If you go to the Yahoo!Groups, you'll find that a bunch of us Ranger 24 owners are hanging out there. The Ranger 20 owners association was active up until last year when they disbanded. The online community is still lively, so who knows? Perhaps if we have enough Ranger owners that want to get "organized" we could start another group for Western Washington? Perhaps including the rest of the US and Canada?
Kent Ranger Boats manufactured Ranger 24s in the 1970s. Not as many 24s were built as their simular sister boat, the Ranger 20 was build in the thousands. Both of them were designed by Raymond Richards, a brilliant naval architect from Seattle. I have had the pleasure of owning both a Ranger 20 and now a Ranger 24. Most people confuse Kent Ranger Boats with the California Rangers--completely different company and designers. Kent Ranger Boats sold out it's molds and company assets in the early 90s, but their Ranger 20s are so numerous and are still very highly sought after and popular today. In my opinion, the Ranger 24 is a 'best kept secret' and if you read further you'll understand why.
The predecessor to the Ranger 24 is the Haida 26 MK1. You can find the spec sheets for both vessels on Sailboatdata.com is the worlds largest sailboat database.
. The Haida 26 MK1 looks almost identical, aside from the proportional differences. The Haida 26 is also a fractional sloop vs the masthead design of the Ranger 24. HAIDA 26 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
. Comparitively, here is the info on the Ranger 24: RANGER 24 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
Also, the Haida 26 MKII was still the same hull, but the cabin top was changed shortly after they began production. I have yet to find a Haida 26 MKI for sail in the region, but if I ever do, I will jump on that one too!
If you look at the Ranger 20 (also a fractional sloop), you can see some of the same design concept in the hull shape. That shape is a trademark teardrop that really opens up the speed of the vessel as it heels, increasing the hull length. Very stable design even in rough water, very athletic for a pocket cruiser.
Some people argue that the fractional sloop is faster than a masthead. I think it mostly falls on the abilities of the sailor and how well they pilot and know their own vessel. So I think the verdict is still out on that one. Perhaps they are more efficient. I, personally, haven't seen a notable difference.
My boat was raced by the previous owners. They loved their twenty+ year run with the boat so much that they kept a complete suit of matched/numbered sails (nine all together) and upgraded the rigging. With the right modifications to the rig architecture to bring it forward into the 21st century, and the right electronics package, I believe that you can take this vessel anywhere in the world--except Padagonia. . . . Especially if you install a rugged dodger for use in the nasty weather, or to get in out of the sun.
These boats were built with positive flotation in them. The open lazerette design allows for an almost instant self bailing of the ocean-worthy cockpit design. If you look at circumnavigating boats, they generally have small and efficient cockpits. I also find the square footage/area of the mainsail to headsail proportions ideal for close hauled sailing. There isn't much weather helm that is inherent in sailboats with large mains. I've sailed other vessels of comparable size and sail area and find that the Ranger 24 is superior in many ways for solo sailing. You can single hand this boat and with the right autohelm or even bungee cords (weather permitting) the boat will sail itself.
They move quickly with little help from nature. Light weight enough to navigate in light winds, and heavy enough to be safe in foul weather.
I love my Ranger 24. It is a great boat. It will be hard to find another boat that I would like just as much in the same size range, other than--another Ranger 20 or 24.