Look around any harbor. Sailing craft all look the same. New models come out each year like cars off an assembly line. Yet choice reduces to which brand, rather than a choice of hull form, construction material, type of rig or arrangement. The topsail schooner, Merry Rover, responds to the demand for a simple to build, easy to maintain steel yacht that incorporates the grace of a traditional hull form and rig.
The design was a commission from John and Mary Moore of Cheektowaga, New York, who planned to build the yacht themselves. The design is similar in profile to her big sister, the 52-foot topsail schooner Bonny Rover, however, she is much less costly to build.
Her arrangement reflects the Moores' thinking. The great cabin aft is given over to the master stateroom, with a unique arrangement of double berth, private head with shower, navigation console, and plenty of storage space . Walking forward on the starboard side gives access to the galley and dinette. A close study of the arrangement plan will reveal the large amount of usable space. This designer has lived aboard for years, therefore the Merry Rover emphasizes the subtle, yet very important, difference between a design for vacation cruising and one for year-round living aboard .
The hull is single chine. For a molded hull look, a rolled plate at the chine, is a nice touch. I did this on my own boat (I wish I still owned her), now the Downeast Rover. She is longitudinally framed of all flat bar. The bottom is1/4”, sides are 3/16", and decks are ten gauge. Tanks are integral ; tank ends form part of the transverse frames. Interior bulkheads are 3/4" pre-finished plywood, bolted to the transverse frames.
A word on the ease of handling a topsail schooner rig may be in order . Having sailed this type of rig for several years as well as many other rigs on everything from ships to dinghies, this designer knows this choice to be efficient and forgiving . The light aluminum spars negate the shortcomings of old-style, heavy gaffs. With lazyjacks, halyards, sheets and vangs, sails are always in complete control. Driving a hull with a long keel and a deep forefoot , the rig balances extremely well . The wheel can be left unattended for hours on end . The pointing ability is better than most cruising boats and is far better than many at actually getting to windward, not just pointing there.