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What’s an ideal boat for cruising North America’s Great Loop? Answers abound, but the Ranger Tugs R-43 Command Bridge makes a strong case.
Built for the Pacific Northwest, the R-43 CB that I got aboard proved rugged and able for rough, near-coastal waters. Twin Volvo Penta IPS450 pod drives give the boat efficient low and high cruise speeds at 7 and 18 knots, respectively, combined with a 3-foot-6-inch draft.
In the pilothouse, the helm has Garmin and Volvo Penta electronics displays, along with video cameras to monitor the engine room and aft deck. The throttle/shift levers and joystick are alongside the skipper’s seat, and a sliding door leads to the starboard deck. Volvo Penta’s Dynamic Positioning System is optional. A 7.5 kW Westerbeke genset fueled by a 30-gallon diesel tank provides AC power.
The master stateroom has an island queen berth, an office with a desk, and an enclosed head with a shower. The combination pilothouse and salon is bright and open, with a galley, dinette and lounge (the guest stateroom is beneath).
The R-43 CB’s cockpit and beamy swim platform create an adaptable outdoor living space. Three insulated lazarette hatches on electric rams provide access to the engines and pod drives. The cockpit’s focal point is a pair of three-person lounges with tables that can face forward side by side, rotate to face each other with the tables coming together, or turn aft side by side for watching sunsets. The cockpit also has a sink and ice maker to port and steps to the command bridge. Tucked under the lower step’s hinged tread is an after helm with a joystick for docking.
The upper deck accommodates a 12-foot RIB with a 20 hp outboard and davit. The command bridge has a fully equipped helm, seating for eight, a sink, refrigerator and grill. An optional Bimini top shades the space.
The owners of the R-43 Command Bridge that I got aboard recommend the optional Factory Delivery Experience, including three days of instruction in boat systems, handling and maintenance on Puget Sound conducted by Ranger’s customer-service team. As you read this, the boat and its well-trained owners will be making their way around this classic circuit.
Cruising In Comfort
Home-type amenities in the salon include a leather recliner, a great addition for living aboard. Likewise, the master stateroom has an office with a desk large enough for a laptop, a printer and file storage. The R-43 CB’s U-shaped galley
has meal-prep counter space, a butcher block, a propane stove with a broiler oven, a double sink and a pantry lazarette.
Weather or Not
I got a good look at the R-43 CB with northeast winds in the midteens, 2- to 3-foot seas with short periods, and spitting rain. The bow threw spray, but vertical windows and Rain-X cleared the view, even without the triple wipers engaged. The optional Quick MC2²X gyrostabilizer kept boat roll to a minimum.
Ranger Tugs engineers fit a guest stateroom with standing headroom, a queen berth, and an enclosed head with a shower beneath the starboard lounge.
Take the next step: rangertugs.com