Soundings - - Contents -

Sam Devlin takes June’s Rover 29 de­sign and cre­ates a prac­ti­cal but pretty cruis­ing ver­sion that would fill any mariner’s heart with wan­der­lust.

In the last Sketch Book, I wrote about the Rover, a 29-foot, dou­bleended de­sign. I drew her as an aft-house, Hal­ibut-pro­file cruiser, but while work­ing with the hull lines, I re­al­ized that sev­eral house con­fig­u­ra­tions might be ap­plied to the same hull. Hence, this month’s Cruiser ver­sion of the Rover. The Cruiser has a dou­ble-ended hull with free­board that’s mod­est but not at all the likes of what’s nor­mally found on the high-sided and deep ves­sels that are be­com­ing more com­mon these days. There is a nice bal­ance to the ends of this boat, with enough bow for­ward to blunt the waves and the stern low enough to al­low easy board­ing from a dock or pier.

The houses are un­bal­anced, with the pi­lot­house for­ward hav­ing side decks and slid­ing doors to port and star­board. The af­ter house is al­most the full beam of the boat, with only 7-inch-wide side decks (just enough to al­low for set­ting the fend­ers). Hand­holds on the house­top help with mov­ing for­ward from the nar­rower to the wider side decks.

But most of the mov­ing from bow to stern will hap­pen through the two cab­ins in the mid­dle of the boat. On the aft house is a slid­ing hatch that leads to a com­pan­ion­way on cen­ter­line, giv­ing ac­cess from the cock­pit and mak­ing pas­sage for­ward into the pi­lot­house clear and easy.

This full-beam house aft al­lows 6 feet, 4 inches of head­room on the cen­ter­line, and a cabin with a head, gal­ley and fore-and-aft dinette. The head has stand­ing head­room, and while it is a wet head with a hand­held shower, I would pre­fer an out­side shower in the cock­pit. Though I al­ways take at least one shower a day ashore, while cruis­ing I shift gears to show­er­ing ev­ery other or third day. Look­ing for­ward to those cleanup days be­comes an en­joy­able part of the cruis­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, and with a cock­pit shower, I can splash around with­out in­tro­duc­ing ex­tra mois­ture to the in­te­rior of the boat.

Life on the water is ex­actly that, with the whole at­mos­phere just barely tilt­ing to­ward dry. If the wa­ters are rough, there is a fair bit of salt in the air, and salty air is a real draw for mois­ture. The farther north you cruise, the lower the daily tem­per­a­ture, and the more mois­ture there seems to be in the air. This is one rea­son why I so of­ten pre­fer a small wood stove in my own boats. A tiny, short fire each evening af­ter the suns falls be­low the hori­zon helps to dry out the air, con­vert­ing what could be a crawl into damp bed­ding into a much warmer night’s sleep.

On this boat, sleep­ing is in the fo’c’sle with cen­ter­line ac­cess from the pi­lot­house. Stowage is for­ward of the port- and star­board-quar­ter berths, whose plat­forms are long enough to stow duf­fels. For get­ting up mide­vening to check the an­chor, I don’t need to wake up the first mate with this ar­range­ment.

The Rover 29 Cruiser’s en­gine would be be­low the raised pi­lot­house sole. Ac­cess would be from above in the pi­lot­house and aft from the gal­ley, via a re­mov­able coun­ter­top. The same 110-hp diesel that I was think­ing of for the Hal­ibut ver­sion should give the Cruiser ver­sion good thrust, with a 2.6:1 gear ra­tio and a fairly large wheel, to help with close-quar­ters han­dling. A small bow thruster could pro­vide a lit­tle boost when the wind and tides don’t co­op­er­ate.

She is dis­place­ment in her hull de­sign, and at a speed of 7 knots, the per-hour fuel burn should be in the 1½ to 2 gal­lon range. At 6 knots, you might cruise all day and not burn 8 gal­lons of fuel. Dinghy ac­cess would be off the stern.

With a tall mast, a steady sail and a cock­pit boom cover, she should give great com­fort at sea and at an­chor. The low-windage “no mast” ver­sion might make the Cruiser ideal for a cou­ple or a sin­gle skip­per do­ing the Great Loop or the Northwest Pas­sage to Alaska.

LENGTH ON DECK: 28 feet, 11 inches BEAM: 10 feet, 2 inches DRAFT: 3 feet, 8 inches DIS­PLACE­MENT: 9,800 pounds

The Rover 29 Cruiser would be ideal for a cou­ple or a sin­gle skip­per.

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