May 17, 2023

Ranger Tugs R 23

Greetings, seafarers and maritime enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into a comprehensive review of the Ranger Tugs R23, an impressive model from one of the most respected manufacturers in the compact cruiser market.

Ranger Tugs R23 - Overview

Ranger Tugs, the Washington-based boat builder, has built a reputation for creating small, seaworthy, and versatile cruisers. The R23 is no exception. A compact cruiser with all the trimmings of a larger vessel, it's a perfect embodiment of Ranger Tugs' philosophy of compact luxury.

Specifications and Layout

At an overall length of 27' 8" (with swim step) and a beam of 8' 6",

the R23 makes the most of its compact dimensions. It has a draft of 2' 6", making it ideal for shallow waters exploration. The boat's weight is roughly 5,000 lbs (dry), and it has a fuel capacity of 80 gallons. This makes for a decent cruising range, especially when coupled with its efficient power plant.

The R23 is a trailerable tug with an ingenious layout, allowing for maximum utility within its compact footprint. The boat features a spacious cockpit with a wraparound bench and removable table, great for casual outdoor dining or converting into a sun pad. The cockpit also features a convenient outdoor galley with a sink and a Kenyon electric grill, great for those who enjoy alfresco cooking.

The cozy cabin is surprisingly roomy, featuring a convertible dinette/v-berth at the bow, a mid-berth for two, and a private head with shower. The interior is filled with attractive teak and holly flooring, lending an air of elegance and warmth.

Engine Options and Performance

The standard engine package on the R23 is a Yamaha F200, 200HP, outboard motor. However, if you desire more power, you can opt for the Yamaha F250, 250HP outboard. The engines are not only efficient but also offer a commendable performance with top speeds reaching up to 31 knots with the F200 and 34 knots with the F250.

For those who wish to make long-range, slow cruising, the R23 can maintain a respectable speed of around 7 knots at an incredibly efficient burn rate.

Other Features and Options

Ranger Tugs didn't skimp on the tech either. The helm features a standard Garmin 942xs chartplotter with sonar, which can be upgraded to the Garmin 8612xsv for those who want a larger, more feature-rich navigation package. The helm also includes a VHF radio, Fusion stereo system, and an optional bow and stern thruster package for easier maneuvering.

Some of the other optional add-ons include a solar panel, air conditioning, a bimini top or full canvas enclosure for the cockpit, and an anchor package with a Lewmar windlass, among others.

Comparisons and Reviews

In the realm of compact cruisers, the R23's closest competitor is perhaps the Cutwater 242 Sport Coupe. While the Cutwater does offer a sportier look and feel, the R23 outshines it in terms of comfort and seakeeping ability, according to a review from Boating Magazine.

In a comparison review by Yachting Monthly, the R23 was lauded for its rugged construction, thoughtful layout, and impressive fuel efficiency. It was remarked that "the R23 isn’t just a boat; it's a versatile marine solution that serves as a day cruiser, fishing vessel, and a family weekender."

Final Thoughts

The Ranger Tugs R23 is a masterclass in compact cruiser design. It exemplifies the old adage that good things come in small packages. Its efficient performance, spacious design, and the wealth of optional features make it a compelling choice for anyone looking for a compact, yet comfortable cruiser.

While it's not without competition, the R23 holds its own and often surpasses others in its category. As aptly put by Power & Motoryacht magazine, "The Ranger Tugs R23 is a little boat with a big heart, designed for those who value comfort and practicality over sheer speed."

In short, whether you're an experienced captain or a family looking for a weekend getaway vessel, the Ranger Tugs R23 may just be the perfect match. Happy boating!

Charlie Hardcastle
Charlie is Editor-in-Chief of Sea Magazine
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