We’ve owned Rockhopper of Lune, or just “Rocky” as she is affectionately known in the family, for almost 17 years. 

She is a Bruce Roberts 434 centre cockpit ketch, professionally built, in 1987, by the Topper Hermansen Boatyard in Florida, USA .

There are many interpretations of Bruce Roberts plans in wood, GRP and cement but this Steel and Aluminum yacht conforms closely to his original line plans for the 434.

Rockhopper is a safe and capable “go anywhere, do anything, stay as long as you like” vessel.  The centre cockpit gives a high degree of confidence and is a great place to be in wild weather.  With all controls led here there is little reason leave it on passage.

Powered by a modest ketch rig she can easily achieve her hull speed while still withstanding F8 gusts without undue heel.  The 62HP Perkins 4.154 diesel engine is smooth, quiet, reliable and fairly economical using about 2.25 litres per hour at cruising speed.

The feature we love most about Rocky is the large aft deck above the state cabin.  This 3m x 4m open space is ideal for entertaining friends or just lazing in the Sun on a quiet afternoon.  On passage it is lovely to sit out and enjoy the sweeping motion of the yacht.

Downstairs the accommodation is a little cosy due to the centre cockpit design but she sleeps 7 in 3 cabins and can seat all 7 for dinner.   The owner’s aft stateroom has a full size island double bed and lots of wardrobe space.Living aboard and cruising for over 260 days each year offers a great life but to encourage your significant other half to stay with you on board demands a number equipment upgrades to make life easier.  Sue was very clear that she was happy to cruise for 10 years but NOT to “camp out” for 10 years.

So the addition of a decent cooker, 220vAC power on demand, water-maker, heating, air conditioning and entertainment systems allows us to live a comfortable life afloat.  I’ll talk more about this topic in my equipment and preparation posts.  


Type:           Centre Cockpit Sailing Ketch
Designer:    Bruce Roberts
Builder:      Topper Hermansen, Florida, USA
Material:     Steel Hull & Decks with Marine Alloy Cockpit & Coachroof
LOA:          13.38m
LWL:          11.18m
Beam:          4.12m
Draft:          1.8m
Hull Type:        Displacement
Keel Type:       Long Fin with Full Depth Skeg-Hung Rudder & cutaway deadwood
Engine Type:      Perkins 4.154
Engine HP:         62HP
Drive:        Borg Warner Velvet Drive 1.88:1   via 3 blade Equipoise Propeller
Accom:    Sleeps 8 in 3 cabins  (7 adults, 1 child)