A New Boat and a Fine Wine by Craig Fuller

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Among the personal passions accompanying me from the West to Washington nearly 40 years ago were boating and wine (not necessarily together). Perhaps it’s the elongated winter (as Howard Freedlander elegantly described here recently; but, it most certainly is due to a new boat in our family that I’ve had an increased focus on the beginning of a new boating season. Recently it struck me that my focus reminds me of what happens in the wine country with the harvesting of grapes for fine wine.

As with the harvesting of grapes, one works for weeks and months preparing for a moment that turns out largely dependent upon the weather. Is it too cold, too windy, too wet are all questions asked about placing boats in the water as well as picking grapes from the vine. Then, in both cases, once a decision is made all sorts of things are set in motion.

Ranger Tug Tranquility

The added focus this year, for me, around a new boating season on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, is a new boat. And, it really is not just a new boat, it is a new chapter in my boating life. From early on in California, I sailed. First with my uncle and cousins in Newport Beach followed by sailing in San Francisco Bay during high school, and later as crew for Wednesday night racing out of Marina del Rey while I was in college. It wasn’t long after arriving in the Washington, D.C. area in 1981 that I was sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, a magnificent and magical body of water.

Late last year, as I looked ahead to a new boating season, I knew it was time for something different and the idea of a small trawler entered my head only to develop into a full-blown notion that it was time for more creature comfort on the water while moving at about the same speed. Upon landing on a bold, if not fully developed, plan to find a vessel that met a standard my neighbor described as room for six at cocktail time, four for dinner and sleeps two, I discovered the world of Ranger Tugs.

These days, there are online forums for any fascination, and so I became a full-fledged member of TugNuts, the online forum for those with an interest in Ranger Tugs and Cutwater boats. I learned just how much people enjoyed these boats whether they were aboard for a day, a week, a month or, for some, living aboard.

The quest for a vessel did not take me far. A dealer that specializes in these boats is in nearby Grasonville, Maryland. After looking at the previously owned boats and envying the brand new ones, I found the perfect answer in a briefly owned 2017 Ranger Tug.

Tranquility, as I named her, entered the water on March 30th. After a superb orientation – the Garmin system rivals any aircraft avionics package I’ve used – she and I headed out on a windy and occasionally rainy day for Trippe Creek and her new home. Yes, for me the 2018 boating season has begun. But, on that cold and wet day, I was warm, dry and comfortable at the helm. Foul weather gear was onboard but not a consideration during my four-hour cruise.

So, a new chapter has begun. In our climate on and around the Chesapeake Bay, being in a warm, dry place makes for a longer boating season than I would otherwise enjoy while sailing. Of course, sailing is where I started and I no doubt will always enjoy it; but, this new experience is one I am going to savor. It is like harvesting grapes from a new vineyard where you know what you’ve enjoyed in the past is still available, but the anticipation of what lies ahead is very exciting.

So, if you see the Ranger Tug Tranquility on the water or at a marina, stop and visit. And, for guests and for the captain in the evening, there will always be some wine onboard in the refrigerator…did I mention it comes with a refrigerator?

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

Is article is also a podcast. Listen to it here.

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