Is R23 big enough?

What's on your mind? Anything generic goes here.

Is R23 big enough?

Postby cstpt on Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:55 am

Last year I left the boat show the unexpected owner of a 21EC. The first season lived up to our expectations completely, except that we decided the boat is too small and slow for us to be anything more than a daysailer. I knew that would be a possibility going in, so no regrets.

This year I escaped the show with wallet intact but spent a lot of time hanging out on the R23, which has me pondering whether it would offer enough of a step up that we would feel comfortable spending nights or a week aboard. (I realize some people do that on a 21EC, but everyone has different standards of comfort.) The specific elements that seem like they would make a world of difference are the separate head, more room in the berth, an interior table, proper seating for two underway and more storage space. The potential for greater speed is also a factor, as well as quieter running at slow speeds. (I don't mind the sound of the diesel, but I never mistake it to be OFF as I used to with a four stroke outboard.)

I understand 2-foot-itis, although I've now had three boats in a row all within the same 2-foot range. I embrace the humorous outlook of a blogger who said the goal seems to be to eventually move up to a boat that is too big to operate. (Not putting any of the Ranger Tugs in that category.)

Obviously, whether a boat is big enough is entirely subjective, but I'm putting the question to R23 owners:

What have you experienced in terms of limitations? Have you traded up or are you considering doing so, and if so, how long did it take for you to come to that conclusion? Basically, how long before you started looking up?
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Re: Is R23 big enough?

Postby scross on Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:40 pm

The answer to your question all depends on what you really want to do with a RT23.
If you want to go from marina to marina and not spend more than one or two nights in a row on a mooring buoy or on the hook (using a kayak to get to shore) I think you would find the RT-23 would meet your needs. It’s a very nice boat. For what Vicki and I do with Our Journey, the black water tank holding only 12 or 13 gallons (so you can’t really stray from pump out facilities for too long) would make a RT-23 a no go.
If you want to do weeks at a time without any critical limitations of the boat’s capacities consider a RT25 - either Classic or SC flavors. Much more capability to explore remote areas without having to spend most nights in marinas.
Just my opinion!
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Re: Is R23 big enough?

Postby Water Bill on Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:37 pm

As Al says the answer to your question all depends on what you really want to do with a R-23.

First off I single hand most of the time and have no problem staying on the boat for extended periods of time. Some times at a marina but a majority of the time on the hook. I picked up Mystery Girl in Anacortes and spent three weeks on mooring bouys or anchoring out and only stopping to refuel at marinas. I left there and spent three weeks on Yellowstone Lake all but one night at the marina. I spent 26 days going down the Tennessee River and up the Cumberland River and only spent three nights at a dock. I spent four weeks on Lake Superior and spent most of the time anchored out or at remote docks on Isle Royal and the Apostle Islands. This winter I have been making trips to the St Johns River in Florida and have spent equal time at the Hontoon Island State Park Marina and anchored out.

As you can see I prefer to anchor out and the R-23 has everything I need to do that. I do carry a porta potti in case the holding tank for the head becomes full before I get to a pump out. This has happened only once. I do a lot of trailering so I really do not want a bigger boat. I have no problem launching the R-23 at boat ramps by myself. Personally I have not found any limitations to the R-23 for the way I like to cruise. I mostly cruise at 5 to 6 mph but the extra capability to speed up is there if you need it. So for me I have not seen any reason to go bigger.
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Re: Is R23 big enough?

Postby ixlr8 on Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:53 pm

The bottom line, as others have said, depends on how you plan to use the boat. We were deciding between the 23 and the 27OB. There is two of us and two dogs. For us, we felt the 23 was a good weekend boat but we felt the 27OB was a better multiple week boat. We plan on several month long trips so we went with the 27OB. If it is just you, then I think the 23 would be a good choice. The other thing for us, we felt we needed a boat that would easily do 20 kts, that did limit us to either the 23 or the 27OB. If speed is not a factor, a used 25 is also a good option.
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Re: Is R23 big enough?

Postby cstpt on Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:38 pm

If it was just me, then God only knows what I'd buy! I am, however, married to a voice of reason.

I note the advice that one should buy a boat for what one does, not what one thinks one will do. On the other hand, it's hard to know what one would do with a boat that allows for more than one does...

Finding the perfect boat is an endless pursuit, presumably even if one has endless resources. A first-world problem, to be sure.
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Re: Is R23 big enough?

Postby Don55 on Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:26 pm

Is an R23 big enough.I looked at a new 23 and a used 25. The 27 was out of my price range so I never considered it and not a good fit for me as I have a Cape Dory 28 sailboat for longer voyages. I brought my R23 home last thursday. Both are terrific boats. What decided me was the outboard. Being able to raise the motor to get onto the beach, to protect it from marine growth at my dock, ease of maintenance, and finally the storage available under the cockpit where the volvo penta would have sat is very nice. I am amazed how they managed to fit so many amenities in this little gem.

I have always been a sailor. Last year I bought my first power boat, a 16’ center console for day trips and playing on the new river in Fort Lauderdale. A great boat that did everything I wanted. Then I realized I wanted a little more. The wife wanted some creature comforts, ie bathroom, cabin, shower, etc. The R23 can go everywhere the 16’ could go. I didn’t want to lose that capability. It can go so many places my sailboat cannot go because of her shoal draft. In addition we can spend multiple nights aboard on voyages to Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys. Her 200hp OB means that she is fast enough tp make the Bahamas within reach.

It’s a personal choice. We love our R23!
Last edited by Don55 on Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is R23 big enough?

Postby Ernie on Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:01 pm

I spend a lot of time on my R23 with my wife. It's perfect for small is better people like us. It's comfortable, safe, fast, and has more storage space than we need. We cruise for weeks and stay wherever we want .
I probably will move up to a larger ranger because I can't really bring company with us on long trips. It's a trade off, getting an R31 will accomodate our grandkids and probably their parents, but it will come at a price and probably not be as fun to operate.
The R23 is super fun to operate on nice days, which is very much of the time in summer
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Re: Is R23 big enough?

Postby baz on Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:44 pm

This subject of choosing a boat has to be one that many people struggle with for good reasons. There are many accessible articles on the internet that talk endlessly about "How to choose a boat". It's probably a good place to start.

A particular boat preference is obviously a personal choice and typically made by one or two people with mutual interests and requirements. If the interests are vastly different the choice of the right boat is made increasingly more difficult, but must be reconciled to avoid future angst between the parties.

From my experience when the need for trading up or down is predicated on life changes and changing boating requirements.

Life changes in large part cannot be foretold; they happen suddenly or gradually. For this reason and if the changes have an impact on the 'boating pleasures' this will start the process of wanting to trade/change to a different boat.

So a starting point for a boat is primarily dictated by current life style, health conditions, current boat cruising requirements, boating experience and pricing, all with an eye on what can be seen/predicted to unfold in near future. For example, do you have a growing family size (your own or nearby extended family) that the boat can accommodate.... your age and possible health situation... imminent retirement... do you anticipate wanting to fish... will you be anchoring out for extended periods.... do you need A/C and heating while underway... and so on.

So, keep the above in mind when you decide on your next boat.

To deal with your enquiry....

1) The R23 is a big step-up from the R-21EC in many ways; it's wider and more stable, it's longer and wider so provides a big improvement in space (livable and otherwise), engine is a gasoline 200 HP which is a huge difference and will propel the boat as high as 40 mph making getting from A to B very quickly.

2) The R23 will cost some 2x to 3x more than the R-21EC influenced greatly by the options for the R23 chosen.

3) The R23 will cost more to maintain and uses more fuel than the R-21EC.

4) The R23 will cost more to moor than the R-21EC at a Marina unless a trailer is used at added expense.

5) The R23 will undoubtedly open up far more places for you to visit compared to the R-21EC over same time period.

6) Adding all the optional creature comforts and electronics to the R23 will make its cost encroach on the cost of the R27/OB which comes stock with all the extra creature comforts and electronics you might and could add to the R23. Pay attention to this aspect. It was this aspect that in part encouraged me to choose the R27/OB over the R23 when trading up from my R-21EC.

7) It's a very good thing to review the boats of choice on same day to obtain an accurate comparison.Take as much time as you can and start with the R23, then go over and look at the R-27/OB and then finally go one step further and look at the R29 S/CB model. This side by side comparison should impart a strong understanding of how much you like each boat. If sleeping comfort on the boat is high on your list of importance the R29 will win the day for sure.... but then pricing may halt this choice in quick order. Because of this side by side comparison it will be important to have a good understanding of what you can afford or want to spend on a boat. For example - If you know ahead of time the R29 is out of reach financially, then don't look at it unless you want to reach further into your pocket. Of course, if you can also get a quick sea trial on each boat that would be a real bonus for you.

8) Do you have experienced servicing shops nearby for the outboard or inboard Diesel engines ?

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Re: Is R23 big enough?

Postby jagizzi on Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:47 pm

We bought our R23 mostly to be a dayboat with overnight capabilities. That is very easy and long weekends are very easy in this boat. My wife was convinced, however, that we could not spend longer periods on the boat, then came Desolation Sound this year! ;-)

We planned for two weeks on the boat in Desolation and she got going on organizing things. After a couple of shakedown trips out this past summer she said she felt we were ready. Then I sprung the dog on her ;-) I couldn't leave our 15 yo lab at home so a bit more discussion and moving stuff around and all three of us were approved by my wife for the two week trip.

We had a ball, the boat was perfect, the dog was easy, the scenery was magnificent and it was awesome. So awesome that when we got back to Friday Harbor to find the house overfull I asked my wife what she wanted to do. Her answer was, "We'll just stay on the boat for the next couple of days"! Wow!!

The key is organization and as others have said, planning around the boats limitations. The holding tank is not an issue in Canada if you get out a bit, the macerator takes care of that. We spend most nights at a dock somewhere, yes, but it was still spectacular. Could we have spent more on the hook, yes, easily, except for the dog. She won't get in the dinghy so that limited us somewhat.

You can cruise the San Juans for the summer in the 23. Pump when necessary, stay on the dock when you feel like it, and get out there. We love ours. We spent the two weeks trying to decide which larger boat we wanted, the 27OB or the 29. At the end of the two weeks we decided we had the right boat for us now and we would just keep it and live with it.

It would be tough with three people but possible for a few days, although there was one crazy 23 team with 3 full grown men on it the whole trip! It can be done, and they had fun, but I would prefer not to have to work around the cabin table bunk.

The answer, as most have said, is up to you, what you want, and how you want to use the boat. But to answer your question, YES, it's big enough ;-)
Jim and Kelli Gizzi
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Re: Is R23 big enough?

Postby BDA on Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:33 pm

I spent last August on Lake Powell with a friend. It was plenty big. I then spent 3 weeks in a guest slip in San Diego. I think it is nice to trailer to many areas and that it is just right for that.
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