The boats are much more popular in the Pacific Northwest, where Arima is based. Arima is also a small company, and does not have the production capacity of other boat builders. Also, there are only a handful of dealers here on the East Coast.
What kind of boat are you trading in? I grew up with a 20' Wellcraft (1969)runabout that was a tank. We had a bulletproof Evinrude on the back that never let us down. We had a lot of fun with that old boat.
The Arima got an excellent review in Powerboat Reports for its Sea Ranger 19' - which is the smaller version of what I have. After I read the review, I made up my mind about the boat. The 21' is much roomier than the 19 footer, but it's essentially the same boat in terms of construction, handling, etc. They have also eliminated the wood in the transom construction, and the drink holders no longer drain into the v-berth.
I cut and pasted the Powerboats article below so that you can read it; the measurements are going to be off because they tested the 19' boat, but I thought you might like to read it anyway.
Arima Sea Ranger 19
It's not fancy, but this trailerable walk-around offers a lot in a 19' package. (Powerboat Reports-January 1998)
We?ve all seen boats that are described as lean, mean fishing machines. The Arima Sea Ranger 19 is a fishing machine, all right, but lean and mean don?t quite apply. With an LOA an inch shy of nineteen feet, the Sea Ranger 19 sports a full eight-foot beam, with the fullness carried well forward into a wide-rounded foredeck. Chubby is a better description. Or maybe pudgy.
This broad-beamed design, however odd it may appear at first glance, makes a lot of very nice things possible. Consider, for a moment: Here?s a nineteen foot boat that offers a usable cuddy cabin, a roomy ****pit, adequate walkways for foredeck access, and gobs of storage. The wide foredeck does a fine job of deflecting spray, making the Arima as dry a boat as we?ve encountered, regardless of size. And the beamy hull makes for an extremely stable fishing platform.
The Ranger 19 is a purpose-built boat?one designed to handle coastal and offshore waters like those found in Puget Sound and off the Alaska and Pacific Coasts. As such, it has a deep forefoot and a steep vertical stem for displacing waves. It also has a long running surface, carried well back, reversing to create gussets (supports) at the quarters. The patented slanted ?after-plane? is designed to encourage planing. Deadrise at the stern is a moderate 14 degrees.
The Arimas share the utlilitarian look of many Pacific Northwest-built boats?not surprising since designer and company president Juichi Arima has been working in the area for many years. They also exhibit the ruggedized construction expected by fisherman?recreational and commercial?in the region.
The Sea Ranger hull consists of four pieces: hull, grid system, interliner, and ****pit/deck. The laminate is solid, if low-tech, with a layer of 1-1/2-ounce glass with vinylester resin behind the gelcoat to deter blistering, followed by two alternating layers of 1-1/2-ounce mat and 24-ounce woven roving; the laminate is overlapped at the keel and chine. Coremat is added in the sides and in the deck, which is also reinforced with plywood. The transom is two sheets of 3/4-inch ply sandwiched in glass, a technique avoided by many these days; but Arima, says company spokesman Don Gross, has ?never had a transom failure in over 4,000 boats.?
Once the hull is laid up, a glass stringer system is tabbed in to form a sort of grid, foam is injected, and a full interliner riveted on. More foam is injected into the voids. The hull-deck joint is the conventional shoebox, fastened with screws on four-inch centers; a vinyl gunwale (on the 17 and 19) is then screwed over the joint for an additionally secure fastening.
The Arima?s cabin matches the boat?s general character?it?s very large for a 19 footer, though it?s hardly what anyone would want to use for an extended cruise. What it does provide is a place to take a nap out of the sun, or for any crew member who feels the need for a spot of privacy. Underneath an opening hatch (there are also a pair of side ports) that measures 18-/2 inches square, there?s a 6-foot, four-inch V-berth (measured diagonally) that?s 78 inches wide at its aft end. There?s room for a portable head(standard equipment) under the aft section of the berth, and storage compartments under the mattress. A pair of large cargo nets flanking the V-berth provide additional in-cabin storage, and there?s an interior light. The cabin provides 28 inches of sitting headroom over the berth, with 37 inches over the head.
The Arima?s ****pit is roomy; it measures 81 inches wide and extends back (from the seat backs) 65 inches to the forward-protruding motor well, and 76 inches to either side of the well. The ****pit is a secure-feeling 28 inches deep.
Sight lines at the starboard-side helm are good from either a standing or seated driving position, although the 12-inch tall windshield has taller drivers looking over it, rather than through it. The center section of the all-glass windshield hinges out, and the framing is narrow enough so that it doesn?t block the driver?s view. A wiper is standard equipment.
There?s a companion seat on the port side, mounted on top of a19-1/2 by 27-inch storage box that?s 15 inches deep (18-inch-deep under the forward portion) storage box. We found the seating comfortable, though we would have liked to see a latch on the storage box?when our tester shifted his weight forward on the seat and lid tipped forward rather suddenly.
Aft, on each side of the motor well is a corner seat. If more seating is required, a double sleeper seat can be purchased to replace the single companion seat up front.
A small step leads up from the ****pit sole to the forward deck on each side of the boat; the 1-inch stainless-steel railing extends back far enough to help steady a crew member who?s going forward. This rail is much lower than we like: it varies from 9-1/2 inches aft to 13-inches forward of the cabin. We suspect that the choice of rail height was made largely on an appearance basis?the Arima is a short boat, and a rail high enough for safety would look distinctly ungainly. The railing, though low, feels quite solid.
The foredeck offers a bow roller, reasonably
sized anchor locker, and a single, 6-inch
cleat for tying off the rode. A glaring omis-
sion is the lack of a hawsehole or hawsepipe,
which prevents you from closing the cover
while the rode is inside.
The 7-inch-wide walk-around area is just wide enough to be usable; it?s helped by a good diamond-pattern nonskid and by a windscreen that?s wrapped around sufficiently to act as a handhold. The foredeck has a bow roller for an anchor, and a 21-inch by 20-inch anchor locker hatch, with a single 6-inch stainless steel bow cleat that doubles for docking and anchoring. Commendably?and unlike many smaller boats we?ve seen?the Arima provides a pair of midship cleats as well as a pair of stern cleats, all nicely recessed to help keep a fishing line from becoming entangled. The anchor locker is convenient, and drains overboard. A glaring omission, though, is the lack of a hawsepipe or hawsehole; there?s no way to keep the cover on the locker if the anchor is in use.
In addition to the storage bin under the companion seat, the Arima Sea Ranger 19 has a pair of bait boxes aft behind the aft seats, a covered well, 18 inches wide by 14 inches long, by 8 inches deep, in the ****pit sole between the helm and the companion seat, and a long well?68 inches by 18 inches wide by 8 inches deep?in the center of the ****pit sole. This long well has a cover that?s split transversely, with a hinge for access to either end. A pair of fiddled shelves?an upper one 24-1/2 inches long by 5 inches deep and a lower one 28 inches long and 7-1/2 inches deep?are mounted outboard of the driver?s seat, with a matching pair outboard of the companion seat, providing additional useful storage.
There?s a total of six rod holders along the gunwales, and three aft-mounted rod sockets. An optional table top/motor well cover can provide additional working area.
The Sea Ranger 19 comes with forward canvas (waterproof vinyl rather than Sunbrella)?a top, side curtains and a transparent front connector. A variety of rear enclosures are offered as options.
Mechanicals on a 19-foot outboard are, as you might suspect, fairly simple. Steering is a mechanical rack-and-pinion system. The bilge pump is accessible from a panel in the large storage well in the sole. Batteries are mounted aft under the stern jump seats, in compartments that also provide extra storage.
The 48-gallon translucent polyethylene fuel tank is located under the motor well housing. It?s easily removable, and the fuel level is easily visible. If more fuel capacity is desired, two 10-gallon ?saddle? tanks, that mount aft under the gunwales, are an option. A 14-gallon freshwater tank is mounted forward, under the anchor locker; an electric pump is standard. Helm wiring is easily accessible from a covered panel in the cuddy cabin.
Access to the battery, fuel tank and helm wiring is achieved by lift-to-unlatch removable panels?handy, if not particularly elegant.
The Sea Ranger ****pit has a good amount
of storage for a boat this size, including bait
boxes and several wells. Batteries are
mounted under the stern jump seats, and the
poly fuel tank is easily accessible behind a
The Arima is clearly designed for utility and not glitz; just about all exposed surfaces are plain white fiberglass (the cabin walls and ceiling are carpeted). If there?s any teak aboard, we didn?t see it. Design is utilitarian; fit and finish are generally good. There?s unfinished fiberglass inside some storage compartments, but we didn?t encounter any hostile surfaces.
With the exception of a couple of annoying, if minor, points the Arima Sea Ranger 19 is a well-thought-out and well-executed little boat. Apart from the anchor locker?s lack of a hawsehole and the too-low railings, we couldn?t find much to quibble about. Oh yes?the drink holders at the helm and companion seat have drain holes. Which drain directly onto the V-berth. Oh well.
The Sea Ranger 19 is a light boat: Its 1650-pound weight makes trailering a snap, even with a compact car as a tow vehicle. On the water, this light weight helps reduce the need for high horsepower (and gas-thirsty) engines?we found that while the boat is rated for engines up to 150 hp, a single 90 hp engine would drive the boat easily up to 30-plus knot speeds, with snappy acceleration across the engine?s entire rpm range.
The flat after surface encourages planing, at about 16 mph; the 19 will maintain the plane as low as 10 mph.
Unlike many light boats we?ve tested, the Arima?s ride and rough-water handling are very good. While it?s not realistic to ask a light 19-footer to feel like, say, an Albin 28 in a chop, we were pleasantly surprised to find that it provided a ride and handling comparable to some much heavier 20-24-footers we?ve tested. It tended to go with the waves, rather than slice through them, so that the ride at high speed wasn?t a smooth one, but we encountered no signs of slapping or pounding.
Top speed, with either a Johnson 90 or a Honda 90, was over 30 knots. We reached 32.8 knots with the large-displacement Johnson 90 two-stroke, and only 0.4 knots less with the Honda four-stroke.
Turns were precise and predictable, with a moderate amount of heel. We observed no skidding, even in tight high-speed turns. The ride was exceptionally dry, even when in tight turns in a three-foot chop. The Arima planes easily, with little preliminary bow lift.
The Arima is a very stable boat, an important consideration for fishing. Walking around on deck produced virtually no tippiness; we put two (overweight) testers on one rail, with only a minimal loss of freeboard. Beaminess has its virtues, in boats at least.
Fuel economy, particularly with the Honda 90, was outstanding. With the Honda 90, cruising at 20 knots will provide a cruising range of over 325 miles, based on 90% of the 49-gallon tank?s capacity. The two optional 10-gallon saddle tanks would up this to an astonishing 425-plus nautical miles. The thirstier Johnson 90, without the saddle tanks, would provide a respectable cruising range of 213 nautical miles at 20 knots (just over 300 with the saddle tanks).
Clearly, the Arima Sea Ranger 19 isn?t a boat for everybody?no boat is. If you?re looking for a race boat, or a luxury cruiser or a status symbol, you?d be best off looking elsewhere. But if you?re looking for a trailerable walkaround that performs well without the need for large gas-guzzling engines, goes quickly enough to get you to a fishing spot without taking all day and handles nasty coastal sea conditions well, we think that the Arima Sea Ranger 19 is well worth your consideration. It?s not just a lot of boat for its size?it?s also a lot of boat for the money.
(This post edited by GoodnightMoon on 03/28/2003)