- Length Over All (LOA): 39′ (often stated as 40′)
- Length On the Water (LOW): 36.5′
- Beam: 9.9′ (measured for 12′ (counting rub rails and at widest))
- Draft: 4.2′
- Tons: 9.93
- Gross Tons: 11.89
- Construction Type: carvel/flush planked – fir planks, oak ribs
- Berths: 1 in bow, 2 pull out settees aft and 1 pull out in Pilot House
- Engine: 1932 – 56hp diesel, 1958 – 62hp Ford diesel, 2009 – 75hp Volvo diesel
- Fuel: 2×40 gallon metal tanks
- Water: 2×40 gallon aluminum with electric & manifold heat, hot & cold
- Waste: 15 gallon holding tank, 1 x electric head, macerator, diverter valves and pump-to-shore all in compliance with current US and Canadian waste-water handling code
- Heat: hot-water bus-heater with fans under steps; forward, amidship and aft
- Galley: vintage Sea King diesel oil stove, hot and cold water, icebox and enamel sink
Built in Esquimalt, British Columbia, on Victoria’s Gorge Waterway, Merva is an excellent example of fine West Coast wooden boat building from the early 20th Century.
Merva was designed and built by F. W. Morriss, a retired British Naval Engineer and Master Shipwright. Mr. Morriss was a careful and thorough builder, and his touch is everywhere aboard Merva. He used only the finest woods and materials available, both imported and native. Many of her bronze fittings are custom cast, and in drafting her he imparted her with graceful, flowing lines, a smartly upright prow, a compact and functional interior, and a pert, upright rounded wheelhouse with curved glass all reminiscent more of an Edwardian style than the burgeoning, and spectacular, “streamlining” style of the “modern” 1930’s. She is, however, long and narrow, meant to “…cut through the water to save on fuel – it was the depression.”
In keeping with his careful choices of materials and design, Mr. Morriss was a remarkable builder.
All hull fasteners were coated with anti-corrosion paint. Each hull plank is exactly fitted to it’s neighbour, there is no caulk. Merva was built to last, and last she has. Uncommonly, virtually all her milled parts are symmetrical from one side to the other – a piece from the port side cabin trim, if duplicated exactly in it’s mirror image, will fit precisely in it’s corresponding starboard side place. In hidden places behind drawers or bulkheads, Mr. Morriss’s handwriting can be still be seen -and has been preserved – noting where to find a pulley, or how to access a piece of hidden equipment.
Her interior is compact and traditional, with two built-in, long narrow railway-car style settees on either side of the long saloon. At it’s centre is a large dining table that folds on both sides, leaving a long narrow centre surface. There are two small hanging lockers astern and two mahogany cabinets forward in the saloon with holders for china and tea service built in. A long drawer hides under the cockpit deck, and is accessed from in the saloon by removing the steps up to the stern companionway.
Beneath the settees is water storage, and from behind them, generous bunks pivot down to sleep two, one per side.
The Galley is compact, yet completely serviceable for a single cook’s duties. It is fitted with mahogany cabinets and countertop, porcelain sink, a reliable oil/diesel stove, an icebox, plenty of storage, two ports and an opening skylight.
The Head is remarkably roomy, and has two doors, one to the amidships companionway and steps up to the wheelhouse, and one to the saloon. A door between the Galley and the Saloon allows both these service areas and the forward portion of the boat to be closed off from the living space, aft.
Mr. Morriss is said to have built another vessel, similar to Merva but “…slightly beamier and a little bit longer”. This vessel’s whereabouts are unknown…
Merva is of carvel construction, with native douglas fir over double oak ribs. Her decks and Deckhouses are Burmese Teak and Philippine Mahogany. Most of her fittings are bronze and brass. All glass is original, including the curved glass in the pilothouse windows.