Aboard the ‘Nancy Blackett’

Sophie Neville aboard the Nancy Blackett at Buckler's HardA few days ago I was able to grab a chance and sail a yacht once owned by Arthur Ransome called the Nancy Blackett, ‘The best little ship I ever owned.’


Nancy had been brought up from her birth at Woolverstone on the River Orwell in Suffolk to Buckler’s Hard on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire for The Arthur Ransome Society International Annual General Meeting held at Brockenhurst College near by.


Apart from being Arthur Ranomse’s model for the Goblin in two of his books in the Swallows and Amazons series ~ We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea and Secret Water ~ the Nancy Blackett has recently appeared in Sally Potter’s feature film Ginger and Rosa.


I went to visit her when she was open to visitors at the Boat yard at Bucklers Hard on Sunday 26th May.


We emerged having wondered how Arthur Ransome managed to fit himself into the heads, which are right in the bows. Apparently he used to sit there smoking his pipe. How his wife squeezed herself in I do not know – she was 6’3″ tall.


On the morning of 27th May we had a quick look around the historic village of Bucklers Hard,

Sophie Neville at the Mast Builder's Hotel at Buckler's Hard

including the Master Builder’s Hotel,


before finding Nancy at the marina.

Sophie Neville aboard the Nancy Blackett

After climbing into our life-jackets, we left the mooring and motored down the Beaulieu River.


Once we reached the Solent, our sails were hoisted and we were sailing towards the Isle of Wight.


Peter Willis, Chairman of the Nancy Blackett Trust was with us.


It was exciting to take the helm as we made our way up to Lymington on a broad reach at about 4 knots, at first against, then with the tide.


Having left at about 10.00am we reached the Royal Lymington Yacht Club soon after 3.00pm and moored up for the night.


We had enjoyed perfect conditions and the most wonderful experience.


Nancy’s crew then welcomed aboard sailors from the Royal Lymington Yacht Club who were keen to see around her.


If you would like to sail the Nancy Blackett do visit her website and join the trust. The next meeting will be on Saturday 6th July when Sophie Neville has been asked to give a talk on ‘Filming ‘Coot Club’ and ‘The Big Six’ in Norfolk’.

The Nancy Blackett by Claudia Myatt

The Nancy Blackett was recently profiled on BBC 1 by Coutryfile when Matt Baker went out on her first sail of the season.

Here is a compilation of the programme made up by the Nancy Blackett Trust:

Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

9 thoughts on “Aboard the ‘Nancy Blackett’”

  1. Welcome back – no much-anticipated Sophie blogs been popping up in my inbox lately. Good fun! I sailed Nancy from Limehouse to Sheppey once – what a privilege.
    I’m also leaving a comment because with luck your world map of people reading your blog will now show someone from Ouagadougou, which is where I am (on a research trip – honest; grant-funded!) at the moment!

    1. Good to hear from you. What fun to receive a comment from Ouagadougou. I apologise for the lack of regular blogs – just too busy sailing. I have plenty of new material for more posts including a letter from Mrs Ransome.

  2. Lucky lucky you. I saw the bit on Country File and apart from not really approving of the presenter (sorry, but I found him patronising) I did shed a tear. And, yes, I too have missed you here. Glad to have you back Sophie and trust all is well with you!

    1. I expect the presenter of Countryfile was only trying to express enthusiasm. I will attempt to keep writing regularly. You can always follow my other blogs. They are listed in my side bar. ‘Funnily Enough’ and ‘Ride the Wings of Morning’ are added to once or twice a week.

    1. Yes, you must. Perhaps book a sail on the Orwell on 6th July. Peter Willis has asked me over then to talk in more detail about filming ‘Coot Club’ and ‘The Big Six’ in East Anglia.

  3. Now I have joined the Nancy Blackett Trust I hope to her a sail on her at some time, hopefully next year.

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