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Cottonwood Canyon, Lake Powell

Good Morning Cottonwood Canyon

Our last morning in Cottonwood Canyon was as still as could be. This made it even harder to leave this beach anchorage, but we knew we would have a morning full of visual delights as we headed out towards our day's destination, Davis Gulch and Llewellyn Gulch. The sky and water could not be bluer and the rock walls stood in high contrast as the sun slowly turned them a bright orange.

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Kismet Beach Anchored, Oak Bay, Lake Powell

Two-Night Stay in Oak Bay

On our fourth day out, we found the well protected, but wide open, Oak Bay for a couple night stay, we shared a beach with only one other houseboat. This is one of the most popular bays for boaters in Lake Powell. Today we were more comfortable with picking a spot on the beach and it only took us a few minutes to tie ourselves down, mostly because we'd left our lines and spare anchor tied in place on the boat. Most days, we’d leave our beach anchorage to explore new canyons. Later, about mid-day, we’d start looking for a new beach campsite, early enough to enjoy our new surroundings and take in the Technicolor sunsets. At night, we were mesmerized by the bright, almost full, rising moon which grew bigger every night over the luminous, orange rock, formations until the darkening reddish-yellow glimmer of the rock diminished and the light of the moon alone lit up the canyons in…

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Kismet Cruising Cathedral Canyon, Lake Powell

Cruising Cathedral and Secret Canyons

The mystery of the unknown is one of the most compelling reasons why we love exploring new (to us) boating destinations. Lake Powell more than satisfied our quest to be inundated with awe inspiring sights as we made our way up the lake, around the crested buttes and all the rock canyons that the lake has to offer. At 186 miles long, with 2,000 miles of shoreline and 96 uniquely named, and flooded, canyons, there was always something new to see, just around the next bend. Our first narrow canyon cruising exploration came on our third full day on the lake.  While in route to Oak Canyon, our proposed beach campsite for the night, we left the main body of water to explore both Cathedral Canyon and Secret Canyon. As we entered Cathedral Canyon first, we knew the canyon walls would narrow and narrow they did, down to points where it would have been difficult for two boats to pass each…

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Padre Bay Canyon, Lake Powell

Canyon Cruising

The Amazing Lake Powell Lisa and I have talked for a long time about our mutual interest in cruising Lake Powell on a houseboat, it's been on our to do list for quite some time. For one reason or another it never worked out until now, although it won't be on a houseboat but on our very own tug boat, Kismet. Prior to the building of the Glen Canyon Dam, which was completed in 1963, Lake Powell did not exist and boating was nothing like it is today. It took 17 years to fill the canyons up to their full pool level, which gives you an idea of how much real estate the lake covers. Although the lake is 186 miles long and travels from Arizona to Utah it has over 2,000 miles of shoreline and covers 1932 square miles. Ninety-six major canyons were flooded. The reason it took so long to fill with water is because at full pool…

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Ranger Tugs Rendezvous, Bremerton, Washington

2011 Ranger Tug Rendezvous

The Boats... They're Everywhere! Sixty-eight Ranger Tugs and Cutwaters in one place, at one time. They were many sizes, from 21 to 29 feet. If set end to end they would have measured 1,768 feet or one-third of a mile long. A rainbow of colors were represented from yellow, dark red, fire engine red, blue, green, tan and white with owners from as far away as Maine and New York, on the east coast, Michigan, Texas, California, Montana, Colorado and Oregon. Most were from the Washington State, many hailed from British Columbia, Canada. With 68 boats present, Lisa and I had an opportunity to witness first hand how these Tugnuts (Ranger Tug owners) equip their boats with dinghies, cockpit tables and chairs interior and exterior storage containers, anchors and so on. With only two weeks of ownership behind us these are all things that are of interest to us, being new Ranger Tug owners, so we were more than anxious…

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Ranger Tugs Kismet

Sea Trial Fun – Kent, Washington

The big day finally arrived, the day we saw the results of our long planned transition into becoming owners of a Ranger Tugs R27 trailerable trawler. We were so excited to see our new boat, we arrived an hour earlier than scheduled to start our new boat orientation and sea trial with Andrew. Andrew Custis, Ranger Tugs Customer Service Manager, is responsible for our new boat training and introduction. The better part of a day was spent on Lake Washington with Andrew going through the boat systems and answering our questions, the session finished after a sea trial – Andrew wanted to make sure we had a good grasp the inner workings of our new boat. As if we were not impressed enough with our new boat, Andrew gave a top notch owners orientation... the best we’ve ever had with a new product purchase. More fun tomorrow – we load and stock the boat.

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Ranger Tugs Rendezvous

Itching to Get Back on the Water

Above photos of a Ranger Tug Rendezvous, courtesy of Herb Stark. When I was a child, our family would drive to Lake Chemung (Howell, Michigan) to spend summer weekends, a family event I always enjoyed. Like many things children look forward to, like getting to the lake, it never seemed to happen soon enough. If I said it once I’d bet I said it a hundred times, “Are we there yet?” and I’m beginning to feel the same way about heading out west to get back to boating. This time with our Ranger Tug R27 trailerable trawler. Later this summer we plan to drive 2,400 miles to Kent, Washington and pick up the R27. We'd like to get onto the water just as soon as we can get the boat into the Puget Sound. Gig Harbor will be our first stop, we’ll spend three days getting familiar with our new boat while exploring a port we've not visited before. As…

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Ranger Tugs R27

Final Decision is Made in the U.S.A.

One of Our Top Priorities was to Buy a Boat that was Made in the U.S.A. Over the last several months, we’ve learned more about trailerable trawlers, towing and tow trucks than we ever could have imagined. This knowledge has come from Internet searches, talking with manufacturers of trawlers, boat shows, marina visits, and owner forums. However, the most important source was often from boating friends and sometimes from people we didn’t know who reached out to us to share their experiences and why they bought the boat they did. We heard from a couple who, like us, had downsized their boating lifestyle; they shared their reasons for buying a C-Dory, a boat they bought for its known durability. When they traded for a larger boat they bought a Rosborough because they heard it was unsinkable and that the boat's layout was generously divided into a 1/3 for the stateroom, 1/3 saloon/galley and 1/3 for the cockpit. The couple we…

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Favors's GMC Sierra Pickup Truck

Also Made in the U.S.A.

Now that we’ll be towing our trailerable Ranger Tugs R27 cross country, down south, or anywhere in-between, we wanted a truck that could do the job effortlessly and dependably. We choose the GMC Sierra 2500 and equipped her with a Duramax Diesel engine, 4WD, trailering towing package and a few creature comforts to make our travel days more relaxing. Besides the 11-year dependable track record of the Duramax we liked the fully boxed frame, diesel exhaust brake, automatic locking rear differential and the StabiliTrak that came of the GMC. To read more about these features check out the more in depth description in our BoatUS Cruising Log dated June 1, 2011. After considerable research we found that the 3/4 ton HD’s from GMC, Chevy, Ford or Dodge, properly equipped, could have all done the job. However we ultimately favored the GM HD’s for several reasons, including the logic that Motor Trend used when they awarded the Chevy Silverado the HD Truck…

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Cutwater Salon

Another Trailerable Boat from Ranger Tugs

We recently heard about this new model trailerable boat built by Ranger Tugs. We haven't been on one yet but we'd like to check it out. Looks like a comfortable, well-built boat. For more photos and information visit their website:  

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Jim Fueling Up


With the price of fuel spiking up to as high as $5.64 gal on the water in Miami, Florida, it’s no wonder there’s so much chatter about not boating as much this summer season. For those planning on long cruises or embarking on the Great Loop I have a couple of thoughts on how to have your cake and eat it too. There are several Internet sites that provide daily updated fuel prices, the two I use are and In checking prices as I was writing this article I found fuel prices to range (eastern Florida) from as low as $3.60-gal to as high as the $5.64-gal in Miami. $2.00-gal makes a big difference in being able to afford getting out onto the water vs spending all your time thethered to the dock most of the season. Make sure to check where the best value is before fueling so you can maximize your boating enjoyment. The other suggestion…

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Nimble Nomad

Have You Heard About Either of These Trailerable Trawlers?

We recently learned of two trailerable trawlers that we had not known about when we began our search for our new Kismet. If you are looking for something different check out these two new looks. The Nimbel Nomad (left) is made in Tampa Florida, have been built since 1990; they also produce models called Wanderer and Kodiak. The Nomad version is a 25-ft. trawler built to accommodate a small outboard engine (up to 50 hp). I was able to download their brochure right off of the website for additional information. Besides the 25-ft. model there will be a new 29-ft. Nomad being designed for introduction at the Annapolis Power Boat Show in October 2011. The company's goal is to enlarge the cockpit, make the cabin two feet larger and have a separate shower for this new Nomad series. The Nomad 25 (right) is another trailerable trawler previously unknown to us. During our research we found the boat has everything one would need…

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Boca Chita

Making a Run Down to Key West

Still in Florida – we took a little break from our boat search and got back onto the water for 10 fantastic days. Our friend Rick Garton asked if we would mind taking his Fathom, Wishing Star, from Fort Lauderdale to Key West. How could we refuse such an offer? So the day after the Trawler Fest we worked our way through the busy ICW of metro Miami; we were headed 17 miles southeast to the Island of Boca Chita. If you’re heading south in this area Boca Chita is where the Florida Keys really start and we have always wanted to return to this island paradise! In a well-protected palm tree lined cove, with a break-wall, there is room for up to 20 boats to dock – it’s a great spot to stop for a day or two. We climbed up the winding stairs of the lighthouse, walked the beach and the island trail all while having picture perfect…

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Lisa On Ranger Tugs R27

Trawler Fest and the Naples Boat Show

Two Boat Shows – Lots to Consider While in Florida for the Fort Lauderdale and Naples Boat Shows, we had a free afternoon to walk along New River in Fort Lauderdale. As we were strolling the River Walk on this clear sunny day, we came across a rather large yacht named After You and thought the name seemed an appropriate description to the process Lisa and I are going through, as it relates to changing our boating lifestyle from a full-size trawler to a trailerable trawler. (The "after you" reference would, of course, refer to our previous boat, Kismet, a Fathom 40.) So far, during the boat shows, we’ve been able to tour, inspect, poke and prod our way through the Ranger 27 and 29, an Aspen 26, a 25.5’ C-Dory TomCat and a Rosborough 25’ Sedan Cruiser. Each boat has features and benefits that are unique to their boat and that’s exactly what we were wanting to investigate. As an…

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