VIC 32 was built in 1943 at Dunston's Shipyard in Thorne, Yorkshire and her engine was by Crabtree of Great Yarmouth. She was built on a 1939 Puffer design - boats that operated on the West Coast of Scotland, supplying the Highlands and islands with everything that was needed in these remote parts.
During the war, she is believed to have carried cement, ammunition and aviation fuel, delivering supplies to the fleet in Loch Eil and Scapa Flow. She was renamed C702 and worked at Rosyth Dockyard after the war. She was sold in December 1963 to Whites, Inverkeithing, to be scrapped, but was sold on and moved to Whitby for restoration, reverting to her original name.
In October 1975, she was purchased by Nick Walker and, in May 1976, steamed to London, where she was restored at St Katharine's Yacht Haven. The hold was converted into accommodation at two levels, the hatch boards were raised by 23 inches and windows were fitted in the sides to give a clerestory roof. She was then used by her owner for trips on the Thames and for a cruise to the French Channel coast. In 1978, VIC 32 sailed via Inverness and the Caledonian Canal to Crinan, on the Sound of Jura, in Argyll and Bute. She offered seven-day cruises from Tarbert to Loch Fyne and the Firth of Clyde, and on the Caledonian Canal, and was operated by Highland Steamboat Holidays Ltd.
In 1994, her base moved to Crinan Ferry. In 2004, her boiler failed its annual survey and she ceased operations. The Puffer Preservation Trust was formed to raise funds for a new boiler, and with the help of National Heritage Lottery funding, she was re-boilered in 2006 and returned to service, offering week-long cruises with the renamed Puffer Steamboat Holidays Ltd.
Source: Paul Brown, Historic Ships The Survivors (Amberley, 2010), updated Mar 2011.
Brouwer, Norman J, International Register of Historic Ships, Anthony Nelson, Edition 2, 1993
Steamboat Register: An illustrated Register of surviving steam vessels in the British Isles, Steam Boat Association of Great Britain, Edition 6, May 1994
Classic Boat: Cajuns on the Loch, December 1995
Ships Monthly: The Story of the VICs - Part 2: Post War Service, August 1991
Ships Monthly: Clyde 'Puffers' - a review of their rise and decline, May 1981
Ships Monthly: Clyde 'Puffers' - a review of their rise and decline (continued), June 1981
Ships Monthly: The Story of the VICs, July 1981
The Funnel, Edition 15
Built by Richard Dunston of Thorne and worked as a supply ship during Second World War
Sold for scrap, but taken to Whitby for restoration
Sold and moved to St Katharines Dock in London where the cargo space was converted to passenger accommodation
Commenced cruises on the Crinan Canal, Scotland
Boiler failed and a new one installed
The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £105,000 tp remove the exisitng boiler and replace with a purpose built replica
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