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A Kadey-Krogen 39 in the Pacific Northwest, and a Ranger Tugs 27 Anywhere East of the Mississippi

by Peter A. Janssen 31 Mar 06:23 UTC
John and Laurie Gray © Peter A. Janssen

John and Laurie Gray could easily serve as role models for the rest of us. They keep their big boat, Tribute, a 2004 Kadey-Krogen 39 pilothouse trawler, at their home port of Everett, Washington, just above Seattle. And they keep Trilogy, which they call "our other boat," a 2012 Ranger Tugs 27, on a trailer almost anywhere east of the Mississippi River, ready to go cruising when and where the mood strikes.

The Grays are hardly new to cruising. John has been boating ever since he took sailing lessons at the San Diego Yacht Club as a kid. They are now semi-retired, living on Hat Island (between Everett on the mainland and Whidbey Island), and they've owned seven cruising boats in the past 30 years. They bought their first Ranger Tugs, a 25, at the Seattle boat show in 2007, and expanded their cruising grounds by putting it on a trailer and doing the western half of the Great Loop. Moving up, they bought a Ranger 29 from friends at a Seattle tug owners rendezvous in 2013 and did the entire Loop, some 6,000 miles, in ten months.

On the Loop, they fell in love with the cruising lifestyle. Four months after they got home they sold the Ranger and bought the Kadey-Krogen 39 in Lake Union in Seattle, and cruised up the Inside Passage, as far as Glacier Bay in Alaska. But the lure of the Loop kept calling.

The Grays went to a tug owners' rendezvous in South Florida, and then started looking for another boat for the Loop; it had to be trailerable and cost under $100,000. In four days, they found Trilogy, their third Ranger Tugs, a 27. They then cruised around Florida, took a fall trip on the Tennessee River, stored the boat one winter in Alabama and then in North Carolina. The boat cruises at 7-8 knots, although they can push it to 15 knots, and Gray says it's comfortable to live on, economical to run, and easy to launch and retrieve from a trailer.

I recently asked Gray what's next. He said that in July they'll pick up Trilogy and start a 2,000-mile trip in Buffalo, moving clockwise from Lake Erie up to Lake Huron, down the Trent-Severn Waterway, the Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Montreal, Lake Champlain and then the Erie Canal back to the start. "Then," he said, "we will move the boat on its trailer and position it for our next adventure."

For more information visit tribute-kadeykrogen39.com

This article has been provided by the courtesy of the Cruising Odyssey.

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