Carl and Vicky Dalton, Ranger Tugs R-29

Soundings - - Walking The Plank -

Carl and Vicky Dalton are self­de­scribed boat nuts. Carl has owned more than 16 boats, in­clud­ing the cou­ple’s most re­cent boat, a 54-foot mo­to­ry­acht. To­day, they cruise from their home­port in Van­cou­ver, Bri­tish Columbia, all around the United States and Canada aboard their Ranger Tugs R-29, which they trailer from har­bor to har­bor. “Of all the boats we owned, the 54-footer was the big­gest,” Carl says. “We lived aboard her for eight years and cruised from Van­cou­ver all the way up to Alaska. She was a fan­tas­tic boat for what we used her for, but we had cruis­ing plans for the fu­ture that just didn’t fit with a big­ger boat.”

His life­long dream was to cruise Amer­ica’s Great Loop, a 5,500-plus-mile route from Alabama to Florida, up the East Coast, through the Erie or Cham­plain canals to the Great Lakes, and back down to Alabama. “I looked into ship­ping the 54-footer down to Alabama to be­gin the cruise,” he says, “but it would have cost be­tween $35,000 and $50,000, so we started look­ing for al­ter­na­tives.” The cou­ple fell in love with a 27-foot Ranger Tug.

“We saw one at a lo­cal boat show and im­me­di­ately knew this was the boat,” he says. “Shortly af­ter we bought it, we trail­ered her east and launched in Alabama, where we started the Great Loop cruise. The whole trip took us about a year. We en­joyed our­selves so much, we trail­ered the boat down to the Florida Keys the next win­ter. There, we an­chored out in Boot Key Har­bor. The smaller, sim­pler pack­age is just one plus of own­ing this boat. Be­ing able to trailer it opens up a world of cruis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties few other ves­sels could of­fer. We don’t miss too many things about the big­ger boat.”

Along the way, the Dal­tons met some fel­low Ranger Tugs own­ers who up­sized from the 27 to the 29. “I in­quired about trad­ing up, and they made me a deal I couldn’t refuse,” he says. “It’s slightly larger, but we can still trailer it. One of the best things about trai­ler­ing is we can stay on the boat while we’re driv­ing across the coun­try. It’s just like an RV that we can put in the wa­ter when we’ve ar­rived at our tar­get des­ti­na­tion. We just love it.”

Carl says there are some things he misses about the big boat; he oc­ca­sion­ally finds him­self want­ing a bit more space. “The big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween the Ranger Tug 29 and our larger boat, aside from be­ing able to trailer, is that it’s so much eas­ier to find ma­rina slips along the way,” he says. “Aside from that, the Ranger Tug is just eas­ier to deal with over­all. The sys­tems are nearly iden­ti­cal, but there are not nearly as many of them.”

The Dal­tons’ cruis­ing plans in­clude re­turn­ing to the Florida Keys and con­tin­u­ing to cruise in Van­cou­ver year-round. “We’ve also thought about Mex­ico,” he says. “That’s the nice thing about this boat: We can take it vir­tu­ally any­where, and that opens up all sorts of cruis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

The R-29 is the sec­ond Ranger Tug for Carl and Vicky Dalton.

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