List of boats in Arthur Ransome books

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This is a listing of boats from the Swallows and Amazons series of books by Arthur Ransome. Arthur Ransome based many of the boats on real ones that he knew or had owned.

Sailing dinghies[edit]

  • Swallow: A Morecambe Bay sailing dinghy with a small keel and a brown sail, based on a Ransome's own sailing dinghy also called Swallow. The fictional Swallow was owned by the Jacksons of Holly Howe. She features in four of the books.[1][2]
  • Amazon: A sailing dinghy with an iron centreboard and a white sail, supposedly based on the Mavis owned by the Altounyan family, who were models for the Walker family. The Amazon was owned by the Blackett family. She features in four of the books.[2]
  • Titmouse: A sailing dinghy owned by Tom Dudgeon in Coot Club and The Big Six.
  • Death and Glory: A converted ship's lifeboat used by the sons of Norfolk boatbuilders in Coot Club and The Big Six.
  • Flash: A racing dinghy owned by Mr Farland and crewed by Port and Starboard in Coot Club. She is based on a class of Norfolk racing dinghies.
  • Wizard and Firefly: Sailing dinghies used by the Swallows and Amazons while exploring Secret Water. Each of the three Eels from the Lapwing also has an (unnamed) dinghy.
  • Scarab: A sailing dinghy similar to the Amazon which was built for the Ds in The Picts and the Martyrs. She has a centreboard and a red sail. It is based on Ransome's own sailing dinghy, Coch-y-bonddhu, which replaced the Swallow.[3]


  • Wild Cat: A small green schooner, formerly a Baltic trading schooner. Captain Flint decked over the hold to make a saloon with four cabins, and used her to take the children on the adventures described in Peter Duck and Missee Lee. The Wild Cat is fictional.
  • Viper: A large black schooner sailed by Black Jake and his crew in pursuit of the Wild Cat across the Atlantic Ocean to Crab Island in Peter Duck.
  • Teasel: A Norfolk Broads cruising yacht featured in Coot Club. Ransome hired similar yachts when sailing on the Broads.
  • Goblin: Based on Ransome's own yacht the Nancy Blackett, the Goblin is owned by Jim Brading and appears in We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea and Secret Water.[4]
  • Imp: Black-painted tender to the Goblin.
  • Lapwing: The yacht owned by the Eels' parents in Secret Water.
  • Sea Bear: A cruising yacht which was an old Norwegian pilot cutter, used by Captain Flint to take the Swallows, Amazons and Ds on a cruise in the Hebrides in Great Northern?. Borrowed from "Mac".
  • The Shining Moon, a small Chinese junk owned by Missee Lee herself which takes them back from the Three Islands via Singapore to St Mawes, Cornwall at the end of Missee Lee.

Working sailing vessels[edit]

  • The Norfolk wherry Sir Garnet, skippered by Jim Wooddall (with Simon Fastgate), appears in Coot Club and The Big Six. Peter Duck himself owns a wherry, the Arrow of Norwich.
  • The Thames sailing barge Welcome skippered by Jack Whittle (with 'Awkins) appears in Coot Club.

Motor boats[edit]

  • Margoletta: A large powerboat hired by the Hullabaloos in Coot Club, typical of 1930s cabin cruisers.
  • Pterodactyl: A large seagoing powerboat used as a headquarters on his expeditions by the egg collector, Mr Jemmerling in Great Northern?.
  • The Cachalot, a smallish white motor cruiser (designed for fishing and appropriately named), is lent to the detectives by her fisherman owner in The Big Six to act as bait for the real culprits who are casting off yachts.
  • Captain Flint's Houseboat appears in Swallows and Amazons and The Picts and the Martyrs. She has blue sides, and is called the Fram in Winter Holiday.
  • The Beckfoot Launch comes chug, chugging to the landing place at the end of Swallows and Amazons, and also appears in Swallowdale. She is kept in the Beckfoot boathouse, along with a rowing dinghy or skiff.
  • The motor tow boat Come Along tows the Teasel, Titmouse and Death and Glory home at the end of Coot Club. She is owned by Old Bob.
  • Speedy: Derelict barge with one cabin in fixed up for use by Don in Secret Water.


  • Dreadnought: Tom Dudgeon's punt, used when casting off Margoletta in Coot Club.


Each of the following has an unnamed rowing-boat:

  • In the "Lake" books, Holly Howe, Dixons Farm, the houseboat, Beckfoot, Swainsons Farm, the police constable
  • In Peter Duck the Viper.
  • In Coot Club the Farlands.
  • In We Didn't Mean to go to Sea Mother (probably belonging to Miss Powell or the boatman).
  • In Secret Water the Mastodon.
  • In Great Northern? the Sea Bear.


  1. ^ Hardyment, Christina (1984). Arthur Ransome and Capt. Flint's Trunk. London: Jonathan Cape. pp. 32–36. ISBN 0-224-02590-2.
  2. ^ a b The Boats of Swallows and Amazons by Stuart Wier
  3. ^ Coch-y-bonddhu/Scarab display Archived 2012-05-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Goblin and Nancy Blackett