Sophie at the helm of Nancy BlackettSophie Neville – who played Titty in the original "Swallows and Amazons" film – took a step up from sailing Swallow last Monday when she took the helm of Nancy Blackett on passage from Buckler's Hard to Lymington.

Sophie had been speaking at the Arthur Ransome Society's IAGM, and celebrating the 40th anniversary of the making of the film. When we reached Lymington, we were invited to tie up at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club, where we were able to invite several interested members aboard, including friends and relations of former NBT vice-president Helen Tew.

Later Sophie and her husband Simon Williams-Thomas kindly entertained Nancy's crew – Peter Willis, Roger Sturge and the Trust's newest skipper Bob Page – to supper at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club. Simon had something to celebrate too – the birth of his first grand-daughter (through a previous marriage). We think she ought to be called Nancy!

Right: Sophie at the helm 

Below: The crew: from left, new skipper Bob Page, Sophie Neville, Peter Willis, Sophie's friend Jenny and skipper Roger Sturge – despite the '15-minute' notice, the club let us stay overnight.

Crew at Lymington