20.000 x 16.000 inches
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Painting - Watercolor
Storm Sailing is an original watercolor painting by artist James Williamson. Published as a fine art print and greeting card by Fine Art America.
Storm Sailing is the cutting edge of the sport. It is the sum of a sailor�s experience with the sea and wind at their nastiest. A watercolor painting that illustrates sailors dealing with storms, bad weather, and heavy conditions. Offshore cruising mariners tested by gale force conditions facing the perversities of wind and waves.
The vessel illustrated in the painting.
N E P T U N E
Watercolor by James Williamson
Neptune was a 62 ton gaff-cutter designed by the Norwegian Johan Anker. The vessel was basically a working cruiser from a nation of fine seamen and had come to see how she could compete against the Cowes week yachts. She proved very successful and participated in many ocean races. This painting shows how easy it was to reef the gaff-rigged mainsail, and ease the strain on the mast with the aid of the halyard blocks and tackle. In conditions when most boats would have gone home long ago, Neptune could push her way through to collect class honors.
Gaff: A wooden spar used to extend the heads of fore-and-aft sails that are not set on stays.
Gaff-Topsail: A triangular or quadrilateral sail, the head of which is extended on a small gaff that hoists on the topmast.
Gaff rig held sway over a large part of the sailing world for 250 years, was displaced by the bermudian rig with its superior windward performance, and is now enjoying a revival.
The skill of the 18th and 19th century shipbuilders is revealed in the intricacies of the standing and running rigging, the masts and spars, and the variety of sails, while each study of the various gaff rigged craft is a cameo of sailing history. Viewing this original painting reflect upon the vessels, the colorful personalities who built and sailed them, and the contemporary circumstances surrounding the decline of such boats as the pilot cutters, Essex smacks and Grand Banks fishing schooners.
During the past sixty years the rig of fore-and-aft sailing craft has been affected by two principal factors: the rapid decline and extinction of craft working under sail and the widespread adoption of the bermudian rig for yachts. The unquestionably superior windward performance of bermudian rig applied to a suitable hull form has resulted in almost blind acceptance of that rig as being best for yachts of almost all types, and for all purposes and conditions. There are many bermudian rigged yachts of great beauty, but many cruising yachtsmen prefer gaff rig for practical conditions of sail handling and lying more easily at anchor in a breeze. To others a well-built wooded craft of superior traditional design, with gaff rig, is also a thing of beauty, apart from its functional utility. Some are attracted by the rig�s connection with working craft of the past.
Gaff rigged working vessels were built and sailed with remarkable skill by humble men. Although long since superseded by powered craft their memory, and that of their crews, still commands respect for products of the endeavors of usually small communities, earning a hard living from the sea and breeding the best qualities of seafaring. To them the gaff rig was a tool of trade whose handling was often drudgery, but could also be an art of pride, excelled from competence to perfection by some seamen.
Gaff rig propelled types as widely contrasting as great racing cutters setting 14000 square feet of sail on one mast, to the humble 18 foot waterman�s boat, beating out on an errand to some ship in an estuary.
August 2nd, 2013
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