Pocket trawlers. They’re less than 30 feet, powered by a single diesel or a pair of outboards, and many are small enough to trailer without a permit. But don’t let the “pocket” label fool you. These are small boats for big dreams.
A Mississippi couple spent a week on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, then trailered their boat to Pensacola to cruise the Florida Panhandle.
A retired Air Force officer and his wife towed their boat throughout the Southwest, exploring the famous desert lakes. And a Pacific Northwest adventurer spent 78 days on his pocket trawler, logging more than 3,000 miles along the coast of southeastern Alaska.
“These boats are capable of long cruising on both inland and coastal waters, just like the big boats,” says Peter Brown of Rosborough Boats. “What makes them different is the trailering aspect. Our owners are trailer-cruising anywhere from the Great Lakes to the Chesapeake. Low price, economical operation and the ability to trailer — those are big selling points.”
Peter Brice of North Pacific Yachts agrees. “Trailering provides people with the ability to economically cruise Alaska in the summer, Florida in the winter, and every lake and campground in between.”
The 21st century pocket trawler features new propulsion, new layouts and more amenities that make the boats attractive to an ever-widening audience. “We see all kinds of people getting into these boats — retirees, ex-sailors,” says Sam Bisset of Ranger Tugs. “They are doing the motor home thing but on the water. Instead of travel and camp, they travel and cruise.”
“The market is coming alive again,” says Brown. “And this is a great time to buy.”
North Pacific 28 Pilothouse
Canadian builder North Pacific Yachts has delivered more than 100 cruising boats as large as 43 feet. The 28 Pilothouse rides a Karl Stambaugh-designed hull, powered by a single diesel, and is designed for speed and stability. The unusual layout has a centerline table in place of a dinette, with a slide-out bench that converts to a berth. The compact galley has a two-burner propane stove, microwave and small refrigerator. The stateroom is forward, with bunks and an insert to make a double berth. The adjacent head compartment has an electric marine head and a shower. The 28 Pilothouse is powered by a 150-hp Cummins. The interior features teak-and-holly flooring, louvered cabinets and varnished teak trim.
LOA: 27 feet, 10 inches
BEAM: 8 feet, 5 inches
DRAFT: 2 feet
WEIGHT: 8,000 pounds
POWER: 150-hp Cummins diesel
FUEL: 98 gallons
CONTACT: North Pacific Yachts, Surrey, British Columbia,
Ranger Tugs has been building small trawlers in the Pacific Northwest for more than 50 years. The single-engine R-27 is a popular trailerable model with a roomy layout for long-term cruising. The interior, enhanced with wood trim, features a two-cabin layout. The master stateroom is forward, with a full-size offset double berth, and there’s a versatile cabin/office amidships with room for a desk and chair. The galley-up is to starboard and equipped with a propane stove/oven, along with a refrigerator and a microwave. The dinette converts to a double berth. The enclosed head, located aft, has a shower and an electric marine head. Bow and stern thrusters are standard; solar panels are an option. Ranger Tugs also offers a 25-foot model, the R-25SC, and 29-foot models — the R-29 and R-29S, a sedan version.
LOA: 27 feet, 1 inch
BEAM: 8 feet, 6 inches
DRAFT: 2 feet, 2 inches
WEIGHT: 6,950 pounds
POWER: 180-hp Yanmar diesel
FUEL: 100 gallons
CONTACT: Ranger Tugs, Kent, Washington,
Rosborough Boats has delivered more than 450 of the RF-246 in the last 25 years — a testament to its popularity. The boat is built in New Hampshire by Eastern Boats. The simple Sedan Cruiser floor plan has all of the basics. A master cabin is forward, with a V-berth, storage and an adjacent head compartment. In the main cabin, the helm station is set to starboard behind a large triple-panel windshield. A sliding door accesses the deck. The simple galley comes with a propane stove and an under-counter refrigerator, along with hot water. The dinette seats four and converts to a berth. The RF-246 can be powered with a single or twin outboards or a single sterndrive.
LOA: 25 feet
BEAM: 8 feet, 6 inches
DRAFT: 1 foot, 6 inches
WEIGHT: 5,400 pounds
POWER: sterndrive or outboards to 150 hp
FUEL: 120 gallons
CONTACT: Rosborough Boats, Milton, New Hampshire
Caledon Boatworks is known for its Caledon 25 pocket trawler. The newer 27 is a logical extension of that boat with a larger cockpit, a redesigned interior and additional amenities. A shower has been added to the head compartment — now cedar-lined — which was moved up to the saloon/pilothouse. The efficient galley is to starboard, equipped with a stove and oven and an under-counter refrigerator/freezer. The dinette table converts to a berth. Large windows provide good sightlines from the pilothouse helm, and there’s ample room on the dash for instruments and electronics. Tall windows let in light and ventilation. The private cabin forward has a standard V-berth and a hanging locker. The Caledon 27 has a wood interior and quality joinery.
LOA: 27 feet, 3 inches
BEAM: 8 feet, 6 inches
DRAFT: 2 feet
WEIGHT: 6,000 pounds
POWER: single outboard to 150 hp, twin 75-hp outboards
FUEL: 48 gallons
CONTACT: Caledon Boatworks, Caledon, Ontario
Nordic Tug 26
Nordic Tugs, the Washington builder, calls the Nordic Tug 26 a “classic reborn.” The pioneering model was introduced 30 years ago and is now offered in an updated version. Power comes from a single 110-hp Yanmar diesel, giving the boat an 8-knot cruising speed and a 14-knot top end. It sleeps four, with the master cabin forward, laid out with an offset double berth and a settee. The amidships head includes a wand shower. The pilothouse layout puts the helm to starboard, with a bench seat and instrument panel. A side door accesses the deck. The galley-up comes with a two-burner stove (electric, propane or alcohol), microwave and refrigerator. The dinette seats four and converts to a double berth.
LOA: 28 feet, 9 inches
BEAM: 9 feet, 6 inches
DRAFT: 3 feet, 3 inches
WEIGHT: 8,500 pounds
POWER: 110-hp Yanmar FUEL: 100 gallons
CONTACT: Nordic Tugs, Burlington, Washington
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April 2015 issue