The nineteenth century saw the great era of the tall ships, when sailing ship performance reached its peak and designers produced their finest work. This book traces the history of the 'golden age of sail' from the fast Baltimore packets of the earlier part of the century through the years of the glorious clippers which became the undisputed masters of all passenger and cargo ships.
With enthusiasm born of his own first-hand experience of the sea, Philip McCutchan, himself the son of a master in sail, explores the famous ships of this age, how the design of sailing ships evolved, as well as some of the personalities behind them - the naval architects, the discoverers, the seamen and masters of ship-handling, the passengers, and the shipowners who made their fortunes. Above all, he describes the remarkable passages these ships took - the Far East trading routes, the Australian passage, the transatlantic emigrant trade, the round-the-world voyages which meant weathering the Roaring Forties and the notoriously treacherous Cape Horn.
By the time the First World War broke out sail was virtually dead. The steamships, which had threatened sail throughout its days of glory, finally forged ahead as the preferred commercial vessels, winning the best crews and the most profitable runs; and during the 1920's only a handful of windjammers sailed the seas, most of them under Scandinavian ownership. But, particularly after the Second World War, many countries - including England, the United States, Russia, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Chile, Argentina, Poland, Germany and Rumania - began to maintain sail-training ships. This revival of interest springs from the knowledge that training under sail instills qualities of confidence, self-reliance and leadership. Surely there can be no greater tribute to the age of tall ships and to the men who sailed them than that we should value their experience so highly today.
Author: Philip McCutchan
Title: Tall Ships
First Published by: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Date: 7 October 1976