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Rhona H

Vessel Number: HV000646
Date: 1942
Builder: EA Jack
Vessel Dimensions: 15.85 m × 4.42 m × 2.21 m, 27 tonnes (52 ft × 14.5 ft × 7.25 ft, 26.57 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
RHONA H is a fishing boat built in 1942 by EA ‘Ned’ Jack in Launceston Tasmania, one of the region’s and state’s premier boat builders for many decades. It has had over 75 years association with Tasmania, beginning as a fishing (cray) vessel before operating as a commercial sailing and charter vessel. For many years it was owned and operated by Max Hardy whose family were well respected fisherman in northern Tasmania.
DescriptionEA “Ned” Jack built RHONA H at his Trevallyn, Launceston shipyard using Huon pine carvel planking with celery top pine for the decks. He was one of the premier builders in northern Tasmania and built many of the fishing craft for the region. The 15.84m fishing vessel was built for Frier Youl of Symmons Plains and rigged as a gaff topsail ketch. It was then called Jessica or JESSE.

It was sold in about 1946 to well-known Stanley fisherman, Max Hardy, who renamed it RHONA H after his the girlfriend, and fished with it for crayfish, couta and shark in Bass Strait and off the West Coast. Max borrowed £4,000 to buy the vessel. “It seemed to us to be all the money in the world then. It was a battle, but we worked away at our goal, and ended up having her for 26 years”. “She was a beautiful boat, and what made it good for my wife Rhona and me was that we were the first to fish at Sandy Cape with a decent boat. We learnt to catch crayfish there before they ever knew there were crayfish off the continental shelf. But I was getting that many beltings coming back from Sandy Cape to Stanley, that I decided to set up a proper slipway and fishing shack at Temma, and then built the Jennifer Hardy especially to fit into the harbour.”

However while he was fishing out of Temma, RHONA H was lying idle at Stanley, so he sold JENNIFER HARDY to his son Garry for $1. The RHONA H was originally fitted with a 40hp Ruston Hornby diesel but later this was upgraded to a 76hp Gardner Diesel.

RHONA H used to trade between Stanley and Queenscliff in Victoria, taking fish one way and stores the other. It has been said that it was the last remaining trading ketch still operating commercially in Tasmania. It has also been reported that while it was a commercial fishing boat it set the current record for catching the most 'couta by hand in one day' - four and a half tons.

RHONA H was converted in 1988 for Tasmanian chartering and rigged as an auxiliary gaff ketch with jib headed topsails with this the work being done by Rob “Rigger” Morton who was brought over from New Zealand. RHONA H was Hobart-based for many years, conducting East Coast charters till the late 1990s. In 1998 it sailed from Sydney to Hobart with the Tall Ships fleet. In 1999 RHONA H moved to Launceston where it made many Bass Strait crossings and twice competed in the Three Peaks Race, Vintage Division, as well as making regular trips to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart. RHONA H has been in Hobart since the 2013 festival and is now registered there. See also

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:floating
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Hull shape:overhanging transom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:diesel
Rig type:gaff
Rig type:ketch
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
Additional Titles

Primary title: Rhona H

Previous title: Jesse

Alternate Numbers

Official Number: 152398

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