Carl and Vicky Dalton, Ranger Tugs R-29
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.