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Heritage Sailing Tasmania Ltd and the Tall Ship

SV Rhona H

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SV Rhona H Blog

Heritage Sailing Tasmania Ltd is the operator of the SV Rhona H.

As well as half day sails on the Derwent River, full day sails to Kettering, longer trips to Bruny Island and Port Arthur, Heritage Sailing Tasmania offers programs for individuals and small groups.
Owners Charles and Julie are re-establishing the art of traditional sailing and skills: knots, splicing and fancy rope work.
No sailing experience is required; guests can choose to help sail or sit back and relax with fabulous photo opportunities!

Public and private charters are how we fund the restoration of the vessel and keep Heritage Sailing Tasmania Ltd afloat. 

Sail with us on a piece of Tasmanian History.

Heritage Sailing Tasmania Ltd was established as a Not for Profit entity in October 2015 using what we call the  ~HEAD WAVES~ model. 

There are three arms to the enterprise:
1) Traditional sailing and nautical skills (tourism) – our primary source of funding promoting Tasmania as a remarkable destination to both visit and live.
2) Conservation - we have a strong environmental awareness, particularly the marine environment with a focus on whales and dolphins.
3) Health promotion and teamwork (particularly mental health promotion) in a relaxing environment enhanced by being on the water.
Working with the sea to overcome challenges is truly rewarding. We named this model ~HEAD WAVES~ in recognition of our respect for the sea and recognising the challenge of confronting head waves when sailing.

As operators of Rhona H, we contribute to the tall ship network in Tasmania, and embrace Health Promotion on the water. 

Sail with us and hear her story including the mystery of the bell! 


Our vessel is "Rhona H", a 52' Huon Pine gaff-rigged ketch built in 1942 in Launceston.
SV Rhona H has a long history in Tasmania (she has participated in many maritime festivals and events). She started her life as a fishing vessel, and has a remarkable story which is included in the Rhona H experience. 

Vessel size

Length: 52 feet         Beam: 14 feet            Draught: 6 feet 

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SV Rhona H is one of Hobart's three tall ships; however the only one listed in the Australian Historic Ships Register as she is authentic rather than a replica.

She was originally built as a fishing boat with two masts and no bowsprit. Originally named Jessie after the buyers daughter, only the best Huon Pine was used in her construction. The knees being formed from celery top and all fastenings made of copper.

The Jessie was later sold to Max Hardy and renamed Rhona H. Max wanted to call the vessel "Rhona" however that name was already listed in the Shipping Register. They weren't yet married, so it was the Rhona H. The vessel was first registered in 1947, hence the mystery of the bell saying 1942. Research has shown the keel was most likely laid in 1942 signifying the birth of the "Rhona H". Future Hardy vessels were also named after their family members: "Cindy Hardy", "Jessica Hardy", "Andrew Hardy" and so on. 

A Gardiner engine was installed, one of the masts was removed, a wheelhouse and bulwarks built.
She was then used as a fishing boat until the 1970s when she was bought by Bobby Warren and used as an abalone boat. The mast was replaced, the wheelhouse removed and 1989 saw her present configuration.

In 2014 she was purchased by Julie Porter and Charles Burns, who are in the process of updating the restoration with an overhaul and ensuring the vessel remains in survey to the rigorous Maritime Safety Authority standards. 

The SV Rhona H is now certified to carry 27 people onboard.

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Archival photos used with kind permission of Rod Hardy, Stanley

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