Get sailing like the Swallows and Amazons
Swallow delights Ransome fans young and old
Photo © Peter Fryer
Swallow is ready to sail for the first time since 1974
Photo © Tom Gruitt
Swallow is a vintage lugsail dinghy, the star of the 1974 feature film ‘Swallows and Amazons’
It is just over two years since a group of Arthur Ransome fans won this boat in an auction and began to renovate her. It is just over one year since she was first launched
and began her nationwide tour, giving people sailing
opportunities from Wales to the Norfolk Broads, from Windermere to Chichester. The 2012 season stretches before us,
with at least 48 chances to sail at the weekend, plus the weekdays for
anyone holidaying in the Lake District, where Swallow is to stay for
nearly all the year.
We apologise to those who cannot make it to Cumbria easily; we felt it
right to stay in the spiritual homeland of the S&A after last year's
hectic tour. This gives us a chance to catch the 'trippers'
and turn them into sailors!
As an alternative, if you are within reach of East Anglia,
why not grab a chance to visit the Nancy Blackett instead. See
nancyblackett.org for details of how you can sail and sleep
aboard Arthur Ransome's own yacht.
Events in Cumbria
We have already had four requests for families to visit Wildcat Island
(Peel Island on Coniston Water). Get in touch if you want to book a
private sailing day, and let us know if you can sail well or need a
skipper. Alternatively, keep an eye on www.sailransome.org/events for
public events you can turn up to. We do ask for a donation (towards running costs) when you
sail, unless you have already supported the project.
Having said Swallow will be based in the Lakes, we still might make
two or three trips by road if a volunteer with a towbar seems very
keen. Telford Sailing Club were desperate to have us back, and another
keen chap might help Swallow get to Scotland at some stage!
Hopefully it has been many months since we had to beg for help
with this project. We prefer to pester you to sail with us, than ask
you for help, but we do need a little assistance please. Can you...
1) Loan us a space on a driveway near Coniston?
2) Take novices sailing in the Lake District?
3) Help organise events, via phone/email, between now and September?
4) Visit Swallow in Kendal to perform minor repairs or varnishing?
The role of event organiser is an important one, if we are to focus on
our goal of getting as many people sailing as possible. Organising
last year's tour was a little too much for Sail Ransome founder Magnus
Smith; he cites 3 daughters and a day job as his main issues, but
really it was poor time management! Co-founder Rob Boden wishes to
focus his spare time on saving The Dog's Home, a building featured
in Ransome's book 'The Picts and the Martyrs' which is in danger of falling into
disrepair. So ideally we'd love a new person to join the committee and
arrange when/where Swallow can be sailed, contact skippers, find
someone to tow... It is simple work really, and just requires lots of
emails and phone calls, and one big piece of paper!
If you are an experienced sailor of vintage dinghies, able to get to the Lake District and volunteer as a skipper for Swallow, we'd love to hear from you too - .
Film and Musical
The Swallows and Amazons musical is now touring the country at various
theatres, and we hope this brings Ransome's tale to a wider audience.
If this sparks an interest in sailing then all the better. Next year
we expect to see a new S&A film in the cinemas too, which will further
the cause. Harbour Pictures are working on this as we speak, casting
actors and looking to film in late summer if all goes to plan. We
don't yet have any gossip on who has been chosen, or even which
boats....but our Swallow will be considered.
If you'd like to look back to the 1973 film, ex-child actress Sophie Neville
is documenting her time on the set. There are some great
behind-the-scenes photos and videos, as well as interesting stories.
Find out more at www.sailransome.org (Sail Ransome is the non-profit association which looks after Swallow) or email to ask a question.