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The Rescue

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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The Rescue.

First seen in a popular publication that had adverts for both boats and planes for sale, Phyllis was in Inverness and advertised as;  "A loverly old barge that needs a little work"........ Really!

Phyllis was under the constraint of a detention order issued by the MCA from 1991 when her previous owner had intended to take her to sea without any knowledge of what that actually meant and Phyllis just wasn't in a condition to be able to leave Inverness. She later sank and was pumped out and re-floated by the local marina so by 1998 she was in an even worse situation. The trip down to the Humber had to have some serious consideration. The first problem was that she was not allowed to leave Inverness, however the shipyard had closed down and there was no longer anyone on the Caledonian Canal who could undertake work on such a scale. A plot was hatched and arrangements made to tow her down to Buckie (to avoid red tape we neglected to tell the MCA) where she could be hauled out and the work to satisfy the MCA could be undertaken. On arrival at Buckie the yard pulled her up the slipway and we arranged a surveyor to come along and look at her, In the mean time the man from the MCA who had issued the detention order found out that she had gone from Inverness and came looking for her. Not a happy bunny!!

Back in Lincolnshire we waited for a call from the surveyor to let us know what work we needed to have done in order to satisfy the MCA requirements. The call eventually came and it wasn't good news, " he said she's scrap" said Kath after putting the phone down. After some years dealing with old barges and being involved with Amy Howson for the HKSPS I didn't believe that Phyllis couldn't be saved, so off we went to Buckie. To cut a long story short, the machine the surveyor had used to measure the plates on Phyllis was not calibrated properly and had therefore given the incorrect reading. With help from a surveyor friend who knew about these things and who also agreed to go up to Buckie and speak to the MCA we eventually got some relevent measurements of her hull and an agreement with the MCA. Work was also agreed on and duly started by the yard that would enable her to begin her voyage home to the Humber.

Phyllis 3

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.


Phyllis was hauled out of the water at Buckie Shipyard down the coast from Inverness to be assessed by the MCA and the local surveyor for her trip back to the Humber. The white line on her bow is the load line mark given to her by the MCA man that she must not exceed in draught before further repairs and her next survey.

The inside of Phyllis was not a good place to be, the rotting timber roof and its supports were liable to collapse at any time. Her sinking and the long period of neglect had taken its toll on her and although her hull was still watertight the roof was not, the whole roof had to be replaced and sheeted down to make it watertight for sea. 

Interesting Links

Humber Keel & Sloop Preservation Society.

National Historic Ships Reg.

barge 2
Phyllis 9i

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

Looking from aft her plates are clearly visible, six each side make up her hull and made it possible to shape her fine run that gave the big Humber sloop its sailing qualities. While a new rudder is being made in the shipyard fabrication shop, the stern shaft has been removed and the tube blanked off for her forthcoming voyage back down the east coast.

Sheffield Ships.

 Sloop "Amy Howson"

 Sloop "Spider T.

 Keel "Comrade".

 Keel "Daybreak".

Under cover in the side slip shed Phyllis is given her temporary ply wood roof. Her wheel house was also removed, she wouldn't be needing that any more with her traditional tiller steering.

 Keel "Southcliffe".

 Keel "Hope".


 Keel "Eden".


The Barton Regatta

Leeboards Explained

Telling The Differance


A brand new rudder being fabricated in the engineering shop at Buckie Shipyard complete with tiller stock. A new pin was also made and the bushes were replaced. Her original rudder was made from pitch pine planks, 4" thick and 8ft long bolted and braced together with iron. One day she might have it back.


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[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]