rover schooners

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 ... the official home of Merritt Walter designed working schooners.

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... the vision defined by curves ... and the curves defined by numbers ...


Irish Rover


The realization by many experienced sailors that steel is an exceptionally strong, relatively inexpensive material to build with, has caused several design firms to include steel among their offerings. More often than not, they are simply fully-molded hull forms originally intended for construction in another material, modified for steel construction; this is a process fraught with many shortcomings, among which are the "chine" look, improper plate developments, structural problems, and an overall lack of corrosion prevention. The giveaway to such a design approach is the claim that the plans can be ordered for construction in a variety of materials.

Rover Marine is devoted exclusively to steel, developing hull shapes that are indistinguishable from any other material, yet capable of being produced from steel without resorting to special forming equipment.

The Irish Rover has a combination of soft and multiple chines. In order to fully appreciate the hull development, her lines need to be viewed, consequently, the body plan is inserted on the study plan sheets.

In these days of light displacement yachts, it is good to recall laws of basic physics. A ton of mass could be propelled to an infinite speed with an ounce of force, were it not for friction/resistance.

Hull form is the primary detriment to speed, not displacement weight alone, as books on fiberglass building would have you believe. The Irish Rover has the right form for fast sailing and the displacement for comfortable ocean cruising or living aboard.

The marconi ketch rig, with its sail combinations, is perfect for serious cruising. Nothing is more tiresome than constantly changing reefs and headsails. The rig also lends itself to well-placed stays and shrouds for a strong standing rig, and the short bowsprit is perfect for handling the anchor.

The Irish Rover is destined to become a classic. A yacht in the old world tradition, she possesses those attributes that demand admiration. Each and every construction detail is part of her totally integrated concept, using top-quality yacht materials such as teak cap rails, teak rub rails, teak hatches, polished stainless steel for stanchions and deck hardware.






ola bPictured: Ola B., an Irish Rover design

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What do the owners have to say?

Cruising on Ola B

"Designed by Merritt Walter and constructed out of steel by Howdy Bailey Marine Metals, Ola B has been our full-time home since July 2003, just in time for Hurricane Isabel which hit the Chesapeake. This would become the first of four hurricanes that Ola B has weathered--the other three while we were cruising in the Bahamas.

During our cruising we have come to depend on the robust design and construction to keep us safe, and Ola B has never disappointed us. Many people ask: “Why do you like a steel boat?” Many reasons of course, but we always tell people when you climb aboard the deck doesn’t flex under foot, the stanchions don’t wobble when you grab them and the hull doesn’t groan and grimace when the sea throws a punch at her. In short, she’s a solid vessel."