Onne van der Wal
Introduction by Herb McCormick
Rizzoli New York, 288pp, 200 color photographs, $100.00
When this book arrived at my door (via Fed Ex) I had to haul it out of its packing box with both hands...with an "oomph" assist. An 11"x14" format and 288 glossy, ink saturated pages can do that to the fittest of readers! But from the turning of the first page, there was nothing to be heard but ooohs, and ahhhs and wows! The photographs by South African born sailor/racer, Onne van der Wal are a sailor's dream (I'll refrain from adding an adjective here.)
Almost 200 color photographs and five gatefolds (a sailing scene taking four 11 x 14 pages (44 inches) and numerous double page spreads make this book an extravagantly gorgeous paean to the sport of sailing.
Organized by world geography, ten sections cover New England (as well as the rest of the U.S. coasts), Northern Europe, the Med, down under, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, Chile, South Georgia and the Antarctic and South Africa...(a must for the sailor/photographer who grew up there).
Races and regattas of class boats comprise a large part of the collection--that, of course, is where the action is, but character boats and the lone explorers are also represented. Surrounding the bodies of water full of boats are some of the most beautiful chunks of coastal scenery ever photographed...craggy coastlines empty and inviting, hide-e-holes, quaint little villages to die for, as well as skylines of the world's major ports and harbors.
The shots of the racing crews, up to a dozen or more fit people in team dress, show the precision and split second coordination of crackerjack teams, working on the unstable platforms of the sleek, all business racers. But there are also the serene sunsets over an anchored cruiser and close-ups of the workmanship of venerable wooden classics. The globe's weather is also on display...dark and light, feather zephyrs and near gales: sailors, sailboats and van der Wal love it all.
One of the most remarkable aspects of this book is the lack of words. Our own New England sailor/writer, Herb McCormick, contributes a two page introduction and then you're on your own, alone with the images of sea and sky and boats and coastlines...a cure for almost everything, except, of course being on your own boat.