At the annual Seattle Boats Afloat boat show I had another opportunity to learn more about the boat that I had come to adore. After several conversations with Andrew Custis, it became clear to me that if I was ever to get a boat it, would have to be a Ranger Tug — and the folks I wanted to do business with were Andrew Custis and Jeff Messmer.
One afternoon after work, I picked up our daughter Sofie and my wife Kelley met us at the show — and for the first time the whole family got to hang out on the boat and see first-hand what this is all about. Upon leaving, I think we all felt that a new boat was in our future.
The next day I dropped by the show again, and now it was time to talk turkey. Andrew, Jeff and I sat down to discuss model, options and color, and by the time I left I had a midnight blue Ranger Tug R-27 in the queue for delivery in March 2013 — and me slightly lighter in the wallet. The whole experience was so amazing and the thought and consideration of the Ranger crew is second to none.
Now comes the hard part…waiting until March 2013
The dream takes shape…
Once introduced to the Ranger Tug line of boats, I started to learn more about the amazing community of people built around this brand – a large, extended family of boat owners across the country who help each other out by answering questions and helping with issues through well-managed forums. They also arrange boating events and trips throughout the year that focus on the social aspect of boating. I got invited to one of these events by my Ranger Tug friends, at the Bremerton Marina in 2012.
Once there, I got to see all of the various boat models for the first time, and was introduced to some of the great folks from Ranger Tugs. During this trip, I not only got to talk shop (so to speak) for hours, I also toured all the boats, and then my friends arranged for me to go out with a factory rep in the model that I fast was getting hot on, the R-27.
How did it all start?
Well, as my close friends will tell you, I am a serial hobbyist. What that means is that I immerse myself in one hobby at a time and become obsessed with mastering that. Once done, I move on to my next obsession.
Water has always had a special place in my heart, ever since I was a young boy riding my bicycle to the local pier with my fishing pole, sitting for hours looking out at the boats going by. Later in life I got the opportunity to spend one year at a Maritime boarding school, and I was hooked. Fast forward and I found myself living in San Francisco with several sailing and boating friends. Every time I brought up the idea that “maybe I should get a boat…” they would shake their heads and remind me that boating is like taking a cold shower “in your clothes” while flushing Ben Franklins down the toilet… And instead, they advised me to call them up to go out on the water whenever I got the urge to get a boat.
A few years later, due to various circumstances, my lovely family and I relocated to the Pacific North West – specifically, Seattle — and the boat bug started stirring a bit. As I looked at local maps, it became evident to me how many places could be explored by boat, and thoughts of getting a boat of my own started swirling around in my head again. I always knew that if I was going to buy a boat, it would have to be an economical little cruiser that, not unlike our trusty little WV Vanagon camper, could get us around in some comfort.
Things are rarely static in my life and suddenly I found myself in a new position within my company, plenty busy, and one afternoon the conversation in a co-worker’s office turned to boating. I sat back and talked about my dream (albeit only a dream due to the high cost) of an American Tug — and with a sly smile, my colleague pulled up a picture of a Ranger Tug R-29, HIS Ranger Tug, and from there on out I was SOLD. This was the boat I had been looking for — I just didn’t know it until I saw it. From that day forward, I consumed every piece of information I could find about Ranger Tugs, and I had begun my new “Current Obsession”