1 POCKET . CHANGE . Small, trailerable cruisers are expanding boating destinations with their value and versatility B Y S T E V E K N A U T H. J. eff Messmer remembers well the In fact, North America's cruising grounds are more It's a major factor, says Mitch Sorbrera, founder of Seattle Boat Show in January 2006. accessible than ever, as builders apply the latest ad- Retro Marine of Salem, Mass., which is planning a big- He was unveiling a 25-foot tug vances in navigation and communications, construc- ger version of its successful 21-footer. It really ex- at one of the biggest boat show tion, safety and reliability to their trailerable boats. pands your ability to go traveling. Get yourself a small on the West Coast, where a thou- With these versatile 21- to 27-footers, it's truly the day SUV or truck, and you can tow the small cruiser any- sand vessels vie for the attention of the destination boater.
2 Where and launch it, go out for a week, come back, of buyers. What's more, his salty, I think [the POCKET cruiser owner] is a little more hook up and go someplace else. I have a customer little cruiser wasn't finished; it adventure-minded; they're not just going out to party based in the Florida Keys who tows his boat all over was just a hull with a partial interior and no deck. A for a day or even a weekend, says Messmer. We the country.. graphic display filled in the missing details. But the in- have one owner who spent 78 days on his boat and Messmer agrees. Fully half of our customers are in- board-powered, trailer-ready vessel with the tugboat covered 3,000 miles cruising southeastern Alaska.
3 An- terested in the trailer aspect of cruising, he says. lines caught on. other boat is out doing the Great Loop up the East Not everyone wants to navigate down the ICW. We sold 13, says Messmer, vice president of sales Coast, over to the Great Lakes and back down to the They can tow a POCKET cruiser behind a vehicle and and marketing for Ranger Tugs, of Kent, Wash. That Gulf of Mexico. It's that type of boater. gain the flexibility to do the coast of Maine, for exam- number has grown to nearly 80 now, sold through Rosborough agrees. People moving to these boats ple, and then trailer inland to [New Hampshire's]. some 20 dealers nationwide. are usually seasoned boaters, really experienced, he Lake Winnipesaukee.
4 Call it the power of the POCKET cruiser. And it's cer- says. And they do tend to be adventurous. People Price is another attraction. POCKET cruisers start the tainly not the domain of just Ranger Tugs. In Nova take delivery of their boats up here and take them in the low to middle five figures and run to about Scotia, Rosborough Boats continues to turn out a 25- home themselves, through the [St. Lawrence] Seaway $150,000 or more, depending on engines and op- foot trailer-trawler at a steady pace, as it has for more or the Bay of Fundy. tions. The Retro 21 can get a couple started for than 20 years. around $33,000. People have learned about the sensibility of these The practical side Our customers believe they're getting a good NEIL RABINOWITZ.
5 Cruisers, says Bob Rosborough, president of the fami- Besides the promise of distant horizons, what do value, considering what the boat is and what it can ly-owned business in Halifax. They like the value; you get in a POCKET cruiser? Behind the poetry there's do, says Messmer. they like the economy. You can trailer it. You can go a practical side, and for many owners trailerability Propulsion packages outboard and inboard . single-handed. You can take it almost anywhere. heads the list. tend to feature efficiency and economy over speed 40 Soundings April 2008. Ranger calls its R-25 a trailerable mini-yacht, with a large saloon/. pilothouse and accommodations for six. C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R.
6 And power. The Retro 21 runs on a single 70-hp 4- heating systems and hot water heaters to custom elec- Acadia 25. stroke Suzuki. Cruising speed is around 18 knots, and tronics and bow thrusters. Many of our buyers are It's unusual for a Florida builder to produce a Down fuel consumption is minimal. I like the small en- getting away from the fuss of owning a big boat, says East boat, but that's just what Atlas Boat Works in gines, says Sorbrera. Going out and spending $300 Messmer. But they like the fact that the POCKET cruis- Cape Coral has done with the Acadia 25. The builder or $400 on fuel for a weekend takes a lot of the kick er can have all the systems they're used to. For exam- calls the all-fiberglass boat a lobster boat design re- out of boating, regardless of your income.
7 I wanted ple, we offer a bow and a stern thruster on our boat, fined into a pleasure yacht meeting the demands my boats to literally sip fuel. One customer reported and every one we've delivered has had both. of the weekender, cruiser and fisherman.. back after a weekend outing: ran boat 10 The look is certainly traditional. A trunk hours; fuel usage, seven gallons. cabin with eyebrow trim and a large pilot- Ranger favors diesel. In fact, it's offering a You can trailer it, you can go house top a long, even sheer line. The 25-footer's special diesel package this year, featuring the bow is gently curved, the freeboard is ample, new Cummins 2-liter power plant. It's rated at single-handed, you can take and the stern is wide and low, much like the 130 to 150 hp and should give us 15 knots, Maine fishing boats it's related to.
8 Those says Messmer. That's a good trawler speed. it almost anywhere. boats have single-engine power, and so does The basic POCKET cruiser layout goes for the Acadia. A 110-hp Yanmar diesel will deliv- practicality, too. The floor plan is usually cen- Bob Rosborough, Rosborough Boats er a 12-knot cruise speed, and 150-hp and tered on a wheelhouse or extended pilothouse 180-hp power plants are offered for the more with a galley and dinette. The galley might have a In other words, small doesn't mean less. You're ac- performance-minded. one- or two-burner stove, pressure water and a stan- tually opening yourself up to more cruising, says The starboard-side helm station has a raised bucket- dard or optional refrigerator.
9 The dinette normally Retro's Sorbrera. You can go exploring Kent Island style seat, destroyer wheel and compact fiberglass converts to a berth. The helm station has a dash or in the Chesapeake and then do Martha's Vineyard in console. The middle pane of the three-pane wind- console for instruments and, in some models, a New England without having to take the time and ef- shield opens, as does the side window. There's a small nav station. There's a forward cabin and en- fort to make the passage from one to the other. The companion seat to port, and the offset companion- closed head and shower, and a few boats may offer POCKET cruiser gives you more legs. way leads to the cabin below. a midcabin berth, as well.
10 Here's a look at eight trailerables that are drawing The layout is simple but complete, with cruising Amenities run the gamut, from air conditioning, destination boaters to the cruising life. comforts for two. There's a V-berth forward with stor- Soundings April 2008 41. age beneath and an overhead hatch. The L-shaped galley comes with a sink and one-burner stove, and there's ample room for an under-counter refrigerator. The enclosed head compartment contains a marine head, vanity sink and shower. The white fiberglass in- terior is trimmed in finished wood, giving the cabin a traditional look. Cruising amenities include a hot water heater, op- tional air conditioning and shore power, and an ex- tended hardtop.