By Lenny Rudow
Ranger Tugs R31: Pocket Trawler Panacea
Smaller doesn't mean less, when it comes to the livability and comfort you can find in a pocket trawler like the Ranger Tugs R31.
The Ranger R31 may not have made Yachtworld’s list of the top Five Pocket Trawlers for Value and Versatility, but we’d bet our bottom dollar that this is only because the R31 didn’t exist yet when that list was made. After spending some time on this model, it’s perfectly clear that Ranger managed to pack an entire yacht into this “little” boat and it should be a strong candidate to top anyone’s list.
From the moment you step aboard you’ll be reminded of the “there’s an app for that” commercial, except that in this case, the saying would be “there’s a space for that”. Can you find room for a second stateroom aboard a boat of this size? Of course—just carve it out underneath of the dinette. How about enough space for a pair of double-wide lounge seats in the cockpit? Sure, simply create fold-out seats that bump out of the cockpit and over the water. How about a third steering station? Integrate it into the cockpit wet bar. If you can find a perk or pleasure aboard a 40-footer, chances are Ranger has designed it into the R31.
This model was meant to be trailerable, so the flybridge folds down to reduce overhead clearance. That’s great, but since its beam is 10’ (which means you’d need a special permit to trailer it in most states) few people are going to haul it down the highway in the first place. That said, you can still get from port to port with a lot more speed than other trawlers allow, since the R31 is something of a “slo-fast”. The hull is designed to provide both displacement speed efficiency and planing ability, with cruising speeds at up to 16 knots courtesy of the stock 300-hp Volvo Penta D4 diesel. The down-side to this boat’s hull design is stability; jump from one side of the cockpit to the other, and like most boats of this nature, you can start it rolling in no time.
If you’ve looked at some of this builder’s smaller models, like the Ranger Tugs 27, the 25 Sport Cockpit, or the Cutwater 28 (also built by Ranger’s parent company Fluid motion, LLC), you probably expected them to pack a lot of goodies and a healthy dose of innovation into this package. What you might not have expected is the level of fit and finish the R31 offers. Inside it not only holds everything you’ll find on a yacht, it also looks like a yacht. Teak is used from the sole to the cabinetry to the trim, a flat-screen TV pops out of the overhead, opening ports are brass, and countertops are solid-surface Karadon. Even perks that would commonly be considered cost-adding options, like the six-bottle wine chiller and the master stateroom entertainment center, are included as standard features.
|Fuel capacity||180 gal.|
|Water capacity||80 gal.|
Speaking of cost: As you might suspect at this point, the R31 doesn’t come cheap. In fact, it’ll cost you close to $300K, which is pretty darn expensive for a 31-footer. Then again, the only thing about this boat which is 31 is its LOA as gauged with a tape. By any other measure, the R31 is a lot more like a 40-something.
- Lenny Rudow is Senior Editor for Dominion Marine Media, including Boats.com and Yachtworld.com. With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, he has contributed to publications including Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design who has won 28 BWI and OWAA writing awards.
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