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Who is Phyllis ?

In the limited time that our website has been online we are pleased by the number of contacts who have all tried to help us in our research.

In particular we believed "Phyllis" to be a Royal Mersey Restricted Class yacht. We have now been advised that she may be even more unique. Completed in June 1913 to a design by GH Wilmer, she's built to the RMRC class envelope but with the exceptions of a slightly heavier build and a deeper keel.

The first owner FW Whitely, a longstanding member of the RMYC and a restricted class yachtsman, who commissioned her, is said to have sailed her directly to Hibre Island where his family still has today a summer cottage on the island. "Phyllis" is named after his eldest daughter.

Hopefully our continued research, and with the help of others we may be able to learn a little bit more.

Phyllis 28 July 2010 - Skippool

Today "Phyllis" keeps company with the Nobby Owners Association and looks forward to going out with the buoys, the old gaffers and any hookers who are around. She is on the National Small Boat Register (R1387) as a vessel of historical maritime interest. Carvel built, pitch pine on oak frames, her rebuild was completed in 2010 and she was immediately nominated on the short list for the 'Classic Boat' magazine restoration of the year.

The hull design is based on the very successful Lancashire 'nobby' design, extensively used on the Northwest fishing grounds of the Lancashire and Welsh coasts.

These fishing boats, locally known as 'Nobbies', were reputed to have a very good turn of speed in the Irish Sea, and were often seen beating the local racing boats back to port to get their catch to market.

"Phyllis" was originally built by Samuel Bond at Rock Ferry on the Wirral to a design by GH Wilmer. Bond's built several Royal Mersey Restricted Class yachts for club members. Bond's yard was situated alongside the RMYC clubhouse.

If anyone knows about any of the remaining vessels in the class, please let us know.

Yacht Phyllis

Phyllis (circa mid 1900's)?
Bermudan Rigged

Yacht Phyllis

Phyllis - Albert Dock (circa 1995)
Vance Crocket at the Helm

When the heart rules the head !

Everyone I hope, lets their hearts rule their head at some time, and I've always had a bit of an hankering for a little wooden boat. During one of these moments I came across an old wooden vessel in the yard of a home on the Wirral Peninsula. Don't ask me why! One look and something told me that this was the boat. In poor shape, and under a partial refit, I was told it would not take too much to get her back on the water again!

After arranging for a massive mobile crane we got her out from under the garden tree and the residue of the previous autumn's fall of leaves. A heart stopping, and traffic stopping, moment when she cleared the yard fence and hung at a height of 20ft as she was positioned and placed on to the waiting low loader.

I'm a big believer in not going to sea unless I know everything works, how it's put together and what is where. So began the removal and striping out of all the previous work. In other words, gradually reducing the asset value until just an empty shell remained. Then the start of the rebuild, which for various reasons included some abortive professional work, which had to be removed later as part of the rebuild to original specification.

"Phyllis" was originally gaff cutter rigged and with a lifting keel, but she was bermudan rigged with a cast iron keel when I found her. With some good luck the aluminium mast and sails were sold and a wooden mast, boom, gaff and sails procured from a sister vessel from the same class, "Avis" (1906) which was in the process, sadly, of being broken up. During our research it came to light that "Avis" was one of the first yachts of the class which made it even more poignant when we found that out. It is however good to know that "Phyllis" has been rebuilt using some parts from one of the very first in the class.

Interestingly this rigging travelled from Skippool Creek to Cheshire and back again. The rigging was to return some 3 years later to the same boatyard when it was decided to have an artisan and master shipwright on the job, David Moss. It was David who showed us that the vessel had been converted to a cruising yacht and that it would probably be best to return her back to her former glory.

Phyllis's Known Owners





* 1913 - 1922

FW Whiteley


Completed early enough in the year to be incorporated in the 1913 Lloyds Register of Yachts.

* 1924 - 1932

RF Whiteley

Hilbre Island

Recorded as being changed from a centre board cutter to an aux cutter.




Not listed in Lloyds.


Dr. R Armsden



* 1935 - 1948

Austin Lightbound


Recorded as a bermudan rigged sloop.

*1949 - 1951

JS Horsefield /
F Taylor-Monks




Francis G Critchley



*1953 - 1956

WA & JF Wood


Said to have been altered from a gaff cutter to an aux sloop?

*1957 - 1959

Ronald J Wood



*1960 - 1964

Robert W Shaw



*1965 - 1969

Clifford Thomas



*1970 - 1973

Zdzislaw FIC

Caernarvon /



John W Gully

Caernarvon /


1975 - 1979



Not listed in Lloyds.



& Conwy






1990 - 2001

William V Crockett


Re-rigged as bermudan cutter (1991). Re-engined, new diesel engine, Perkins Perama M30, (1995).

2001 - Date

Kevin J Goulding


Rebuilt 2010 to RMRC Gaff Rigged Cutter using blueprint of 'Avis' by David Moss, boatbuilder Skippool Creek.

* Information from Lloyds Register of Yachts.