pocket ship


Model   Length   Hull Weight   Beam  Max Payload  Rowing Draft   Sailing Draft   Sail Area 
PocketShip  14' 10"
4.52 m 
365 kg 1.90 m 725 kg 40.5 cm 91.5 cm 148 sq ft.

Model Plans and manual Wood Only Kit* Base Kit*
PocketShip  $430 $5020 $7000

For further information or to purchase plans or a kit set for the Pocket Ship

"PocketShip" is a small cruising sailboat of refined model, meant to sail well on all points, provide dry camping accommodations for two adults, and tow behind a four-cylinder car. Examples are now sailing on four continents; as of this writing more than 50 are sailing or under construction around the world.

Designer John C. Harris has designed, built, owned, and cruised aboard a variety of smallcraft.  His first camp-cruiser  as a teenager was an 11'6" rowing boat with a tent, in which he explored the upper Chesapeake, sleeping aboard.  Twenty years later, he wanted a fast-sailing pocket cruiser with a dry and commodious interior.  It had to be quick and easy to build or the project would never get finished, so stitch-and-glue plywood construction was a given from the start.  The cockpit was laid out for daysailing comfort and is large enough for sleeping on warm nights.  






Interior arrangements are ample, we think bigger and more comfortable than anything else this size, without compromising Pocketship's looks and performance.  Two adults may sleep below or wait out a rain shower, and a portable head stows beneath the cockpit, sliding forward into the cuddy for use.  The enclosed area of the cabin is identical to an average four-man tent, but drier, more private, and more secure.

Geoff Kerr of Two Daughters Boatworks built the first hull.  He started in mid-January 2008 and clocked about 525 hours before delivering a finished hull and spars, ready for hardware.  PocketShip was rigged at CLC and launched on May 10th, 2008.  The typical amateur builder might require about 30 weekends and occasional evenings to see this one through.


PocketShip's Commodious Interior


PocketShip's big interior. 
See more interior photos in the main gallery.

Plans comprise 11 pages of architectural drawings, and full-sized patterns for nearly every part in the boat. Plans and manual are in both metric and standard measurements.  The manual is 280 pages, spiral-bound, and lavished with nearly 800 images and drawings showing construction step-by-step. Kits include the pre-cut plywood parts, epoxy, and fiberglass for the hull.  Since solid timber (floorboards, stringers, rails, spars) is available everywhere inexpensively, it will be sourced and milled by the builders. Due to the shipping challenges, lead ballast is not included in the kit.  Sails and hardware are available in several deeply discounted packages.

2008 sailing trials in varied waters from Maine to Maryland included crews of 1 to 4 adults and wind conditions of 0-20 knots.  PocketShip is stiff and fast and tacks through 90 degrees.  The helm is light and the boat will spin nearly in its own length in both light and heavy air and with a variety of sail combinations.  We are thrilled with performance and handling---all expectations have been exceeded.  

Click on the “Construction Gallery” to see a step-by-step commentary by John Harris about the design and construction of PocketShip. You'll need to enlarge the pop-up Gallery window or scroll down to read the captions that accompany each image.  Click the "Main Gallery" link to see photos of PocketShip under sail in a variety of wind and sea conditions.

Many ask about auxiliary power for PocketShip.  While the boat's sailing qualities are sufficient to undertake long expeditions in challenging waters without power, many sailing examples have small outboards mounted on a stern bracket for negotiating marinas, channels, or flat calms.  We've seen up to five horsepower, but two horsepower is ample even for rough conditions. The excellent Honda four-stroke 2hp is light enough not to diminish sailing qualities.  Aftermarket outboard brackets are plug-and-play without modification to the transom.  John Harris built this simple outboard bracket for PocketShip #1 and it has worked admirably.

"Go simple, and if that appeals to you then there is no more simple way to cruise than this design from John C. Harris.  ...This is one dandy looking little boat. It’s shapely, with lots of sheer, a pugnacious bow profile and sweet overall hull lines."  Robert H. Perry, Sailing Magazine June 2009


What is included in the PocketShip Base Kit?

The PocketShip base kit contains the following;

  • Hull panels, bulkheads, decks, keel, rudder, centreboard, and all plywood components.  All parts are CNC-cut from BS1088 marine plywood in 6mm and 9mm thicknesses.  Hull panels feature "puzzle joints" for rapid and accurate assembly. 
  • Hull panels and bulkheads are pre-drilled on the CNC machine for assembly with wire stitches.
  • Patterns for nearly all the solid timber parts are CNC-cut, ready to trace onto timber.
  • CNC-cut parts for the building cradle
  • 57L of West System resin and hardener
  • 15kg of epoxy thickeners
  • 49m of 6-ounce fiberglass fabric
  • 46m of fiberglass tape
  • 11 pages of architectural drawings and 280-page manual.

Solid timber parts (spars, rails, stringers), lead ballast, hardware, rigging, and sails are not included in this kit.

Can you supply additional components?

We can supply the same additional components as CLC in the US, e.g. Timber Package, Sailing Hardware, Sails, Hull Hardware, Running Rigging etc. Please contact us for further information and pricing.

Builders are sharing photos and experiences at the official PocketShip bulletin board,PocketShip.net

As seen in WoodenBoat #207

PocketShip in WoodenBoat Magazine #207: Small and Simple Cruising by Dan Segal
PocketShip in WoodenBoat Magazine #207: Small and Simple Cruising by Dan Segal


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Denman Marine specialises in custom wooden boat building and repair. We utilise both traditional methods such as carvel or clinker and modern methods such as strip planking, cold molding or clinker plywood.

We can custom build to any design - for example those by Iain Oughtred, David Payne, Paul Gartside, John Welsford, Mark Bowdidge, Francois Vivier, Atkin , Bolger B&B etc.

We are sole Australian agents for Swallow Boats(UK) including the BayRaider, the Australian importer and re-seller of the world renowned Bruynzeel BS1088 Gaboon Marine Plywood (Lloyds certified), Barton Marine products (UK) and Chesapeake Light Craft (USA).

Denman Marine Pty Ltd ATF | ABN: 54779786053 | 2888 Channel Highway Kettering, Tasmania 7155
Mobile: 0413765984 | Tel: 0362674660 | Fax: 0362674991 | Email: andrew@denmanmarine.com.au