From the Nancy Blackett Trust
It might be hard to be believe, but Arthur Ransome’s Nancy Blackett celebrated her 86th anniversary yesterday, receiving lots of birthday wishes on social media.
Born in 1931 at Hillyards boatyard in Littlehampton, Sussex, she was first registered as a British Ship, under her original name Spindrift, on 30th March. Her actual launch date is lost in the mists of time and Hillyard’s notoriously non-existent record-keeping. Owned by Seymour Tuely, she was subsequently sold back to Hillyards, and then on to Paget Bowyer, who renamed her Electron and kept her in Poole Harbour.
In 1934 she was bought by Arthur Ransome for £525 and renamed Nancy Blackett. He sailed her back (via Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, to seek shelter from a full gale) to Pin Mill. 1936 saw Ransome sail her to Vlissingen (Flushing) as research for his new book, inspired by Nancy Blackett, “We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea”, in which she would appear as the Goblin. The book was published the following year…