Tahiti Rover Questions and Answers

Is the Tahiti Rover a steel version of the famous Tahiti ketch?

Are there other steel versions of the Tahiti ketch?
Weston Farmer also has a multiple chine version called the Tahitianna.

What are the differences between a Tahiti Rover and the Tahitianna?
The chines on the Tahiti Rover do not show above the water line, the coefficients are different as well as an increased sail area to displacement ratio.

Why did you design the ketch in steel? 
Dean Conrad, a renowned sailor, commissioned me to design a fast well balanced ketch for serious ocean cruising to look like the Hanna designed Tahiti. 

Why build on steel?
While there are many fine examples of wood Tahiti ketches, steel is strong, forgiving, well suited to the design, can be built economically, and is within the capability of back yard builders.

Steel rusts, how do I stop it?
Steel rusts, wood rots, fiberglass molecules cease to hold hands over time, and aluminum is subject to electrolysis. Properly sand blasted with the use of modern epoxy and urethane coatings, a well designed and maintained steel vessel simply does not rust.

Can I build it myself?
If you can walk and chew gum at the same time, are a craftsman, and have perseverance, yes, definitely you can build it yourself.

What tools would I need?
In addition to the usual tools every craftsman has, you will need an acetylene torch, a DC stick welder, and a heavy duty 8” grinder.  Also, pick up a book on steel boat building.  

What rig choices are available?
Gaff ketch main/marconie mizzen, Gaff ketch main and mizzen, gaff cutter, marconie cutter.

What other boats have you designed?
Most of my design career focused of passenger schooners, see roverschooners.com
Why is the Tahiti ketch so famous?
During the depression years of the 30’s Mechanix Illustrated allowed one to dream by showing the Tahiti ketch design.   More Tahiti ketches have sailed around the world then any other design.  And it looks awesome, a perfect blend of form and function.

What about wetted surface, prismatic coefficient, sail area to displacement ratio etc?
These parameters are noted in the study plans with a comparison to the original Tahiti ketch and the Tahitianna.

How does the Tahiti Rover sail?
She is the fastest, best on the wind and best balanced of all fiberglass as well as steel versions of Tahiti sailboats

Is there a fin keel version?
For a serious ocean cruiser, a long fixed keel with an attached rudder is the safest, most forgiving hull form.  Sooner or later, you will be aground, fins and spade rudders are not the thing to rest on is such situations.  

Being full displacement, does that mean slow?
Slow compared to autos or planes? Yes.  However she is fast when compared to any other comparable ocean cruiser.

I have read the Tahiti ketch was slow
So have I.  The Tahiti Rover is not slow and it points well and is self tending.

I have read the Westsail by Crealock is a Tahiti ketch version?
I have sailed in company with Westsails, but do not know Mr. Crealock’s basis for the design. 

Where can I get a copy of the original John G. Hanna plans?
I think the plans are available from Helen Brown, 30 Winchester Canyon Rd., #83, Goleta, Ca. 93117.

When did the Tahiti Ketch first appear in print?
Mechanix Illustrated - 1935

The Tahiti Rover build plans are conveniently provided as an instant download in our eBook. The cost for the complete set of plans is a modest $29.95

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Last updated: Tuesday, 1 November, 2011
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