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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you were to chose between Tartan 30 or Ranger 29 for cruising, which one would you pick and why? It is a similar S&S design. Rangers are not as common on the market as Tartans and they cost less. I'm sure there are reasons for it.
Thank you for your input.
 

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From what I understand, Rangers are good boats and popular for racing.

I am aware that they sometimes have a keel sump problem that allows the keel to wobble. The solution, is some kind of metal grid or cross, built into the bilge area. It's not a casual task, but it doesn't make the boat worthless either.

For cruising, I think I'd take the Tartan 30.
 

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Looks like the Ranger 29 was designed by Gary Mull:
RANGER 29 (MULL) sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

The Tartan 30 came in two configurations, aft galley and starboard galley. If it were me, I would choose the aft galley but you loose one quarter berth, the starboard galley config has two quarterberths which makes for more storage/guests. My cousin has the starboard version with the Atomic 4 engine. The A-4 is a nice engine if maintained and has plenty of power, easy to work on but then you have the whole gas fume issue versus diesel. I do know that the Tartan sails quite nicely!
Don't know much about the Rangers.
 

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The Ranger 29 is an encapsulated keel... ie the keel form is part of the mold and the ballast fills that cavity.. no keel bolts, so very unlikely any 'wobble'. She's a sweet sailor, the Mull Rangers, esp the cruising ones (23/26/29/33) are surprisingly slippery and sail well to their ratings. The racer cruisers (28/32/27) are more extreme IOR influenced hulls with a lot of tumblehome, bolt-on keels and more extreme rig dimensions (short E) and tend to be the typical death roll machines comparatively speaking.

Our son's 'first boat' of his own was an R29. It served him and his family well, and they did well in beer can racing. Since moved up to a C36 but still he has a 'soft spot' for #1. In the '80s my brother owned an R28.. we had fun with that boat but she was 'sailed hard and put away wet' as they say.. bit of a wild ride in a breeze.

OTOH the T30 seems to be universally well-regarded, so I'd say it comes down to which one simply 'feels' more right when you're on board.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
You are right, Ranger is a Mull design but this one looks like a S&S knockoff. I think both were IOR 1/2 ton designs. R32 was designed as an IOR 3/4 tonner - looks like a very solid boat but too big for me.
 

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I was looking for a ranger 29 at one point. A very sweet boat.

But the keel CAN have a wobble as the survey I ordered for the boat pointed out.

There was no apparent stress crack or anything like that but you could move the keel slightly relatively to the hull by yanking on its bottom as it was hanging on the lift.

I remember feeling (hard to access at the time) that the cross-members (or at least one) were debonded in the keel sump so that might be all there was to it.

But again, that being said it felt like a very sweet boat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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Good, that's clear.. but to me the R 29 has a greater resemblance to some Ray Hunt designs than "S&S".. No matter; once one knows of the 2 designs they are clearly quite different, as you say.

The 29 is a much better behaved sailing boat than the 28. The Tartan should be more in line with the 29, I'd think..
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ranger 29 is faster than Tartan 30 but it also has less room (Tartan is longer and beamier). Not sure about workmanship on Rangers. Tartans are usually well made.
 

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Ranger 29 is faster than Tartan 30 but it also has less room (Tartan is longer and beamier). ......
Have you been aboard both to see how the extra length and beam translates into living space? and storage space?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Have you been aboard both to see how the extra length and beam translates into living space? and storage space?
I have been on the Tartan but not the Ranger and the boat looked huge to me (my current big boat is only 20 feet and I easily spend 2 weeks at a time on it). I am more of a minimalist sailor so room is not as critical a draft for example. NC has a lot of water but a lot of it is shallow - Ranger draws a bit less than Tartan. I will be mostly singlehanding so that is a factor too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
But that is a boat I'm planning to cruise for prolonged periods of time and take to Bahamas and likely further south to the islands.
 

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The engine access on the T30 is truly amazing.
Quite a good sailor too.
A few flavors of T30 as well.
There is a "C" rig (C for competition - longer mast, maybe deeper keel)
and a Std rig.
 

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With offshore passages in mind, I'd expect most would choose a good Tartan over the Ranger.
 

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You should also consider the Yankee 30, which is a close cousin to the Tartan 30. The Yankee has some nice properties compared to the Tartan:
* Chainplates go to fiberglass knees bonded to the hull instead of to wooden bulkheads
* It has huge cockpit lockers instead of interior quarterberths.
* There are vertical drawers alongside the hanging locker, which I think makes a little better use of the same space.

A downside is that the Yankee 30 is a little less beamy, and thus has a little less interior room. It also has less freeboard and windage, so it might be a hair faster.

Both are well built boats and have more in common than to differentiate them (including the great central motor location).
 

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I looked at one Tartan 30 that had the galley to starboard. I think I would much prefer an aft galley. I enjoyed sailing it, very responsive but the boat just did not turn me on. I don't know if it was that cork floor, or just the general condition of the boat. It did not seem to have nearly the fit and finish of the bigger Tartans I have seen, but again it may just have been the condition of the one I looked at. They were asking way to much too, and ended up selling for less than half what they started asking. I think I would have offended them if I told them what I thought it was worth!
 

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With offshore passages in mind, I'd expect most would choose a good Tartan over the Ranger.
Why is that?
I could be wrong, but my perception is that the Tartans were generally a higher level product than the Rangers in the '70s, and more likely intended for a tough passage like Bahamas to the eastern Caribbean.. As a coastal cruiser the Ranger might be the overall more enjoyable boat to sail.

Alex's suggestion of the Yankee 30 was great.. she's a much closer cousin to the Tartan and they offer a pretty big bang for your buck for boats of that vintage, type, and era.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Alex's suggestion of the Yankee 30 was great.. she's a much closer cousin to the Tartan and they offer a pretty big bang for your buck for boats of that vintage, type, and era.
Unfortunately Yankee 30 is not a very common boat, especially on the East Coast.
 
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