Nancy Blackett’s new mast has come a huge step closer to reality thanks to the support of Trinity House, the 500-year-old Lighthouse Authority (and so much more). The Trinity House Maritime Charity has awarded the Nancy Blackett Trust a grant of £3,000.
The cheque was presented at Trinity House’s East Coast building in Harwich on 14th November in a brief and very cordial meeting between Karl Lumbers, a Trinity House Ambassador, and Peter Willis, the Nancy Blackett Trust’s president, as well as Nancy Blackett Trust member Simon Jackson, a former Harwich Harbour pilot, who had made the grant application on our behalf.
The need for a new mast has arisen after two problems with it in successive seasons: last year, a large crack near to cross-trees required a new section scarphing in; this spring a smaller crack, lower down, was treated with a temporary glass-fibre “bandage” which enabled Nancy Blackett to sail this season, but with restrictions on the wind-strength, imposed by the Trust’s surveyor James Pratt.
At the end of the season a meeting with James agreed that the mast, of uncertain age, but at least 30 years old, and showing several distortions, was overdue for replacement, along with the galvanised standing rigging. The total cost will be in the region of £7,000.
The Trinity House Maritime Charity dispenses over £4 million a year to a wide range of maritime and seafaring charities. It is also the UK’s largest endowed maritime charity.
The Nancy Blackett Trust is the charity that preserves the Nancy Blackett, which “Swallows and Amazons” author Arthur Ransome described as his favourite yacht. Nancy Blackett appears, lightly disguised, as Goblin in “We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea”, the seventh book in Ransome’s “Swallows and Amazons” series.