counter on tumblr
Loch Ness

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


Loch Ness

Loch Ness.

  • In 1982 Phyllis was chartered to the Loch Ness and Morar Project for use as a survey vessel in a Nessie hunt. Or, as the 1983 Project Report summarising eight years fieldwork at puts it,
  • "The object was to repeat previous sonar contacts and, in addition, to establish some pattern leading perhaps to active underwater photography. Hints to identity can also be gleaned from sonar contacts, especially if it is possible to track their movements."
  • The Project had 150 participants including contingents from W Yorkshire Fire Service Sailing Club, The Royal Corps of Transport Sailing Club, Sea Cadets and Venture Scouts, and it followed a reputable line of scientific enquiry first established by the naturalist Sir Peter Scott in the 1960's. In 1975 he named the elusive creature Nessiteras Rhombopteryx (the Ness monster with the diamond shaped fin), to this day neatly capturing our entire body of knowledge.
  • Working alongside the purpose-built survey vessel "John Murray", a forty-foot catamaran, and a Simrad sonar equipped motor cruiser New Atlantis, Phyllis was fitted with a Furuno 106A sonar and cathode screen in her focs'l for the search. Briefly, during May to July, the respective vessels continuously motored or drifted near the centre of a deep basin in Loch Ness between Foyers and Urquhart Bay making investigation.
  • Of the twelve sonar contacts made by the three ships, the two most significant targets came from the Furuno on Phyllis in May and June. However, Phyllis's contribution to scientific debate appears to have been regrettably indecisive. Although the Project Report is cautiously optimistic that the sonar observations are repeatable, regrettably the authors note
  • "The Spring of 1983 marks the fiftieth year of speculation concerning Loch Ness…We can hardly find the anniversary a cause for celebration and mark the occasion with an apology that the enigma remains.
  • Phyllis Loch
  • The picture of "Phyllis" (nearest camera) and John William above on Loch Ness was kindly sent to us by one of Phyllis's previous owners, Fionna and Eric Hutchinson who together still own "John William" in 2012. Unfortunatly we don't have any pictures of Nessie!!
  • As you can see both ships are rigged with two masts, no sails are on "Phyllis" but "John William" was rigged as a barque at this time.

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

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

DSCF0359 (2)
Above is "Phyllis" engaged in sonar operations with the Goodyear airship "Europa" above Urquhart Castle in 1982.
The skipper of "Phyllis" was Adrian Shine from the Loch Ness Project and the picture is taken from the book by Colonel John Blashford-Snell called "Mysteries, Encounters with the unexplained" ISBN 0-370-30479-9. The book explains how a sonar target was tracked by "Phyllis" for 30 minutes moving in a 300 metre diameter circle around her about 18 meters below the surface. For more of the story you will have to buy the book.
The Airship Trust documents the history of "Europa". Follow this link, Airship Heritage Trust.


[Home Page] [A Short History] [The Building] [Documents] [Loch Ness] [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]