The Boat

The boat under construction is a  PocketShip, a design by John Harris. There is a huge amount of information about the PocketShip on the web, and there is no need to list any of the details here. However, it is part of any project of a certain size, that modifications to the original design are likely to be made. Some changes are just personal preferences, e.g. the omission of the boom gallows; other mods may be needed to adapt the boat or the materials to local conditions. For example, the design asks for kinds of timbers which are not readily available in Australia. There is no problem substituting one type of wood with another, provided the timber has the required properties in terms of strength, weight, durability and so forth. Certain items of the rigging hardware are not available here and shipping costs from the US are very high. Naturally, a few substitutions will be made. I will make a point of outlining all of these changes in the blog and on the modifications page.

The small sloop should have a name that fits the design. While much of the construction method is state of the art (reinforced epoxy over plywood), the timber spars and gaff rig remind us of an era long past. Because of the use of Australian – especially local Tasmanian – timbers there is a connection to southern Tasmania. So we decided that the boat be named after Jean-Michel Huon de Kermadec (picture)who explored the waterways around Port Huon, the future boat’s home port, in 1792.


Kermadec was the commander of the Espérance, one of the two ships sent to find the lost expedition of Jean-François de La Pérouse. The second ship, the Recherche, was commanded by expedition leader Antoine Bruni d’Entrecasteaux.

Many of the localities are named after these French explorers and their ships. Examples are the Huon River, Bruny Island, the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Recherche Bay, Huonville and, of course, Port Huon.

The thought of calling the new PocketShip the D’Entrecasteaux was quickly abandoned, because most people won’t be able to spell or pronounce that after a glass or two. For that same reason, the D’Entrecasteaux Channel is locally always referred to as ‘The Channel’.