Sail Power: The Views of Onne van der Wal

“There is a balance between the science and the art. You have to be able to row away from your boat at the end of the day and enjoy looking back at it, or you’re not getting anywhere.” — Nat Benjamin, wooden boat designer and builder

Wooden sailboats are utilitarian objects of great beauty. They are not designed to be beautiful simply for beauty itself. Form follows function. And the function is to carry us across the water from one place to the other. But under sail, or sitting in a quiet harbor at daybreak, their beauty is unmistakable.

When it come to describing objects of beauty, I have always thought it was a good idea to look through the eyes of an artist. And so it was we met Onne van der Wal. He is an internationally acclaimed photographer, whose body of work centers around sailboats. It also turns out that he is a very gracious man, allowing us to film him on short notice one fine morning in Newport, Rhode Island.

This excerpt from our latest film “Wood/Sails/Dreams” explores the resurgence of wooden boats and traditional wooden boat building that began in the 1970s. We hope to bring “Wood/Sails/Dreams” to the big screen in time for the 40th running of the Opera House Cup, on August 19, 2012.