There’s a lot to be said for a pocket cruiser and the ingenuity required to fit all the necessities and comforts of a larger boat into a trailerable package, like the Ranger Tugs R31. But even at 31’ this can be a bit larger or a little more expensive than some want. And if there’s any builder that’s seems to have perfected shrinking trawlers down to size without losing use-ability, it’s Ranger Tugs. Now the Washington-based company proves it’s possible to be efficient with space, weight, hull form and ride in an even smaller package, with its R-27, an 8’6”-wide cruiser that’s built for week-long adventures and priced far below the cost of a full-size model.

ranger tugs r-27 trawler under way

The Ranger Tugs R-27 is a pocket trawler that's trailerable - and then some.

The R-27, which is positioned between the builder’s 25 and 29, offers the comfort and fuel economy of a larger trawler in a smaller package that also gives owners the option of going faster and exploring more anchorages on in a nimble craft. Who is it best suited for? A couple can cruise comfortably aboard, particularly if that couple wants a boat that won’t eat up their retirement savings in monthly payments and operating costs. Sure, you have to make some compromises here (that narrow beam, for instance, makes for slim sidedecks), but there are big benefits, too. Among them is performance.

The Ranger 27 is powered by a single 180-hp Yanmar 4BY2 turbocharged 4-cylinder common rail diesel engine. As you might guess, speed is not this boat's strong point, but range is. Even at a “fast” cruise between 13 and 15 knots, the boat will travel about 200 miles on a tank of fuel, which equals about two eight-hour days between fill-ups. For more efficient runs, throttle back to 7.5 knots and take in all of the sights while enjoying savings at the pump.

We like the fact that the R-27 comes standard with both bow and stern thrusters. These electric units will go a long way toward reducing the amount of stress the captain shoulders when approaching an unfamiliar dock. For those who are new to boating, this equipment is especially nice. Thrusters, and engine controls, are operated from the helm that’s adjacent to a clever companion seat arrangement. It’s a bi-fold seat that allows two passengers to sit facing forward and help the skipper keep watch. But when the hook is down and provisions are broken out, the seat folds the other way to become part of the dinette. The dinette is served by a galley with a propane stove and oven.

ranger tugs r-27 cabin

Surprise! Even though it's a pocket trawler, Ranger Tugs fits a lot of cabin space into the R-27.

For that cruising couple, accommodations include a forward cabin. If you want to bring the grandchildren along, there’s an aft berth, too, which also functions as a nice stowage space when the kids stay at the dock. The layout also includes a mini office that’s a great place to map out the next day's run.
Displacement6,200 lbs
Fuel capacity100 gal.
Fuel capacity40 gal.

Even with an LOA of just 27’1”, Ranger Tugs also manages to offer a good-sized cockpit that can accommodate as many as four fold-up chairs, which means you can invite the couple in the next slip over to join you for drinks at sun down. Hatches in the sole make for easy access to equipment and systems. Beyond the cockpit is a 78”-wide swim platform. On its aft edge, the builder installed three permanent fenders so you can tie up your dinghy without worrying about scratches.

The R-27 is a turnkey package complete with all the basics you need to go cruising at a price of about $160,000. That’s a relatively low cost compared to bigger cruising boats, but don’t assume this compact craft can’t take lumpy conditions. The bottom design is what you might expect in a semi-displacement vessel of this type, which is more trawler than planing boat. And that means the Ranger Tugs R-27 can take you the distance—affordably.

Find out more by learning why we featured the R-27 as one of Five Affordable Trawlers Under 40 Feet, or visit Ranger Tugs.

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Written by: Jeanne Craig
Jeanne Craig has been covering powerboats since 1988. She spent ten years as a senior editor at Boating magazine and ten more as executive editor at Motor Boating. She’s now an independent writer based in Rowayton, Connecticut, where she’s close to the cruising grounds she most enjoys.