American Rover was built by Marine Engineers
of Panama City, FL, for Rover Marine and put in service the spring of
1986, at that time she was one of only two schooners certified to carry
150 passengers under full sail and to sail after sunset. She was
the largest three masted topsail passenger schooner under U.S. flag.
She sets sail daily from the WATERSIDE in Downtown Norfolk,
Cover photo for AAA, Today, Tidewater Street Map, Real Estate Digest,
PORTFOLIO magazine, Norfolk Visitor's Guide.
Of the Bonny Rover design, Anvil Cove is certified by the Canadian
Coast Guard to carry overnight passengers on multi-day adventure tours. Once cruising the waters of Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia, Canada, last heard she was up for sale.
She is (was) owned by Keith and Barb Roswell.
The big sister of Blackbeard, the Blackbeard
II was last known to sail on day trips from A. J. Restaurant in Destin
Harbor, Florida. She was one of the many schooners built by Willis A.
Ray's yard, known as W.A.R. Ships in Panama City, Florida. Blackbeard II is of the Bonny Rover design.
Bones, based on the Bonny Rover design, was
built under the supervision of Dan Hlowick for a prominent
orthopedic surgeon from Cleveland, Ohio. She was sent to the US Virgin
Islands in the charter trade and was later sold to a Florida concern.
There she plied the trade until 2005 when she was bought by a charter
company and re-outfitted for service back in the US Virgin Islands. Bones is currently in St. Thomas with her new owner, Martyn.
The Bonny Blue was designed by Merritt Walter, to capture the ambiance of the 1920's style plumb stem inland waterway steamers. Renamed The Moonlight Lady and taken to Burlington, Vermont, she will be doing overnight trips on those famous waterways.
Earl MacKenzie and his wife, Bonnie, own the Bonnie Lynn. They have the ideal life, can be seen chartering
summers in Maine and winters in the Virgin Islands. Their boat is
finished to a high degree of yacht finish. August 2000 issue of
Cruising World featured the Bonnie Lynn under a heading of Great Boat.
She was built by Treworgy Yachts of St. Augustine, Florida and finished
off under the supervision of Earl. She is the Trade Rover design.
Cover photo for Latitudes and Attitudes,
feature article in SAIL Magazine 2002
Bonny Rover was built by Mac Makee and Dick
Reynolds in Newport News, VA, in 1970 as a yacht for Merritt and Bonny
Walter. The couple lived aboard for fourteen years, before bidding
farewell to the most favored and greatest sailing schooner of the Rover
Bonny IV Rover is the personal yacht of Merritt Walter.
She was the last schooner to be built by Rover Yachts
Inc., many unusual feature that only a designer like Merritt would dare
to incorporate. She is a single masted schooner. Think of her as a
staysail schooner with the foremast removed and all stays running to the
The Buccanner is a modified version of the Bonny Rover design. Built in 1987 by Richard Fox and his son, Rick Fox. In 2007, Dan Catalino bought, finished, and launched the Buccaneer. She is headed for the west coast of Costa Rica
Merritt was privileged to be captain of a little ship plying the
Pacific. He enjoyed passing the day leaning on the teak cap rail
of her bridge wing, just like the one on the Coast Rover. The
commission for designing her came from and east coast salvage company
owner who wanted a boat to live on, capable of earning her own keep.
Downeast Rover was built as a yacht by Rover Marine Yachts, in Norfolk, Virginia for Merritt Walter. After seven years of great sailing along the east
coast and the Bahamas under the name of Bonny Jean Rover, she was sold
and entered the day sailing trade, first at Wrightsville Beach, North
then out of Manteo, NC, where you can find her still sailing daily.
Amongst her claims to fame, the Downeast Rover appeared as the luxury schooner belonging to a bank robber in an episode of Matlock called "The Heist".
Cover photo for NC Coastal Boating Guide, Cape
Norfolk Rover was built by
Rover Marine Inc in Norfolk, Virginia for the day sailing trade. She was the
first sailing tour boat to be certificated under sub-chapter 'T' to
carry passengers for hire since the great days of sail.
The Great Atlantic Rover was designed for Rover Marine Lines, Inc. to be a day sailing "boat and breakfast". The design called for ten double staterooms for overnight guests and 149 day passengers. The extreme shallow draft of 6' 8" would allow her to operate in protected shallow waters and was originally planned for the Corpus Christi, Texas area. The staysail rig on four masts would require fewer crew than if she were all gaffs. After receiving plan approval from the Coast Guard the project was abandoned for the 1920 steamer style motor vessel Bonny Blue. Sure wish the Great Atlantic were sialing these days.
Heritage of Miami, built by Marine Metals,
Norfolk, Virginia, spent her first season sailing day trips from Hampton, Virginia,
under the name of Virginia Rover, then sold in 1988 to work from Miami,
Florida, on Biscayne Bay. Summers are spent sailing scouts in the Keys.
Cover photo for Scouting Magazine, Florida Rural Electric News.
Docked in Beaufort
and owned by East Carolina University biology professor Lee Sutton of
Greenville, NC, the Jeanie B is a Trade Rover design.
Jeanie B began life as the Jennifer Marie. Claude Charest (owner and builder) began building the Jennifer Marie in 1980 in Plattsburgh, NY. She was then Coast Guard licensed in 1984. Claude and his wife began day chartering the vessel first on Lake Champlain, and later on Biscayne Bay, FL. In 1987 the Jennifer Marie mada a Panama Canl transit to the Galapgos Islands. Then in 1988 she began sailing from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to the Bahamas on 8-day eco-tourism trips...until she was sold in 2001.
The John Pike, owned by John Crane, was launched
in the spring of 1986 for service in the San Juan Islands under the
banner of Windjammers Northwest. She is of the Bonny Rover class.
Current owner and service is unknown.
Jolly II Rover, sister ship to the Jolly
Rover (now the Spirit of Buffalo), was built by Bock Marine of
Beaufort, North Carolina for Capt. Ward Walter of Rover Marine Lines. She has seen a varied service, from Lewis, Delaware, St. Thomas,
Virgin Islands, Philadelphia PA, and New Orleans, LA. Currently
she is sailing boy scouts out of their Sea Base in the Keys and day
sailing from Key West.
Merry Rover was a custom design for a New
Jersey couple who never built her. Along came Ron and Harriet
Hale, a delightful couple who crewed on the Norfolk Rover, just for the
experience in anticipation of a life afloat after retirement from the
Navy. The hull was built by Denis Schriber, and finished by Brumitt Boats of Cobbs Creek ,Virginia.
She was launched in 1984.
The present owner is unknown,
although she was spotted in the spring of 2005 at a marina in Beaufort,
Captain Rex Walley, owner/operator of the Nathaniel Bowditch, daysails out of Harborwalk Village in Destin, Florida.
She was built by Willis A. Ray - W.A.R. Ships, of Panama City, Florida in 1983, but not put into service until 1992 as the Blackbeard.
The vessel was laid out for day-sail work, cushioned seating on deck, large fore cabin to shelter all passengers, as well as an aft cabin for captain and crew. Below deck the vessel is lined with shiplap ash and trimmed with mahogony. The deck features generous use of teak (helm station, hatches, pin rails and pulpit).
Achievments include maximum speed achieved under sail 10.4 kts. (GPS confirmed log reading), and on another occasion, withstanding fifteen minutes in a squall of winds recorded at 81 mph (71 kts.) under full sail, very exciting!
The Norfolk Rebel was Merritt's most unusual
The first Coast Rover was launched on National Maritime Day, 27 May 1980
in Norfolk. Mayor Thomas was the guest speaker. His wife
christened the vessel the "Norfolk Rebel" as Captain Jacques Cousteau's
wife looked on. The design is important because she is the only
vessel to receive a federal grant for sail power.
Built in 1984, the Phoenix, was owned by Coastal Ecology Learning Program, a non-profit educational
corporation providing ship-board marine environmental education programs
to the students of the area as well as sail training.
In 2008 the Phoenix was bought by her new owners, Cpts. Skip and Debbie Bradshaw and renamed Pirates Lady.
She is a Trade Rover design carrying passengers on evening sunset sails from her dock in Marathon, FL. During the summer months she plys the boy scout trade, sailing fro the BSA Florida Sea Base High Adventures Sea Exploring program.
The Salty Dog Rover is currently under
construction for Captain Ward Walter of Rover Tours, owner
of the tour boat Carolina Rover. She is a modified Merry Rover design. Currently located near Georgetown, SC.
Scott Rogers purchased the schooner Shanty, ex Free Spirit, from John Vining of Panama City, Florida, where she was
built. John was foreman on the schooner American Rover construction project for Marine Engineers also in Panama City. Free Spirit sailed the Caribbean before relocating to Rebel Marine
Services, Norfolk, Virginia, home of the schooners Jadip and Norfolk
The schooner Silent Lady is one of many Rover
designs built by Willis A. Ray's company, W.A.R. Ships, in Panama City, Florida. Skip
Price, her original owner, sailed her the world over carrying day
trippers in the far off Cook Islands, South Pacific to St. Thomas in the
Virgin Islands. Allen Laird now owns her and day trips from AJ's
Restaurant in Destine, Florida.
Spirit of Buffalo (ex Jolly Rover) was built by Rover Marine Lines in Norfolk, Virginia. She sailed herfirstfive seasons in the day sailing trade out ofLewis, Delaware, then transferred to Georgetown, South Carolina in 1997 where she sailed on the Winyah Bay.
In late fall of 2008 she was purchased by Buffalo Sailing Adventures and was brought from South Carolina to Baltimore. The winter was spent preparing here for her transit up the Hudson and through the Erie Canal to her new home, Buffalo. She arrived in Buffalo during the first week of May 2009.
Captain Finbar, had the Wolf built by W.A.R.
Ships, Panama City, Florida. She sailed one season for Rover
Marines Inc, Norfolk, Virginia then down to Key West, Florida as the
flag ship of the Conch Republic where she sails daily, to the delight of so many.
Yankee is one of the Seattle Rover designs from which several have been built. Dan Hlowick was her builder in
1982 at Atlantic City, New Jersey, for his own use as a 49 passenger day
For several years she sailed from Cape May, New Jersey, in the summers and Ocean
Reef Club, south of Miami, Florida, in the winters.
And now Yankee is sailing out of Miami Beach, Florida with a new owner, John Watson, and a new web site.
The Yankee has appeared on the cover of Florida Rural