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National Geographic

Songs & Sounds of the Sea


Images from the LP

Raging seas tear at oilskinned seamen of the port watch who man the braces as the windjammer Parma runs for Cape Horn at 12 knots before a full gale. With a crew of ill-paid boy sailors -- one of whom was Alan Villiers, who took this photograph -- the old square-rigger won the Australia grain race in 1932 with a voyage of 103 days from Spencer Gulf to Falmouth, then cut the time to 83 days in better weather the following year. Although most of the wind ships were driven off the seas by steamers decades earlier, a few held on to keep the spirit of another rage flickering dimly. Accepting whatever odd jobs they could get -- and could do more cheaply than steamships -- they hauled grain from down under or nitrates from Chile around the Horn, making races out of the long difficult voyages in memory of the old days.


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