Type: Motor Cruiser
Length: 38ft 6ins
Beam: 9ft 1in
Draft: 3ft 5ins
Displacement: 8.22 tons
Construction: Carvel, mahogany on oak
Builder: Thornycroft, Hampton-on-Thames
Member of the Restoration Trust
When the Thornycroft motor cruiser Irma was taken over by the Royal Navy in 1940, her owner, a Mr. Phillips, was in Madrid. Although she appears on several lists of ships that went to Dunkirk, there are no details of the part she played there.
After the war she was re-named Nottac and spent some time on the Clyde in Scotland. Then, in the '70's, she was used as a houseboat at Swan Island, Twickenham. Jerry Hulbert, who lived aboard, bought Irma from a couple who wanted to sail her to South Africa and fitted her out with all kinds of navigation equipment, an echo sounder and a set of signal flags, but at the last moment realised that a river cruising boat can't be adapted to cross an ocean. So, she remained on the Thames until the summer of 2001.
She is now in the care of the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust at their base in Marchwood and has reverted to her original name of Irma. She is awaiting funds for restoration.
I lived on 'Nottac' for a short period in 1983-84, when it was moored at Swan Island Harbour. The owner was a Keith Slaughter, it was in need of restoration and I do not believe that he ever sailed it, although I'm sure that he used to attend the Association meetings.
I knew this boat from my father knowing the owner. He was known as 'Diesel Ron' for obvious reasons! He lived on the boat when moored at Teddington lock.
On one occasion sailing back from Calais we were escorting her when the weather turned terrible, force 8. She started taking on water and lost all power, the Dover lifeboat was called, and she was towed to safety. This was around 1971-72.
We lived on this ship at Swan Island harbour from August 1998 to May 2000 and have very fond memories of freezing winters and lovely long summer night on the Thames ! We sold her, and I think she was sent down to Southampton awaiting restoration. Can anyone confirm this ?