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Introduction to Phyllis

Introduction to Phyllis

Who is Phyllis ?


Our limited research has not yet led us to find out who the lady known as "Phyllis" was, perhaps a wife, daughter or grandmother. Perhaps one day we will learn.


The "Phyllis" we know is a 1900's Royal Mersey Yacht Club Restricted Class racing yacht and is, we believe, the last remaining vessel in its class, the Royal Mersey Yacht Club Restricted Class. Completed in 1913, she never raced, as far as we know, probally due to the outbreak of World War I. But later on? Well, perhaps we willl never know!


From our research we have ascertained that "Phyllis" was her original name, and while others in the class changed names along with the various owners, Phillis has always remained "Phyllis" so we don't have the heart or inclination to now change her name. Especially now, as she has been placed on the National Boat Register (R1387) as a vessel of historical maritime interest.


The hull design of the class 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 (Birkenhead), and designed by G.H.Wilmer. Bond's built four of the eleven Royal Mersey Restricted Class yachts for club members. Bond's yard was alongside the RMYC clubhouse.


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

Royal Mersey Yacht Phyllis

Phyllis (circa mid 1900's)?

Royal Mersey Yacht Phyllis


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

When the heart rules the head !


Everyone, i hope, lets their hearts rule their head, 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 serious abortive work, which later had to be removed. Although this work was not carried out by amateurs it was fundamentally flawed.


"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 in the same RMRC class, "Avis" which was in the process, sadly, of being broken up. During our research it came to light that "Avis" was indeed the first of the class which made it even more poignant when we found that out but it was good to know that "Phyllis" will have been restored using some spars from the very first of the class.


Interestingly this rigging traveled 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 a real master craftsman and shipwright on the job, David Moss. It was David who showed us that the vessel had been poorly converted to a cruising yacht and that it would probably be best to return her to her former glory.


"Phyllis" has been placed on the National Boat Register (R1387) as a vessel of special maritime historical interest, she is carvel built, pitch pine on oak frames.

Phyllis's Known Owners





* 1913 - 1920

FW Whiteley


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

* 1931

RF Whiteley

Hilbre Island

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

* 1936 - 1947

Austin Lightbound


Recorded as a bermudan rigged sloop.



& Caernarvon

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








Went foreign!



& Conway






1990 - 2001

William V Crockett


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

2001 - Date

Kevin J Goulding

Skippool Creek

Rebuild 2010 back to Gaff Cutter Rig at Skippool Creek by David Moss, boatbuilder Flyde Coast.

* Information from Lloyds Register of Yachts.



© 2008 Kevin Goulding