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ATLAS and INVERCLYDE
OUR HERITAGE THE SEA
Sea and Sail Adventure
To the men and women who know the wheel�s kick and the wind�s song, this painting is dedicated.
�Wind-ships & Windjammers� Square-riggers & Topsail Schooners: Became representative of Pacific Commerce built for West Coast Pacific Ocean service basing their operations at West Coast Ports. This gallant fleet of sailing vessels represented the majority of the finest and largest vessels ever built
Vessels were owned by West Coast shipping companies until the end of the sailing ship era. As steamers and motor-ships began to take their toll on the wind-ship, many of the last of these great winged beauties faded from Pacific Ports. Ports from California to British Columbia became repositories for the square-riggers. When there was no place for them to sail, they were cut down to barges and many of these aging ships lasted well into the twentieth century.
Among the great fleet were the statuesque grain ships, that for many years, carried the trade from the West Coast to the United Kingdom and Europe; the square-rigged lumber ships that lifted their cargoes at Washington, Oregon and B.C. lumber ports for the far corners of the world; the coal packers and the grubby uninsured breed that took any kind of cargo that was offered, asking only a breeze to fill their oft-patched canvas.
The lusty old days of sail filled lives with a hearty yearn for the open seas and adds a bit of maritime memories to fill this great void in our maritime history. In this �nuclear-space age�, amid our pleasant surroundings, it can be difficult for one to imagine the rugged life of the underpaid, underfed, seafarers of old. Among them were the scum of the earth and the bravest of men; men of every nation and colors rubbing elbows in their raw surroundings. Courageous, trusted skippers or fierce masters who loved nothing better than to rule their floating worlds with an iron fist, once out of sight of land.
It took a peculiar kind of man to furl canvas in a 60-knot gale, out on a yardarm 160 feet above the sea. One hand for the ship, and one hand for himself, with only a wildly swaying foot rope between him and eternity. Freezing weather, bleeding hands and lack of sleep or food were no excuse for not performing well. Woe to the man who shirked his duties.
Copyright: Artist: James R. Williamson
October 29th, 2011
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