Vic steams on in 75th year

VIC 32 captures public attention as she recreates a scene from the past at Helensburgh Pier on Tuesday 17 May. PHOTO: HUGH DOUGHERTY

VIC 32, the last coal-fired Clyde puffer in service, is marking 75 years since she was launched in 1943 from Dunston’s shipyard in Thorne, Yorkshire, with a series of seasonal cruises from her base at Crinan.

The Crinan Canal stalwart recently tied up at little used Helensburgh Pier to allow her passengers to visit the town’s historic, Rennie Mackintosh-designed Hill House, recreating a harbour scene that was once common place when puffers called with goods from the western isles.

VIC 32 immediately caught the attention of the public when she docked and skipper and owner Nick Walker and his crew were soon inundated with requests for information about the ship as dozens of pictures were taken.

The puffer will celebrate 40 years of sailing in preservation in 2019. Nick said: “She attracts attention wherever we go. We are marking her 75 birthday with our usual collection of well-filled cruises and we’ll be marking her 40th anniversary of sailing in preservation in 2019.”

Full details of this year’s holiday cruises schedule and charter opportunities are at