Patron: Ellen MacArthur

Registered Charity No 1065058

Sail Nancy yourself. Every year, members of the Trust enjoy the unique experience of sailing aboard a classic yacht which is also part of our literary heritage. With short trips and longer passages, we cater for all levels of experience, including none, and for all ages, especially the young.

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Sail Nancy Blackett

Stores: Books and Blackettabilia

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Nancy Blackett was Arthur Ransome's favourite amongst his various cruising yachts. He named her after his favourite character, the adventurous, irrepressible leader of the Amazon Pirates in his Swallows and Amazons books.

She provided him with the inspiration for possibly his best book, We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea, widely regarded as a classic of both children's and seafaring literature. Lightly disguised as the Goblin, Nancy plays a leading role in the book. Its action takes place almost entirely aboard the little boat, as the four children seek to sail her across the North Sea, at night, in a storm without any adult aboard. Ransome sailed the course himself in Nancy, and worked on the book aboard her, while living near Pin Mill on the River Orwell, where the story starts.

Nancy was built in 1931, a Hillyard 7-tonner, 28ft long, plus bowsprit, with an unusual Bermudian cutter rig. Exactly like the Goblin, she has roller-reefing, operated by a little brass handle, and, down below, four bunks with blue mattresses, and a little white sink opposite a tiny galley.

In 1988 she was discovered near-derelict in Scarborough harbour, and brought back to the Orwell to be restored.. Thanks to over £60,000 worth of work carried out by two private owners and more recently the Nancy Blackett Trust, she is now sailing again, and recognisable as the boat Ransome knew and loved.

The Nancy Blackett Trust was set up in 1997 to purchase and preserve Arthur Ransome's Nancy Blackett and to develop ways of using her to inspire interest in Ransome's books and to encourage young people to discover and enjoy sailing.

Membership is open to all who wish to help in the upkeep of Nancy - the work is funded mainly through individual contributions. Your involvement may be active - sailing or joining one of the working parties to help with maintenance - or you may prefer simply to enjoy the satisfaction of helping to preserve a beautiful and important part of our literary and maritime heritage.

The subscription rate is £10 a year, although additional donations are very welcome - maintaining a wooden boat of Nancy's age in good condition is inevitably a costly process. Using Gift Aid (for UK taxpayers) increases the value of your donation by 28% by enabling us to reclaim income tax.

The Nancy Blackett Trust is a member of Heritage Afloat, the Alliance of Literary Societies, and the Royal Yachting Association

This page last updated 10-April-2002 by Woll