Ever since I was a kid, I've loved the idea of going off on a boat of my own. The independence of self-supported on-the-water life had a romantic appeal before I even understood what "romantic appeal" meant: do what I want, go where I want, when I want, in a boat small enough to explore all those little waterfront nooks and crannies the grownups never seemed to have time for. After all, summers were already way too short.

The Ranger Tugs R-23 is a trailerable mini yacht that has separate sleeping for two or sleeping two together with the filler-cushion.

I've since discovered I don't really like being on boats by myself. The pleasure of life on the water is better shared, whether kicking back with a cocktail on the hook or winning a sailboat race.

But pocket trawlers have reinvigorated my childhood fantasy. If I only had one of these little beauties, I'd have everything I needed within reach—and the mobility to explore wherever and whenever I wanted. And judging by the popularity of stories about small salty cruisers, I'm not the only one who dreams of ditching life ashore and heading out on something simple, good looking, and practical.

As Tom Tripp says in Pocket Trawlers: Five for Value and Versatility, "The terms 'mini trawler' and 'pocket tug' don’t really have precise definitions, yet both connote a small, salty vessel that’s probably a jack-of-all-trades and won’t break the bank."

That's a very appealing combination... though there are several banks, including my own, that would in fact be broken by the price of a boat like this. Still, compared to larger vessels, they are affordable to buy—and more importantly in terms of my exploration fantasies, quite affordable to run. The trailerable ones could even be stored in the right back yard for the off season—unless, of course, you are off exploring year round.

Tom also reviewed the Ranger Tugs R-31: More Pocket Trawler for your Trailer.


The Nordic Tugs 26 has a lot of interior volume for its length.

Five Affordable Trawlers Under 40 Feet increases the size limit by ten feet. But the idea is the same, as Jeanne Craig explains: "Trawlers are often associated with grand cruising plans, but you don’t always need a yacht-sized model to achieve your dreams of traveling to distant ports in comfort and efficiency."

So on I'll dream, admiring photos of various designs, comparing features, all in preparation for that distant day when I'll go off on my own, to explore all those coastal nooks and crannies. Maybe they should really be called "Pocket Dreamers."

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Other Boats We Love


Written by: Carol Cronin
Carol Cronin has published several novels about the Olympics, sailing, hurricanes, time travel, and old schooners. She spends as much time on the water as possible, in a variety of boats, though most have sails.