A tugboat squats low and digs its heels into the unfathomably deep, dark blue water of Puget Sound. Like a sumo wrestler its center of gravity is low, its power unbounded. A container-laden barge marches obediently behind the mission-designed vessel; the sight causes me to think about the craft beneath my feet.
Ranger Tugs, as the name implies, was inspired in part by these powerful workhorses that ply the Pacific. Seaworthiness and power are forefront in the design brief. But so is style and performance. Designed by Dave and John Livingston—founder and president of Ranger Tugs, respectively—the newest stallion in their stable is the first IPS-powered 41.
Cruising at 20 knots with the sun streaming in through the large forward-facing and side windows, our crew began to settle in for our first half-day run north to the San Juan Islands—the well-documented destination of choice for those who cruise this part of the world.
The 41 revealed a clever and cavernous storage space beneath the salon seating that would ensconce all of our supplies at the push of a button. Also in this space keeping our luggage company was a fridge (there was more cold storage aboard the 41 than some supermarkets) as well as a full-sized washer and dryer. Early in our trip I began daydreaming about what it would be like to sell my land-based belongings and live aboard. Its features, like copious storage space and real-world-sized amenities, can turn dreams into reality dangerously quickly.
At night, music began playing throughout the boat, underwater lights turned the sea behind the transom into the most mesmerizing aquarium in town and the forward-facing cockpit seating swiveled so four of us could comfortably face each other and converse. From the helm to the large C-shaped salon seating to the cockpit and flybridge, there was always the option to hang out with the group or steal away for a little time alone. Between the master stateroom forward, a VIP with en suite aft and an oversized convertible berth in the salon, it could easily accommodate three couples and even a pair of children in a pinch.
I was on the flybridge helm when we blasted past a wall of granite and the postcard-worthy Turn Point Lighthouse off to starboard. With the sun bowing to the mountains to port and Canada beckoning just above our bow, it became clear why Ranger Tugs have been so successful. The brand, and especially the new 41, enables ventures a long way from home yet never without the comforts of home. Its multiple interior spaces offer protection from the harsh environs when cruising during the day, and places to carry on long conversations with newfound friends well into the night.
It’s the kind of boat that reminds me why I fell in love with boating in the first place. Good friends, new adventures and reconnecting with nature: Isn’t that what it’s all about? —Daniel Harding Jr.
Displ.: 30,000 lbs.
Fuel: 300 gal.
Water: 120 gal.
Standard Power: 2/300-hp Volvo Penta IPS400
Cruise Speed: 11 knots
Top Speed: 24 knots
Cruising Range: 361 miles