PotBS Wiki
Hermes PacketBoat.jpg
'Hermes' Sleek Packet-Boat
A Level 21, 22-gun Medium Scout
Historical rating: 16-gun Unrated Ship
These parameters determine how your ship sails.
Max Speed: Maximum Speed
How fast your ship can move in battles. Improving battle speed does not improve Open Sea speed.

Acceleration: Acceleration
Determines how fast the ship gains speed.

Deceleration: Deceleration
Determines how fast the ship loses speed. Lower values are better if you want to maintain speed, higher values are better if you want to stop quickly.

Turning (Fast): Fast Turn Rate
The Ship's turn rate in degrees per second. This is how fast the ship turns if it is moving at maximum speed.

Turning (Slow): Slow Turn Rate
The Ship's turn rate in degrees per second. This is how fast the ship turns if it is moving at a speed of at least 4 knots.

Turning Accel: Max Turning Acceleration
This shows how fast a ship accelerates into a turn. The higher the value, the faster the ship reaches its maximum turn rate.

Turning Decel: Min Turning Deceleration
Ships gradually suffer less deceleration as they turn. This shows a minimum amount of deceleration a ship has when turning. Lower numbers (relative to other acceleration stats) are better.

Best Point: Best Point
The wind angle at which the ship can attain its maximum speed. The wind comes from angle 0o, and angle 180o is running with the wind at your back.
Capacity: Capacity
How many units of cargo the ship can hold.

O.S. Visibility: Open Sea Visibility
How far away other ships will spot you on the open sea.

O.S. Spotting: Open Sea Spotting
Increases your spotting range, allowing you to detect ships beyond their O.S. Visibility.

Crew: Crew
The maximum number of crew on your ship. Shows the fighting strength of your crew.

Target Tracking: Target Tracking
Reduces the accuracy penalties you suffer due to your movement and your target's movement. Improves your chance to hit fast moving ships.


21 ( Medium)
LEVEL (SIZE): Level and Size
The level required to use this ship, and the size of the hull.

DURABILITY: Durability
The number of ships you have left. Decreases by 1 whenever the ship is defeated in combat (with the exception of skirmish).

INSURANCE VALUE: Insurance Value
Amount of doubloons you will receive for this ship if she is sunk or scuttled.
The ship's Health stats show how much damage it can sustain.
Hull: Hull (Structure)
The internal structure of your ship. When your structure runs out, your ship sinks.

Port: Port (Left)
The ship's port armor. Armor facings protect the ship's hull.

Stbd: Starboard (Right)
The ship's starboard armor. Armor facings protect the ship's hull.

Bow: Bow (Front)
The ship's bow armor. Armor facings protect the ship's hull.

Stern: Stern (Rear)
The ship's stern armor. Armor facings protect the ship's hull.

Sails: Sails & Masts
Shows how much damage the ship's sails and masts can sustain. Ships lose speed as they take sail damage.
Integ. Integrity
The ship's Integrity stats show how much damage it can sustain.
DR Damage Reduction
Shows how much the ship's armor reduces the damage it receives.
These change your chance to hit, chance to get hit and the damage you take.
Sails: Sails
Offense, defense and resistance values for your ship's sails and masts.

Crew: Crew
Offense, defense and resistance values for your ship's crew.

Bow: Bow (Front)
Offense, defense and resistance values for your ship's bow armor.

Stern: Stern (Rear)
Offense, defense and resistance values for your ship's stern armor.

Sides: Broadsides (Left & Right)
Offense, defense and resistance values for your ship's broadsides.

Grapple: Grappling
Grappling offense makes it easier to board ships. Grappling defense protects you against hostile boarding attempts.
OFF Offense
Offensive modifiers are a percentage increase to your chance to hit. The numbers here include any benefits from 'Accuracy, All' items.
DEF Defense
Defensive modifiers are a percentage decrease to the chance enemies will hit you. The numbers here include any benefits from 'Defense, All' items.
RES Resistance
Resistance is a percentage reduction in the damage you take.
The guns on your ship are divided into batteries. Guns within a single battery are identical and are controlled as a group.
Type Quantity & Weight
This shows number and size of the guns in the battery. Heavier guns do more damage, have longer range and penetrate armor better. Lighter guns reload faster and are better at dealing sustained damage against unarmored targets.
Reload Reload
The time it takes to reload the entire battery of guns, in seconds.
Damage Maximum Damage
This shows how much damage each cannon can do at minimum range using heavy round shot. Damage gradually decreases as your target gets farther away.
Range Maximum Range
This shows how far the cannons can fire heavy round shot. Other ammo types modify this range.
Acc Accuracy
This shows the cannon's percentage chance to hit a standard target at 200 or 400 yards away. The chance to hit is increased based on target size, and decreases based on movement.
200 / 400 Accuracy
This shows the cannon's percentage chance to hit a standard target at 200 or 400 yards away. The chance to hit is increased based on target size, and decreases based on movement.
Swivels: Swivel guns fire anti-personnel shot, spraying enemy decks with a lethal cloud of musket-balls. 6x 1/2lb 7.6s 7.0 100y -- / --
Topdeck:16x 6lb 19.0s 26.0 450y 104 / 75
Upwind & Luffing
32% - 42%
5.52 - 7.25 knots
12.94 knots
12.94 knots
15.09 knots87.5%
87.5%15.09 knots
17.25 knots
17.25 knots
15.53 knots
Open Sea Speed: 65
Information based on version Current game version is

A versatile ship, her biggest advantage and disadvantages come from her rigging. Packet boats sail similar to frigates, which means they run well with the wind but they aren't strong against the wind like many similar-sized ships. It takes a skilled captain to fully utilize the Hermes against small and large targets. The sleek variant is faster and tougher than the regular Hermes. This ship has 5% faster reload times.


The history of the packet-boat is closely intertwined with that of the Yacht. For as long as humans have been plying the oceans, there has been a need for fast vessels — often diminutive in stature — to carry information, news, orders, correspondence, packages, and even the occasional person from one place to another as swiftly as possible. As humankind's frontiers gradually expanded, that need for speed has become more and more pressing, ultimately expressing itself at sea in the form of the large, swift clipper ships of the 1800's. Yet in the early 18th century, maritime nations' needs were not nearly so well defined: for early packet-boats varied greatly in form and rig.

For a good deal of maritime history, practically any reasonably swift, seaworthy craft could be used as a packet-boat. The term itself defines function, not form:

"PACKET, or PACKET-BOAT, (paquet, Fr.) a vessel appointed by the government to carry the mail of letters, packets, and, expresses from one kingdom to another by sea, in the most expeditious manner."

This ambiguity is further reinforced by the fact that such designated craft could be referred to as packet ships, post yachts, and advice yachts ("advice" originally meaning "news"). Yachts themselves varied in shape and rig, their main commonality being a balance of speed and comfort. In the case of the packet-boat, speed was balanced somewhat by capacity for a given length — even the tiny post-yacht Hiorten provides a compromise between maximum speed and maximum carrying capacity for a ship her size.

While by no means the earliest purpose-built packet-boat, the Hiorten is among the first of which we have definite knowledge, being launched in 1692. Such ships were quite common in the Netherlands and Baltic states, whose many islands and waterways made the sea the most convenient means of getting things from point A to B — be it news, people, or goods.

This Baltic predilection towards modest, swift, yet capacious craft eventually played a vital role in Pacific exploration. Vitus Bering — the Danish explorer, originally contracted by Peter the Great to look for a northern route from the Atlantic into the Indies — chose a packet-boat design for his two ships in 1740. These two small brigs — the Svyatoi Pyotr and Svyatoi Pavel — were directly inspired by contemporary Danish design, though built by Russian shipwrights directly on Russia's Pacific coast. While fine sailers, these packets could not save Bering from the Arctic's early and brutal winters. After being driven ashore at what is now Bering Island, Bering himself was among the many souls lost to scurvy on the journey back from the newly-discovered Aleutians to the Pacific port of Petropavlovsk.

Curiously enough, in the first half of the 18th century the British navy appears to have relied more on temporarily assigned ships for packet duty, rather than purpose-built ships devoted solely to carrying "advice" where needed. This was to cause much difficulty by the Napoleonic wars, as the cutters and sloops assigned to carrying information often were captured by French frigates and xebecs. Necessity is the mother of Invention, however, and by the end of the century England had not only begun producing specially built packet-boats, but had refined their form to even more closely match the needs of their function — even briefly experimenting with a four-masted design.

In this light it's fitting that some of the best surviving plans for packet-boats come from Sweden, one of Europe's most forward-thinking nations in the 18th century in matters maritime. Besides the Hiorten, five fine draughts for packet-boats are included in Fredric Henrik af Chapman's Architectura Navalis Mercatoria of 1767. While somewhat past PotBS's focus period (and thus in need of adaptation for game use), these draughts exemplify the qualities that went into the best packet-ships circa 1720. Instead of the boxy hull section of a merchantman, their lines are more rounded — exactly comparable to those of contemporary corvettes and frigates. However, instead of having two complete decks (one open, armed deck and a second one intended for deploying sweeps), Chapman's packet-boats are decked in the manner of small merchantmen, providing a capacious hold at the expense of the strength gained from a second full deck near the waterline. This lightness of construction would also make the packet-boat less expensive to build than a similarly-sized warship — though as a consequence she would also carry a lighter armament.


In terms of speed, the 'Hermes' Sleek Packet-boat is virtually without peer. Other vessels may technically rate higher, but their acceleration is so low as to be completely disqualified. However, it is very important to note that this ship is only the fastest as long as it is running broad reach, before the wind, or beam reach. Then again, the unrivaled open sea speed means that catching this boat with the weather-gage on your side would be a challenge in and of itself. Really, the only time its captain would ever need to be worried is when fleeing from the leanest and meanest of xebecs or polacres under the 'perfect storm' conditions (e.g. being caught upwind).

That said, actually engaging enemies of equal level is entirely different. While a skilled captain may be able to take on fat, sluggish merchants with ease, facing another scout of the same bracket would be a very close match. The 'Locust' Corvette has a significantly heavier broadside and comparable turning to the 'Hermes', not to mention features significantly superior armor. And needless to say, facing a well-armed frigate or indiaman would be downright foolhardy, being laughably outgunned and outranged.


Other variants of the Hermes:


The ship was modeled from Chapmans plans, plate 41 #1, by Marion van Ghent.