Type: Motor Yacht
Beam: 10ft 6ins
Draft: 4ft 6ins
Displacement: 15 tons
Engine: 2 x Perkins P4 Diesels
Construction: Carvel, mahogany on oak
Boat Builder: Thornycroft, Hampton-on-Thames
Douglas Tough's notebook meticulously recorded the details of the ships he collected to go down the river to Sheerness and from there to Ramsgate and Dunkirk. Tarifa appears in his notes, together with the names of her crew: J.J. Jameson, L. Melsom, S. Brown and E.L. Peters, all civilians from London. This is the only record of her participation, but many have left no more than that.
Built in the heyday of Thornycroft at Hampton-on-Thames at the beginning of 1932 for W.D. Wills, M.P. for Batley, Yorks, Tarifa's launching was reported with respect in the 'Motor Boat'. Her crew's quarters forward gave access by an iron ladder to the foredeck and had their own toilet. The owner's suite aft boasted a bathroom with a full-sized tub and the mahogany panelled cabins offered wardrobes and dressing tables. For Mediterranean cruising her specification for an "icebox of the largest size possible, fitted athwartships in one of the cupboards" must have been welcome. With her twin 30hp Thornycroft engines the distance was no problem, though these have now been replaced by two Perkins diesels.
Even before the war started, W.D. Wills, a distant relative of the tobacco family, who later became a Lt. Cdr. RNVR, allowed her to be used by the Royal Navy, for wireless telegraphy training, carrying up to 60 ratings at a time. After the war, Maurice Wooding, a marine surveyor, had her for twenty years and cruised the waterways of Europe down to the south of France. Now her owners, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis who found her derelict in Reading in 1986, have once more painstakingly restored Tarifa as closely as possible to her original condition and she will make a fine charter boat.
It is sad, in a way, that these old timers can only survive if they produce an income, but the cost of their upkeep constantly threatens their survival and they have no chance of being put out to grass to rest on their past achievements. But maybe it is better so. Like old soldiers, they would die if they were made to retire, with no further practical function.