We ask top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest and most innovative yachts of our times. Nikki Henderson nominates Swallow

“For my most influential boat, my mind drifted to the story of Swallows and Amazons, which gripped me as a child,” Nikki Henderson recalls.

Arthur Ransome’s much-loved tale of children who set out in their dinghy Swallow to colonise an island was published in 1930. It has been adapted for television and film, although Henderson favours the original text which was a childhood inspiration.

“Having resisted the lure of watching the film productions, the boat still remains a picture in my mind, so I cannot say much to her appearance, construction or speed apart from that she is small, well proportioned, and playful.

“Like people, I believe boats have an aura, or a personality. To me, she is so representational of the best parts of our sport: adventure, freedom, and independence, motivated by an innocent childlike curiosity. Inspirational yet grounding.”

Make sure you check out our full list of Coolest Yachts.

Swallow stats rating:

Top speed: 4 knots
LOA: 14ft/4.6m
Launched: 1930
Berths: 0
Price: On loan
Adrenalin factor: 10%

Nikki Henderson

Offshore sailor Nikki Henderson was the youngest ever Clipper Around the World Race skippers, finishing 2nd with Visit Seattle in the 2017/2018 edition. She has competed in the ARC, Fastnet, and the Race to Alaska. She also skippered the La Vagabonde catamaran to sail environmental activist Greta Thunberg across the Atlantic in 2019.

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