Arthur Ransome Wiki

Kittiwake was purchased in March 1921 in the Baltic to replace Slug; bought in Reval for £25 with a windfall from an American paper. She was named after the gull in Coward's British Birds. They made a number of short voyages in her, and liked sitting on her cabin roof in late evening in Baltic Port, listening to an accordion being played in a schooner across the water.

She was a 16-footer, of around 6 feet in beam and drew 5 feet thanks to an addition to her keel. Arthur called her “a bit of a joke really”. She had a primus, and a tiny cabin with two “horribly narrow” bunks, which they did not use on short voyages.

She was replaced by Racundra, as even with scrap-iron ballast she seemed to be in danger of turning over, and they wanted a boat they could live on for months on end.

They got a dinghy for Kittiwake, a triangular box built by a coffin-maker, which was a “complete failure” and prone to capsizing.

Kittiwake had orange curtains, a detail connecting her with the fictional Death and Glory.


  • NBUS pages 36-38
  • AAR pages 301-302
  • LAR pages 254-255