Monday, September 26, 2011

How We Got Here or

How two people and an 80 pound dog live aboard a 27 foot boat for 4 months.

It all started with our 18' SeaDoo Challenger jet boat.  Herb thought this shallow draft boat would be perfect for our shallow waters in the Laguna Madre.  Willie never liked this boat because it was rough and wet riding.  Herb liked it because it was sporty and fast.
Our search for a more suitable boat started when we saw the C-Dory CD25 owned by Jim Bathurst, our neighbor in Port Isabel.  A boat with an enclosed cabin and windshield wipers. After introducing ourselves to Jim, he became a friend and advisor in our quest for the perfect boat.  Jim introduced us to the internet group called the C-Brats.  This group is an owners group for folks that own or are interested in C-Dory boats.  The C-Brats led us to the TugNuts, a group devoted to the Ranger Tugs, and they led to the first Willie's Tug.
 Willie loved this boat, Jake loved this boat and Herb loved this boat.  We spent many hours plying the waters of the ICW and Brownsville Ship Channel watching dolphins.

While owning this 1997 Ranger Tug R21 with an 18 hp Yanmar diesel, we were introduced to the Laguna Madre Yacht Club by our neighbor Tommy Carruth.  We went on an overnight with the  club to Arroyo City on the Arroyo Colorado River.  This was a wonderful trip, but we found out that overnights on the little 21 were not very comfortable in the Texas heat and mosquitoes.  So "2footidus" set in and we continued our search for the perfect boat.

In September of 2010 we found ourselves at the Ranger Tug Rendezvous in Bremerton, WA.  We traveled to the Rendezvous with our friends Bob and Nita Ostlund in their Ranger Tug R29 from their home in Bothel, WA.  After visiting with about 40 or so Ranger Tug owners with their boats, we determined that we would purchase a new Ranger Tug R27.  This R27 is newest of the Ranger Tug lineup of trailer-able boats.  It has a 180 hp Yanmar diesel and is the largest Ranger Tug that is trailer-able without a permit, as the beam is 8.5 feet.  We placed an order for the R27 at the Rendezvous asking that it be built over the winter with our taking delivery early summer 2011.

The winter of 2010-11 was spent preparing for the new Willie's Tug.  Little Willie's Tug was advertised and sold on the TugNuts web site to a very nice couple from San Mateo, CA.  Bob and Dil drove to Texas and spent a pleasant couple of days at our home taking possession of their new boat soon to be renamed Hercules.  It was a bitter-sweet day that we watched our little tug leave Port Isabel.

Steve and Tina of the Christina Bee came for a visit and helped us enlarge our slip in preparation for bringing the new R27 home.

Russ and Toni of  Traveler came for a visit and helped confirm our decision to purchase the R27.  We showed them our dolphins and the shallow waters of the Laguna Madre.

Russ was a little nervous as we headed across  the bay in 6 foot water.  He was not prepared for that after leaving the deep water of the Pacific Northwest.

Finally the day arrived for us to load Jake in the red truck and head North and West to see and take delivery of our new Ranger Tug R27.  Everyone told us how beautiful it was, but we still had not seen it for ourselves and were just a bit anxious.

We arrive at the Ranger Tug Factory in Kent, WA. and look all over the yard for our boat.  It was no where to be found.  We go inside and see Andrew Custis and Jeff Messmer, they tell us that our boat is waiting for us in the water at the Des Moines Marina.  Andrew gives us the keys and and tells us to enjoy our evening on the boat.  He will come in the morning and start our orientation.

We get our first view of the new Willie's Tug.

The next day, we get a thorough orientation from Andrew, and start making  the boat our home for next 4 months.  Much to do.  We need to install Jake's Ferry, and learn how to use the many systems.  Since most of them are similar to our RV, we adapt quickly.  While we had become proficient with the 21, this 27 is much larger and a bit daunting.

After a couple of days in Des Moines, we load the boat on our trailer and move about 75 miles North to Anacortes.

Over the next 4 months, we cruise the beautiful San Juan Islands, Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, and Desolation Sound.

The water temperature up here has not moved much from about 52d F. except for Desolation Sound where we find water in the 70s. A refreshing change for us to be able to dip our toes in those beautiful waters.

All too soon we must load up and leave the Pacific Northwest.  We take about 10 days to work our way back to Port Isabel.  Spending some nights with friends, some in motels, and some in RV parks using Willie's Tug as a boater home.

Finally Willie's Tug is at home in the warm waters of the Laguna Madre.

We have visited by boat Center Island, James Island, Stuart Island, Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor, Spencer Spit, Jones Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, Sidney BC, Buchart Cove and Gardens, Salt Spring Island, Montague Harbor, Bedwell Cove, Desolation Sound and many others.

This article is not a complete travel-log, Willie has kept a more or less daily journal which you can see here.

Walldog aka Herb Stark, Willie aka Wilma Stark, and Jake.


Captain Jim and the Blonde said...

Great recap! We have enjoyed "following along" with your travels - looking forward to some time with the 6 of us (Jake and Izzy, too) in the Tropical Tip.

Best wishes,
Jim & Joan


Hi Guys.....Salty's crew here.....we are headed back to Anacortes this weekend...Plan to get Salty wet again on Saturday atCap Sante........are you guys still around? If so look us up....
Julie and Craig

Walldog, Willie and Jake said...

Hi Julie and Craig, Sorry, we are back in the Tropical Tip. Envy you back in Anacortes this week. Have Fun.