Nancy Blackett

Nancy Blackett is a familiar sight, sailing on the River Orwell, the favourite yacht of author Arthur Ransome. 

‘Swallows and Amazons’ author Arthur Ransome bought her when he moved to this area in 1935. Nancy Blackett provided him with inspiration for one of his best books, We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea. It starts here on the Shotley Peninsula at Pin Mill – “down the deep green lane that ended in the river itself… this happy place where almost everyone  wore sea-boots”.  The four children, the ‘Swallows’, help to moor up a yacht, the Goblin, remarkably similar to the Nancy Blackett, and soon they are off sailing her down the river and mooring off Shotley Pier for the night.

Nancy Blackett was rediscovered, damaged and derelict, in Scarborough Harbour in the 1980s. She was brought back here, to Fox’s marina, and carefully restored to the condition Ransome and the children in his book would have recognised.

Now she is owned by the Nancy Blackett Trust, which preserves and maintains her, and keeps her sailing for the benefit of all Ransome fans. Her sailing is undertaken with qualified volunteer skippers, with a mix of pre-planned programme and odd days, which members (anyone can become a member) can book for daysails or short trips. She is now berthed at Woolverstone Marina, Woolverstone, Ipswich.

You can also enjoy the Arthur Ransome Trail, with geocaches, which follows the Goblin’s course alongside the Orwell from Pin Mill to Shotley Pier, and our exhibition of Arthur Ransome’s ‘Selina King ‘ photos at the Pin Mill Studio.


Woolverstone Marina, Woolverstone, Ipswich , IP9 1AS


01394 387907



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Ipswich High School