A major influence on Roy Merritt, grandson of Merritt Boat and Engine Works founder, Franklin Merritt, was Jim Smith, another custom boat builder and one of the first to adopt the cold-mold construction process and leave behind the plank-on-frame method in the early days of sportfish boat building. He introduced Roy to the cold-molded method in the mid-1960s.
United Yacht Sales would be pleased to help you find the right Merritt Yacht for sale, or sell your existing vessel, with one of our professional brokers. We have experts on staff that specialize in the sale or new build of custom sportfish.
The cold-molded process (also known as the West Method) is a method of construction layering thin sheets of plywood, typically mahogany over a series of precisely placed frames that form the hull jig, which is upside down—the hull bottom is facing up, which is much easier to work. Thin wood sheets are layered in alternating directions and fiberglass cloth (best) or mat is added as the final layers. It’s called “cold-mold” because the epoxy resin fully cures at room temperature. Once the layering and minimal fairing process is complete, the finished hull is lifted by crane and righted.
All the frames that formed the jig are removed, leaving just the fiberglass-plywood composite shell. Some of the cold-molded method’s advantages over the traditional plank-on-frame construction are a stronger than steel, lighter weight composite hull and greater interior space without all the transversals. A stronger, lighter weight hull yields many benefits, but mainly increased performance and efficiency—use less horsepower/less fuel to push through the sea, and durable strength to take on the rigors of sportfishing.
Roy Merritt’s first cold-molded Merritt 43ft, hull #23, was built in 1975 for client Jo Jo Del Guercio, whose request for a custom multiple rod holder led to Merritt’s development of the first “rocket launcher” for holding trolling rods.
Today these beautiful historic Merritt custom sportfish models are prized classics and most have been maintained, updated and upgraded over the years, yet still retain the distinctive Merritt sportfish profile and stunning interior joinery.