That nostalgic tug-like look of Ranger Tugs has always struck an emotional chord with mariners, but when it comes to the all-new R-43, you’ll find that this boat gets your heart pumping full tilt for a slew of different reasons. How many “tug” boats have a pair of private staterooms with en-suite heads and showers, queen berths, HDTVs, and USB charging ports? How many have a luxury salon with a wine chiller, multiple settees and a leather recliner, and two dining areas? How many enjoy joystick steering at both the helm and in the cockpit? Not only can you count how many are out there on one hand, you can count ‘em on one finger.
Before we move on from those joystick controls: Twin IPS pod drives ensure excellent handling and maneuverability wherever you may be steering from, and the boat also performs one heck of a lot better than the tugs of yore. The R-43 cruises at over 20 knots and tops out at around 25 knots. That’s certainly not speed demon territory, but it’s also by design. The R-43 rides on a semi-displacement hull to provide slow speed efficiency as well as the ability to goose the throttles now and again. If you ease those throttles back to a mellow cruise of around seven knots, you’ll burn a mere two gallons per hour and enjoy a range pushing close to 1000 miles. That means you could meander from Havre de Grace to Norfolk and back four or five times before refueling.
While a luxurious interior and modern performance wrapped in a classic look is great, many boaters will agree that the most attractive thing about this boat is the flybridge. It. Is. Immense. The bridge has a forward helm with a wide bench seat, wraparound seating for eight, an outdoor galley with a grill, refrigerator, and wet bar, and plenty of space left for the davit and dinghy. Plus, getting up there is a piece of cake even for the mobility-challenged thanks to the use of an integrated staircase rather than a clunky flybridge ladder.
Another roomy outdoor area is the aft cockpit. It has niceties like a sink and icemaker and a large dinette. But that dinette is more than meets the eye. The facing settees swivel around to become double-wide forward-facing seating to maximize your comfort level while cruising. Capping it off, there’s a swim platform so monstrous that calling it a double-wide wouldn’t be doing it justice. Combine that platform with the side-entry door and getting aboard will be easy no matter what sort of mooring situation you have.
Even though Ranger Tugs has a lot more room to work with in the R-43 as compared to their smaller offerings (this is, after all, the queen of their fleet), you’ll still discover the innovative use of available space that this builder is known for. Under the dinette, for example, on most boats of this size there will be storage or belowdecks cabin space. In this case, however, swing up the dinette and you’ll discover a utility room with a washer and dryer. And they’re full-sized units, not those mini-appliances that can barely handle more than a swim suit and a pair of socks. Additional examples abound: the saloon TV is integrated into a countertop and rises up at the press of a button, the circular shower stall door slides flush with the head bulkhead to open up the entire area for additional elbow room when the shower isn’t in use, and in the forward stateroom you’ll discover a nook is carved out to port of the berth to create a workspace with a desk and drawer.
Do you want a boat appropriate for long-distance cruising as well as day-boating? A boat that’s designed with creativity, smarts, and for maximum luxury? The Ranger Tugs R-43 has all that—and it’ll also tug at your heartstrings each and every time you look at it.
By Lenny Rudow
Ranger Tusg R-43 Specifications:
Draft (max.): 3’6”
Displacement: 32,000 lbs.
Max HP: 680
Fuel Capacity: 300 gal.
Water Capacity: 120 gal.
Price: approx. $849,937
Local Dealer: Pocket Yacht Company in Grasonville, MD. (888) 519-9120 or pocketyachtco.com