Swallows and Amazons

26/03/2010 11:11:29
Being an obsessed Arthur Ransome fan, it's only natural that I should love sailing in wooden clinker boats like the Merlin. But now I have got myself entangled in a campaign to save a different class of boat; a certain 'Swallow' dinghy. It's the replica built for the 1974 film of Swallows and Amazons, and is up for auction in 19 days.

A group of Ransome fans would love to see her sailing again, and made available for anyone to enjoy. It's a lovely idea...but the price is rather high, and it's proving a struggle to reach the fanbase in such a short timespan.

If you are a fan of the books it would be fantastic if you were able to make a pledge, and thus have a chance to sail in this particular 'Swallow'. But equally I am in desperate need of word-of-mouth publicity, so if you are able to pass this news on to other people that may be interested, that would be very helpful.

Again, the focus of the fundraising is to get her SAILING again and SHARE her! She's been stuck in a dusty boatshed for 36 years, and it would be a shame to have her hidden in a private collection.

More details on the website.
Thanks for reading this.

26/03/2010 11:31:25
Since I know the type of odd discussion this forum thrives on (and to stop you all pointing out that there was a character called Titty in the books) I thought I would ask:

Is 'Swallow' actually a dinghy? She has no centreboard. There is a 6" extra wooden keel fitted underneath, and she has lead under the bootomboards...so is she really a keelboat?!

26/03/2010 12:02:13
John A old merlin, current ent
she looks a little like a twinkle (without the keel) which were built in Ipswich not far from Pin Mill where at least one adventure started from (hope I'm right)

27/03/2010 08:53:55
Robert Harris
At around 8 years old I was given 'Swallows and Amazons' and later all the rest of Arthur Ransome's wonderful stories of children mucking around in boats. Subsequently John and I sailed on the Norfolk Broads many times with Dad, Grandad and occasionally Mum. Yesterday by coincidence I found a photo of Grandad, John and me sailing a little lugsail dinghy in 1946, she was smaller but otherwise similar to 'Swallow' and 'Amazon'. That led to Cadets, Nat 12s and eventually Merlin Rockets.

A couple of years ago I bought copies of 'Swallows and Amazons' and the Broads books in a local book sale for 5!

I also have a copy of the 1974 film and support Mag's appeal.

29/03/2010 10:38:07
There may well be a Merlin link in this tale, as someone on the CVRDA forum seems to remember an actor from the film purchasing a vintage Merlin around 5-10 years ago. Possibly sail number 116, he thinks? In the hundreds anyway.

I wonder if it was Simon West, as none of the other blokes in the film (that I know) are the type to be interested.

The boat ended up as an 'ornament' inside the guy's house!

29/03/2010 15:33:06
Tony Lane
Perhaps he bought 110 'Swallow' or 111 'Secret Water'

29/03/2010 16:11:11
Garry R, who posts on this forum a lot, renovated Secret Water the other year. She looks great and now resides with him in Scotland.

02/04/2010 13:18:56
John Sergeant, another Ransome fan, has joined our project, so we have 3 'celebs' on board now! I'm just writing off to a few more (well, their agents). 11 days to go...

08/04/2010 21:54:48
The Merlin sold to someone from the film was 156 Avion. She sailed OK but leaked a lot so this sounded like a good home for her. The story I had was that she would take pride of place in a large room in his Cornish house !!! but I have no proof that this happened.

08/04/2010 22:49:08
Aha! Thanks Dave. Do you remember the chap's name though? Simon West was the only one I can think of.

10/04/2010 12:06:16
Cheque in today's post.

10/04/2010 17:25:36
Tony Lane
Mags. The year books record only 3 owners of MR 156 Avion before year 2000. They were Les Brain who won the 1953 and 1955 Champs, J.D.Dyer and David Nickson. They were all members of the MROA and lived in the Midlands.

14/04/2010 11:16:01
Your right about the owners and I have a Beken photo of Les Brain sailing her at the nationals in Cowes. I brought her from John Dyer having spotted it in his front garden under a  cover!!! John would not alow any changes to his Merlins (he also owned 666)so Avion was as built including spinneker with 3 holes and a blue jib.A silver sixpence was always carried under the mast step which of course was wood with wire rigging and decked stepped.To say I brought her from John is not quite correct as his widow passed her to me following his death. 666 was also mine at one time and I sold here to a chap from the Cotswold club. Still sailing MR s, a Bad Company recently refurbished and an NSM2.Cheers to all who know me. Sorry I dont have the name of the eventual ower.

14/04/2010 11:37:39
The auction for 'Swallow' is at 3pm today, so wish me luck!!

14/04/2010 12:12:21
Good luck mags. I hope it goes your way.

14/04/2010 12:24:25
John A
good luck, just reading the post about 156, our local vicar was in my shop yrsterday discussing sailing as he does (he once visited a local classic car rally and told the assembled throng "this is what heaven will be like")and i told him i was refurbing an old merlin, ah he said "i had a merlin in my youth it was older than me no 158. He has been known to fit sunday service around tides in the deben

14/04/2010 14:53:25
I saw Swallow in the flesh yesterday, She looks in good nick. Though not as big as I had expected.

14/04/2010 15:04:37
Just bidding now. Terribly tense!

14/04/2010 15:45:01
We made it!! Three million cheers.

14/04/2010 15:47:22
thats great well done!

15/04/2010 18:12:46
Robert Harris
Good news Mags. I look forward to seeing and maybe sailing her.

19/04/2010 10:14:06
Mrs Tosh
Brilliant news! The offer still stands for pledge and garage space. Well done :o)

19/04/2010 11:14:02
Thanks! We're currently thinking about where to store her. Need to see how much repair work there is to do first.

12/05/2010 14:35:15
I don't think Swallow will be varnished soon enough, but who fancies joining me with a Merlin at the 'Swamazons' round-the-island race on Hamford Water 12th June? They do allow non-gaff boats to compete.

13/05/2010 13:52:40
I've been to Frinton, once and that was sufficient!  No pubs, no chippies, but it might have changed in the last 35 years!  I hope that the sailing club isn't 'dry'.

13/05/2010 14:25:05
Frinton has not changed that is its charm. Chippy louts and drunks are not encouraged.

13/05/2010 17:21:33
BUT the sailing club is NOT in Frinton.... its in Walton. They may be close, but they are a long way apart!

See: http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=51.8537982203811~1.2686839112693633&lvl=19&sty=h&sp=Point.sn824bh353r8_Walton%20and%20Frinton%20Yacht%20Club____
Zoom in and click the aerial button at the top.

14/05/2010 09:56:19
Robert Harris
What a pity, it's the weekend of Tamesis Club's 125th Anniversary Ball!

11/06/2010 10:26:07
Keith Callaghan
Mags, is 'Swallow' going to be at Walton tomorrow? If so, look out for me and my daughter, who will be sailing our Yachting World Rambler over from the River Deben. The Rambler is a sort of 17ft Enterprise, and was designed by Jack Holt. Ours is sail no. 30, built in 1954.

11/06/2010 12:01:40
Sadly Swallow is still at the "just about to go to the boatbuilders" stage. I'll be there in my yellow Merlin 3245. Would be great to have a chat with you!

11/06/2010 12:15:51
Keith Callaghan
Magnus, we'll be there. You should be easy enough to identify! My boat is called 'Lively' - she has her name on the side of the cabin so she's not easy to miss either.

11/06/2010 13:44:26
since when did a merlin qualify for an old gaffer's event?

11/06/2010 15:54:19
Its organised by the OGA but open to all classes.
My mainsail is quadrilateral, so almost a gaffer shape....

11/06/2010 19:34:17
Well have a good time, I started sailing at WFYC in the 70's. Lookout for my winkle brig the good ship "Woody" sail no. WM30,she's been in our family for over 20 yrs and will be sailed tomorrow by two of my nephews, also twice winner of the "Nancy Blackett" trophy back in the day...........

14/06/2010 09:38:18
I came second in the 'hot shots' category (i.e. bermudan rig and built after 1940). First trophy I've won in 20 years! Beaten by an International Canoe, oh well.

14/06/2010 12:55:42
who won the bit of wood from the mast of nancy B?

14/06/2010 12:58:04
Err....can't remember. They weren't there to collect it!

I'm pestering the OGA to write a report which I will publish on Y&Y as soon as I get it.

14/06/2010 13:09:50
where are the results? any ideas?

26/06/2010 11:42:15
Here's the report!

26/06/2010 12:53:53
Yes, it only just came through. Shame the results only mention boat names; I understand an ex-Olympian won one of the categories.

26/06/2010 12:56:16
There isn't much news yet regarding Swallow, as we are at the mercy of boatbuilder schedules. I hope to send out an email update shortly.

13/01/2011 14:54:36
If you love clinker hulls, do pop by the Classic Boat stand at the London Boat Show this week (until the 16th) and see 'Swallow' in all her newly-varnished glory.

If you think your club might like her to visit, do get in touch as we're touring various locations around the country this year.

18/03/2011 10:45:09
Another blatant plug for the project which has ousted my precious Merlin from my garage...

'Swallow' will be relaunched on Coniston Water on 10th April 2011 if anyone wants to pop by and see/sail her. We'd love to welcome anyone who is interested in vintage boats or the Ransome books.



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