard and a full-featured galley (with propane stove) to port. And the after third tosses a surprisingly roomy cockpit into the mix with plenty of seating, a door opening onto an ample swim platform, and (thanks to the presence of a swim-platform-mounted outboard in lieu of an inboard diesel beneath a cockpit engine hatch), oodles of stowage below.
Handling the R-27 dockside should be a breeze thanks to the directional thrust inherent in the boat’s powerplant—a single 300-horsepower Yamaha F300 outboard—as well as the standard-issue bow thruster. Reported open-water speeds are radically, almost amazingly un-tuglike—can you believe a top end of 36.8 knots (according to testing by Yamaha) and a cruise velocity of 26.7 knots?
So I’d say there’s no question—when you augment oomphy performance with a tried-and-true layout, a relatively modest price, lots of standard equipment and a raft of cool, non-optional extras (like a tow fitting for water-skiing, a fuel-flow display, a Fusion stereo system, a flat-screen TV, bronze through-hulls instead of plastic, a foam-filled stringer system and a windlass with bow and helm controls)—the Ranger R-27 turns out to be quite a deal. You get a highly practical, tough-as-nails, fully trailerable, fun-as-fun-can-be cruiser. And just about everything’s paid for. —Capt. Bill Pike
Ranger Tugs, 253-839-5213; rangertugs.com
Displ.: 7,000 lbs.
Fuel: 150 gal.
Water: 40 gal.
Standard Power: 1/Yamaha F300 outboard
Cruise Speed: 26.7 knots
Top Speed: 36.8 knots