Nancy Blackett’s 90th Birthday

Arthur Ransome’s favourite yacht Nancy Blackett will be 90 this year.

He named her after one of his most famous characters, self-styled pirate Nancy Blackett of Swallows and Amazons fame, and he put her in one of his most exciting books, We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea. The beautiful little 28ft cutter has been laid up for the winter at Robertson’s Boatyard in Woodbridge, Suffolk. She will be launched at the end of April and during the next few weeks, volunteers plan to give Nancy a thorough spit and polish (and antifoul!) to get her ready for the big day and her coming season.

Festivities will have to be modest, thanks to the on-going pandemic restrictions but the Trust members are still determined to give this much-loved little ship a celebratory launch on her special anniversary. Bunting and cake are planned and three cheers are imperative!

What next? The Trust hopes that more of its usual programme of events and sail days will be possible this summer as restrictions are gradually lifted and life returns to something approaching normal. The focus will be on local sailing in Nancy’s home waters of the River Orwell and nearby to enable as many people as possible to enjoy sailing, or just visiting, her.

Trust President Peter Willis says: “We preserved Nancy so that she should be sailed and enjoyed by anybody who loves Arthur Ransome’s books – or just beautiful old boats, and that’s just what we hope to be doing this summer.”


To celebrate the event they’re offering free copies of Arthur Ransome’s We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea to the first nine Suffolk schools to get in touch – just email:

This is the book, in which Nancy, as the Goblin, drifts out of Harwich Harbour and her young crew have to learn how to sail her to Holland all on their own. A truly thrilling tale!


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