Ranger Tugs R-41 Makes the Best of an Extra 10 Feet

As I made my way toward the aft stateroom on the new Ranger Tugs R-41, I had visions—maybe it’s not too strong to say a brief, waking nightmare—about all the nights I’d spent as a kid crammed into the quarter berth next to the engine room on my parents’ boat. The noise, the lack of natural light, the inability even to stand upright without slamming my head into the bulkhead: I feared all of those things and more were about to befall me yet again as an adult.

The visibility over the bow and smartly arranged flybridge console makes driving al fresco a breeze

The visibility over the bow and smartly arranged flybridge console makes driving al fresco a breeze

But then, I saw the queen-size berth. The en suite head. The sunlight streaming inside through the ports as I stood tall without having to crouch even an inch.

This stateroom, which is in addition to the R-41’s queen-berth master, was more than a pleasant surprise just for me. It was a revelation about the builder’s vision for the boat itself.

The sun sets over the Olympic mountain range. 

The sun sets over the Olympic mountain range. 

The R-41 represents the culmination of a three-year process that has seen Ranger Tugs introduce different design cues, hull form changes and, now with this new flagship, a heck of a lot more space. A full 10 feet longer than the next-biggest model in the Ranger Tugs lineup, the R-41 adds an even bigger curved front windshield and interior creature comforts while maintaining the faster speeds that smaller, newer models brought to the builder’s program. For the parent company of Ranger Tugs, called Fluid Motion, the R-41 is a showpiece of what’s possible, far beyond what’s been built in the past, and yet totally familiar at the same time.

The crew descends upon quaint Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

The crew descends upon quaint Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

To see just how much space the R-41 allows, I joined a crew from our sister publication Power & Motoryacht along with two Ranger Tugs representatives for a three-day, two-night cruise to the San Juan Islands. All told, there were six of us grown men aboard, some who’ve had more than their fair share of pizza and beer over the years (finger pointing squarely at me). Adding to the pile of humanity were loads of duffel and sleeping bags, camera and video equipment, and provisions.

I’ll be the first to admit I was amazed that all of us, and all of it, fit on board. Most everything (save the laptops and cameras) found a home out of sight, including in a multipurpose room that’s accessed through the salon sole with the push of a button. This was Hull No. 1, owned by Fluid Motion co-founder and President John Livingston, who had outfitted that room with an extra fridge and washer and dryer.

Other owners might opt for a freezer instead of the laundry machines in that space, but all told, the extra stowage speaks well for the R-41’s long-range coastal cruising credentials. When your itinerary includes finding grocery stores as well as finding a place to keep your fresh-caught salmon, this is the kind of stowage you want to have.

Toasting the first night with some homebrew on the Ranger’s aft deck.

Toasting the first night with some homebrew on the Ranger’s aft deck.

The 41’s outdoor spaces also shine with the space afforded by a beamy build that doesn’t taper too much as the lines move aft. Before ambling up for dinner, we opened a few growlers of my home-brewed India Pale Ale, and though it wasn’t raining, I knew the full flybridge cover would serve well in year-round Pacific Northwest cruising. In warmer (read: sunnier) climes, comfortably fitting all these dudes on the 41’s aft deck would be equally nice to avoid the harshest rays of the midday sun.

On a calm day, the only seas to jump were the R-41’s own wake

On a calm day, the only seas to jump were the R-41’s own wake

Our itinerary took us through Washington state’s iconic Deception Pass at slack tide and into Cornet Bay. After a quick lunch on the hook there, we headed toward the southeastern end of Orcas Island and Rosario Resort & Spa. The day was unseasonably clear and warm, so we had no rough seas for testing the R-41’s mettle, but she felt comfortable and familiar. Though she’s much bigger than the 29, the 41 feels a lot like her. She was strong and steady underfoot, but also light and nimble, as a vessel of this power-to-weight ratio should be.

A bald eagle perches on a rock outcrop near Cattle Point

A bald eagle perches on a rock outcrop near Cattle Point

As with many modern twin-engine vessels, the 41’s systems made docking a breeze. She has twin 300-horsepower Volvo Penta IPS400 drives, joystick controls and, in the Command Bridge version, upper and lower helm stations. (A Sedan version also is available.) Turns and close-quarters maneuvering were a cinch, and interior bulkheads didn’t get in the way of sightlines.

The iconic Ranger Tugs wheel detail

The iconic Ranger Tugs wheel detail

Ranger Tugs offers just a few options, with most of the popular features being standard. Options include Bimini tops, upgraded electronics, a tender or diesel heat. Ranger Tugs also offers a factory delivery experience that includes, among other things, a full day of systems and operational training.

Enjoying the large aft-deck seating area; The trip concludes with a photo on the docks in Roche Harbor

Enjoying the large aft-deck seating area; The trip concludes with a photo on the docks in Roche Harbor

The R-41 may not seem like a Ranger Tugs at first because of her sheer size, but what I found during my handful of days on board is that she’s every bit the boat for which the builder has long been known. She’s just bigger.

The crew (from left to right): Simon Murray, Daniel Harding Jr., Arnie Hammerman, John Turner, Sam Bisset, Matt Ouilette (chase boat) and the author.

The crew (from left to right): Simon Murray, Daniel Harding Jr., Arnie Hammerman, John Turner, Sam Bisset, Matt Ouilette (chase boat) and the author.

Which, to whoever ends up in that aft stateroom, is definitely better.

Specifications for the Ranger R-41 CB

LOA: 41ft. 2in. 

Beam: 14ft.

Draft: 42in.

Construction: Fiberglass

Engines: (standard) 2 x Volvo Penta IPS400

Speed (max./cruise): 24/19 knots

Fuel: 300 gal.

Water: 120 gal.

Info: rangertugs.com

This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue.

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