counter on tumblr
Back Under Sail

This is the story behind the 1907 Humber sloop that was to help fight two wars and join the search for the Loch Ness monster.

Phyllis 1907. Loa 68ft, Beam16ft.4, Draft 7ft.4, Official Number 124785. Yard Number 60. Sail Number 26148.

Web Design



Updated: April 2016

Sailing at South Ferriby

RNLI logo


Birthday Girl.

Kath and I had always wanted to have the sails on Phyllis by her 100th birthday and we had concentrated on her sailing rig in favour of any work on her interior to make sure we could do just that.
 Although as yet without bowsprit, crab rollers or leeboards in September 2007 the opportunity came to set Phyllis out on the Humber again with cloth on her mast and to sail again 100 years after she was first launched at New Holland in August 1907.With allot of help from friends and people who would become friends we managed it, the pictures below are the proof. With still no crab rollers the sails would have to be hand hauled.
phyllis_041 phyllis_040
Humber Sloop Sailing Barge Phyllis  2007

Site created May 2009

By Kath Jones & Alan Gardiner.

If anyone has any memories of working for James Barraclough or have a story about working on Phyllis or any of the Barraclough barges we would like to hear from you.
If you have any comments or questions on the content of the site or would like to add something to it regarding any of the sloops we would also like to hear from you.


Interesting Links

Humber Keel & Sloop Preservation Society.

National Historic Ships Reg.

Thames Barges

Goole Waterways Museum.
Dutch Barge Association.
In The Boat Shed.
Humber Packet Boats.
Leicester Trader.
Humber Yawl Club.
Brilliant Star

Rodney Clapson

Richlow Books

Sailing Barge Research

 Most of the people who had helped over the years wanted to come out with us but Phyllis is only 68ft x 16ft so couldn't fit them all on, anyway those who came were made very welcome and some given something to haul up. With the huge main, top sail and fore sail stretched above, her size was even more apparent, it was really quit obvious at that point, even yet without bow sprit and jib, she was a completely different animal to Amy Howson that I had spent so much time sailing as crew and later skipper for the Soc
iety. I could see she was going to be a handful!
 Despite the fact that the river was flat calm and no wind to fill her sails it was another step forward in her restoration and the old girl looked splendid on her 100th birthday in her new frock. Her restoration and story will continue, but the story of the restoration of Phyllis is not entirely unique. Enthusiasts from our region and beyond are now actively saving and restoring Humber sailing and motor barges, some of their stories have in some way over the years crossed the path of ours and we have learned from each other ways of overcoming the difficulties of taking on such a project and conquering the mountains that need to be climbed. What does makes all our stories unique are the natures and histories of the vessels themselves that we choose to restore. Our Humber sailing craft are all part of the same heritage that we have chosen to be a part of by restoring them; they are a small and unique fleet of traditional sailing vessels, sloop or keel. We must show them off to the best of our ability and speak of their roll in our regions industrial heritage and growth. 
Our thanks must go to the "Ferriby Pirates" who have not all been mentioned here (they know who they are) who have helped so much over the years to get to this stage with Phyllis, and we must remember Dave Robinson who through his own unique character gave us much support, encouragement and guidance.


West Country Keels

Waterways of the Humber
By Christine Richardson.

Barges and Docks

Sheffield Ships.

 Sloop "Amy Howson"

 Sloop "Spider T.

 Keel "Comrade".

 Keel "Daybreak".

 Keel "Southcliffe".

 Keel "Hope".

 Keel "Eden".


The Barton Regatta

Leeboards Explained

Telling The Differance


Contact Us Here


Wind In Her Sails.

It was to be 2008 before Phyllis would sail for real. Once again things centred around the Hull Sea Festival that has become over the years a high point of the season for us to focus on completing a particular piece of restoration on Phyllis. On the Sunday morning I had already thought to make sails ready to haul (still no rollers) before we left the dock for Barton and as we progressed out onto the Humber through the Humber Dock basin I decided we were going to take Phyllis up river under sail even though it meant missing the tide at Barton and returning to Hull. Humber Sloop Under Sail Phyllis 2008
 We turned down river and made over the rising tide to Victoria Pier a short distance from the lock basin entrance and made fast alongside. The bowsprit was rigged and the foresail and jib hauled up and belayed, I ordered Kath (not something I do normally) to the tiller to keep Phyllis off the pier while Steve, Derek and myself hauled up the huge main. A fairly good crowd had gathered at the top of the pier gazing down at the ship and watching the gaff pass them, continuing up until the sail was stretched out and fluttering above them like a huge butterfly's wing. Walking aft I let go the stern rope and as I passed Kath I whispered "keep her full" in her ear, not taking her eyes off the sails, she nodded. Calling to the foredeck for Steve to "let her go" I eased the main sheet as Phyllis slowly drifted away from the shelter of the pier. The unmistakable sound of sails searching for wind gradually ceased as Phyllis caught the breeze and slowly gathered pace over the tide as our eager crew trimmed the sheets. She was sailing again on the Humber 70 odd years after she had her rig taken away, and what's more sailing over the tide! We let her run down towards Dead Bod Jetty and got ready to bring her about and head up river, with no leeboards yet I didn't know how she would respond. Giving a nod to Kath, still wide eyed and trying to look at everything at once, she brought Phyllis round to port and into wind as we backed the foresail and jib, I thought she might stop head to wind and got ready to start the engine, but she carried on through the wind as I hauled in the main sheet and Phyllis was heading up river back to Hull. As we made our way back towards Hull the sail training ship "Prince William" came out of Albert Dock for sea. I altered course to starboard in order to make it clear we would be leaving her the channel, she altered course toward us, again I altered course to starboard, again she altered toward us, not having sea room to do anything more I was about to pick up the radio to enquire about her intentions when she held a course to bring us up on her port side. Holding Phyllis steady we passed close in and as we did so all the ratings who were on the rail of "Prince William" in full dress uniform raised their hats in a salute to "Phyllis". What a special thing to do for her, and we didn't have a camera between us!
 That first sail was all too short and it was soon time to drop sails and go back to the marina, but that short time we had under sail was very special.



[Home Page] [A Short History] [The Building] [Documents] [Sloop Plans] [The Rescue] [Phyllis at Work] [The Journey Home] [The Restoration.] [Square Rigged Sloops] [Gravel Sloops] [Barton Regatta] [Water Colour Sloop] [Back Under Sail] [The Clippers] [Picture Gallery]