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there have been several boats called Swallow. This article is about the one owned by the Jacksons and sailed by the Walker family.

Swallow is a Morecambe Bayref req sailing dinghy, a fourteen-foot dinghy with a brown sail (SA1). She was built for sailing on a shallow estuary, where the sands were uncovered at low tide and is between thirteen and fourteen feet long , and fairly broad (SA2). She has a brown sail (PM15), and is of the same length as Amazon but not quite so roomy (SA11).

She does not have a centreboard, so there is no centreboard case to get in the way. But she has a small iron keel about six inches deep (SA11) which was a rather deeper keel than most small boats (SA2).

When Nancy says that according to Uncle Jim you can't do anything to windward without a centreboard, John says that he doesn't know Swallow. For the race, John and Susan have to lift her keel over the shallows by throwing their weight to the lee side (SD35).

Swallow was once "towed behind the Beckfoot motor launch and Nancy went too fast by mistake ...." according to John, an event not in any of the books (WD13).

Sailing in Swallow, Susan remembered "a sad day the year before when, running before the wind in another small boat, the boom had jibed over with sudden decision, and given her a bump that had lasted for a long time" (probably at Falmouth) SA3.


Swallow is, or is imagined to be, owned by various owners at various times:

  • Swallow is owned by the Jacksons of Holly Howe: Mr Jackson, the farmer, came round the corner of the barn, and Captain Flint went to talk to him and they shook hands. "He's telling him about Swallow" (SD8); also You won't have Swallow until then, that is the arrival of Mary Walker and Bridget at the Lake (PP2), implying that Swallow belongs to the Jacksons).
  • Swallow is described as owned by Walkers Limited...for the rest of these holidays (SA1).
  • In the metafictional stories Peter Duck and Missee Lee, Swallow appears to belong to the Swallows, to do with whatever they like, such as to sail around the world.

Swallow's flag[]

Swallow originally had a three-cornered blue flag; Titty Walker decided to make a much better one (SA2). The flag, unlike the boat, seems therefore to be owned by the Walker family; it travelled more widely than the boat, for example to Swallow Island (SW).

Swallow's sail[]

Brown tanned. Often depicted in illustrations with a patch (for example PD23), possibly a repair after the shipwreck on Pike Rock. However the patch is shown in illustrations in PD which pre-date the Pike Rock shipwreck in SD.

Swallow's brown sail becomes some sort of trademark of the Swallows, as their borrowed boat Wizard also has a brown sail, while the Amazons' borrowed Firefly has a corresponding white one (SW).

Appearances of Swallow[]

Appearances of Swallow's flag[]

(in Swallow's absence)

Native prototype[]

Swallow is based on Arthur Ransome's own sailing dinghy, also called Swallowref req.