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Swallow's relaunch at Coniston Water

by Rob Boden & Magnus Smith 8 May 2011 07:43 BST 10 April 2011
Swallow is christened again © Roger Rudman

A year after the auction where Swallow was delivered into the hands of the fans, she was finally able to sail on April 10th at Coniston Water. We expected to see 20 people there... then had about 50 people tell us they were coming...and then met 90+ on the day! The event organiser, Rob Boden, welcomed everyone and thanked Patterson Boatworks, International Marine and the Nancy Blackett Trust for their help with the project. Sophie Neville, who acted in the film aged 12, re-enacted the launch scene from one of Arthur Ransome's books by pouring ginger wine over Swallow's bow, and wished her fair winds. Indeed, we were lucky that a light wind arrived instead of the forecast calm, and we were able to get many groups of people sailing in the lovely sunshine that afternoon. Our thanks go to all those who helped or skippered on the day. Photos and video clips are available on our website: www.sailransome.org/photos

We are very grateful to everyone who drove all the way to Coniston to see Swallow, and now it is time to reciprocate! Swallow begins her 'tour' in May, visiting 2 sailing clubs on her way down to Wales for the AGM of The Arthur Ransome Society. June sees her race at Secret Water with the Old Gaffers Association on the east coast, and we even have an interview with BBC Radio 4 booked in before we visit Chichester down south at the end of the month. July and August see more activity on the south and east coasts, plus in London, but not every weekend is booked up yet, so you have a chance to arrange for Swallow to visit a stretch of water near you!

Please get in touch if you are eager to go sailing, and we will try to match you up with a volunteer skipper in your area (by the way, we could do with a few more volunteers on that front - please reply if you're an experienced sailor!). The plan for later in the summer is to visit the Norfolk Broads and end up in the Lake District by September.

The calendar is online, and will be updated regularly to show where there are spaces for crew: www.sailransome.org/events

This project was always about getting lots of Ransome fans on the water, to enjoy sailing 'just like in the books', so we hope to welcome you aboard this year. Please bear in mind our limited resource (particularly in petrol - towing Swallow around the country). Do email or phone to find out how things stand, with regard to your area of the country.

We are forced to end the newsletter with the usual 'three shorts and a long' (require assistance). We've mentioned the need for skippers and towbar owners, but please also consider if you are able to make a donation to the project. We have to confess that the current need is not very exciting; we have to pay a beastly insurance premium, but that enables us to take absolutely anyone afloat, legally. If you can help keep Swallow sailing we would be so very grateful:
www.sailransome.org/making-a-donation

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