With 2017 marking the 80th anniversary of the publication of “We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea” and the 50th anniversary of Ransome’s death, the village of Pin Mill in Suffolk held the Arthur Ransome Pin Mill Jamboree which took place on 13 May, during the Push the Boat Out event. 

The event was organised by the local community council with support from the Pin Mill Sailing Club and The Pin Mill Studio, along with members of the Arthur Ransome Society and the Nancy Blackett Trust. Nancy Blackett, the yacht Ransome owned when he lived in the area, and which became the ‘Goblin’ in We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea, was at the centre of the celebrations.

Neptune Sailing supported the Jamboree by offering the crowds at this very well attended event the chance to experience the real feel of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ out on the River Orwell. Free dinghy sailing tasters were an essential part of the celebrations and were taken up by a very large number of youngsters and their parents.

The day began by Neptune sailing part of their fleet to Pin Mill, with many members of the team aboard. Meanwhile a shore team had established a central base where parents could sign up their children to be willing crews. This team comprised committee and family members, who fitted all participants with buoyancy aids, and it wasn’t long before the Wayfarers were seeing a number of different crews arriving on the pontoon.

04 Wayfarer dinghies, with RYA qualified dinghy instructors in each one, took a steady stream of enthusiastic sailors out to experience the atmospheric surroundings of Pin Mill. All were keen to take the helm, balance the boat and pull in ropes, with only one unfortunate sailor slipping from the dinghy and getting rather damp! There was much excited talk, and many smiles, as the dinghies powered across the bay. A RIB support boat, with powerboat driver and crew looked after safety on the water, while the newly refurbished Cheverton launch was needed to ferry families out to the dinghies.

Martin Memory from Neptune explained “This was a hectic afternoon, with all craft constantly in use from the moment there was enough water to float, until we were about to go aground. 65 youngsters and parents went afloat during the afternoon and there was still a demand despite the water leaving the pontoon!”

He continued “We were hoping that the sessions would enthuse those who took part, and this was clearly the case, with everyone coming ashore very excited by their experience. All were very complementary, and several youngsters indicated they would like to learn to sail with Neptune youth groups. Babergh District Council helped us to find some funding to support these sessions and their assistance was much appreciated. We look forward to future family-based events and are planning to get more of our local primary schools out on the water this year.”

If you’d like to find out more about how to get out on the water and start your sailing adventure visit http://www.rya.org.uk/go/startboating