It’s a few days before thanksgiving when I speak to Stephanie Rovers at her home in Upstate New York. Her grandchildren are laughing and playing in the background as she multitasks prepping a family feast with our interview, as well as planning for her and her husband, Adrian’s, next adventure: a five-month, around-the-world cruise on a 900-passenger ship. The voyage will take the enterprising duo from Cuba to Thailand, arriving home by spring, just in time to launch their beloved Galeon 510 Skydeck for another summer of cruising around their backyard of Lake Champlain and beyond. The Roverses are seafaring enthusiasts through and through. In fact, in the two years since buying the 510 Skydeck, the couple has amassed 600 hours on her motors and thousands of nautical miles under her hull, cruising from their Plattsburgh, New York, home into Canada, as well as down the Eastern Seaboard, across to the west coast of Florida, around to the Keys, and into the Bahamas and back. And while most cruisers would find a nice marina to dock at and rest after a day’s travels on a trip of this magnitude, this couple has another passion: golf.
Adrian says they plan their north-to-south route and vice versa to stay at marinas that have golf courses within riding (they keep fold-up electric bicycles on board) or driving distance. From Quebec City in Canada to Emerald Bay in the Exumas, the Roverses hit the links every chance they get.
“Everywhere you go, you have to get off the boat and get exercise,” he says with conviction. “It’s nothing for us to get into a marina and get our bikes or call a taxi, and go play golf for four hours. Then [we] come back and go out for dinner.”
And unlike couples who find that kind of freedom only later in life, the Roverses have always opened opportunity’s door when they hear a knock. They started their at-sea lifestyle aboard a 23-footer when their children were just kids. Stephanie says they took that boat up into Canada and all the way east to the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park to see the beluga whales.
The cruising seed was planted, and the boats began to grow with their travel plans. There was a 32-footer and more exploration north, west and east, and then a 42-footer that was the first vessel the Roverses took down the East Coast to their second home in Florida.
Stephanie says the first time they headed down the Hudson River and took in the Manhattan skyline from the water, it made an impression. “We had the same view that our ancestors saw,” she says with pride.
Their first night in New York, they cruised around Manhattan and up the Harlem River near Spuyten Duyvil in the Bronx, and then cruised back down the Hudson, docking at Liberty Landing on the New Jersey side. The couple then completed the cruise down to Florida, and afterward decided that they needed a larger platform, one to expand their cruising dreams, possibly across the Gulf Stream.
The Roverses saw the Galeon 510 Skydeck three years ago at the Miami International Boat Show, and it was love at first sight. The way the side decks fold out to add entertaining space caught their eye.
“It goes from about 14 feet to 19 feet wide,” Adrian says enthusiastically, adding that with the way the boat expands, its usable acreage is “almost like an RV.” Stephanie says that everywhere they cruise, people come by and take pictures of the boat when she’s wide open with the bar stools in place. “It’s just beautiful,” she adds. Adrian says the grandkids love to fish and dive off the side platforms too.
Twin 670 hp Volvo Pentas give the 510 Skydeck a 25-knot cruise speed, which Adrian enjoys, especially when there is nice weather and they can pop out of the Intracoastal Waterway to run on the ocean.
“I can make the trip [from New York to Florida] in two weeks,” he says, noting that he is a Type A individual but still thinks that, on occasion, they should slow down a bit more and truly take in the journey.
North to South
In addition to loving the Galeon’s speed, Adrian likes that its canopy drops down, making the air draft just about 15 feet 6 inches. So the 510 is bridge-friendly — an important feature for the Roverses, since bridges near their home top out around 17 feet.
Adrian and I talk for two hours as he recounts their trek from New York to southwest Florida and over to the Bahamas. He recalls every stop with childlike enthusiasm and mentions the places he would like to visit again, such as Hilton Head, North Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach and more. Then there is the unexpected, like the night spent at Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort on Lake Okeechobee while crossing Florida. They happened upon a fine restaurant with a great live band within walking distance of the boat, Adrian says with the excitement of discovering something fun and new.
He signs off with sage advice for aspiring cruising enthusiasts who have yet to single up lines: “You can’t be afraid, afraid to go, to try new things.”
Comforts of Home
Adrian Rovers says one of the things he likes most about his Galeon 510 Skydeck is the 360-degree salon windows. The glass brings in light and provides impressive vistas in all directions. He also says he pilots the boat from the lower helm most of the time. Knowing that he and Stephanie would be cruising to tropical climes, the Roverses tinted all the glass and increased the air-conditioning capacity of their vessel, ensuring that those cool views would come with an equally cool and comfortable climate inside the salon and helm.