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The Clippers

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.

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Updated: April 2016

Sailing at South Ferriby

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Clipper Round the World Race 2009.

September 2009 saw the start of the Round the World Clipper Race start at Hull.
 During the months before the race start we were asked if it was possible to use Phyllis to mark the outer point of the start line for the race from which the official time for the whole race would begin, some of the race officials would also be required to be aboard.
 After quite a bit of discussion and planning of positions and timetables we felt that Phyllis would be able to carry out her duties as the start vessel for the race. With gathering publicity and corporate investment in the city of Hull leading up to the race week it all seemed rather challenging for such an old lady as Phyllis. Amid the spectacle of the race itself and officialdom of the Clipper Race Commitee we and Phyllis were involved in some planning of our own. Phyllis would have to be in the right place at the right time all the time without anchoring. A daunting task for me on the tiller.


Clipper Yacht Race Start 09 071
Phyllis along with Amy, Southcliffe and Comrade had been given special dispensation to be in the Marina at Hull for a week before the race weekend so we put the time to good use making sure Phyllis had all her bits and pieces in the right place and everything looked right.
 Of course we had to fly all the official and promotional pennants on the day so temporary halyards were rigged to haul them up and make her look pretty.   All us barge types were shunted off into Alex Dock at tea time on the Friday so we missed the fireworks and some of the entertainment around the marina. We had plenty of supplies on board so we made our own entertainment and the beer was cheep.

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.


The morning of the Race everyone was out of their bunks bright and early (except Kath) making sure all the rigging and the flags were sorted out with no loose sheets or halyards to spoil Phyllis's appearance on the start line.
 The sea cadets from H.M.S. Gambia (Thorne) were to be the Guard of Honor to the Lord Mayor of Hull and Admiral of the Humber Clr Karen Woods. All the cadets arrived with their Commanding Officer Jeff Dobson and were given their orders as to what to do, when and how, some attention had to be given to the hats of a couple of cadets to stop them blowing overboard in the brisk wind (the hats, not the cadets).


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


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As you can see we had the Hull Fire Service on standby just in case the Mayor burst into flames. Well actually the Harbour Master was worried that Karen (we're on first name terms now) couldn't navigate the ladder onto Phyllis so at first sent a huge great forklift truck carrying a gangway big enough for the QE2 which was far to big to use. His "plan B" was the Fire Brigade, fortunately Karen was happy with the ladder and was piped onto Phyllis in fine naval style by the cadets.
 Once all the formal introductions had taken place the crew hauled up the dress flags and got Phyllis ready to slip the birth and proceed into the lock to await final instructions from "Lynch Pin" (the race controller). Once in the lock we had time for final checks on Phyllis's rig and run through what was required, after that the crew settled down to their more serious duties. Below! (I said the beer was cheep!)
Derek, Lisa and John in their usual state of readiness.

Left. Admiral Karen Woods is introduced to some of the crew and friends of ours on board Phyllis before setting off for the start line.

Clipper Yacht Race Start 09 063
But some of us still had things to do!
The Clipper yachts parade up to the bridge and back amidst the spray of water cannon from a couple of tugs before the start of the race. The wind had freshened from the NE and was making things difficult on Phyllis to keep station on her marks. I decided to try and lay out the anchor with 90ft of chain to try and hold her over the bank and on her marks. With the effects of the wind and tide together acting on Phyllis's 100 tons of hull and rigging she dragged the anchor south and threatened to get amongst the spectator boats. We had to haul in the anchor and go with the first plan of holding station. I must have looked like an overweight ballerina on the after deck, trying to balance the wind and tide with the engine and tiller to keep her on station.
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Above. Our boat! "Hull & Humber" her crew get the fore sail and jib ready to make a good start as she makes her way to the holding area before the first cannon.
Left. Phyllis looks pretty with all her decorations flying, the radio was busy at this point with "Lynch Pin" directing our position, luckily we had the Humber Harbor Master on board, Phil Cowing took charge of the radio communications while I held Phyllis on her position. Kath was busy making tea of course.
Their off! The smoke from the starting cannon can been seen behind the lead yacht "Australia". The camera and safety boats chase after the clippers as they charge down past The Deep and towards King George Dock and off on their way on the first leg of the 35,000 mile race which will take them around the world, all started from the tip of Phyllis's bow sprit.
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