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Learning the Ropes: An Apprentice in the Last of the Windjammers Hardcover – 15 Apr 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; First Edition edition (15 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719556368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719556364
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 25.1 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Eric Newby boarded the Moshulu in 1938 as a fresh faced 18-year-old eager to experience life at sea on a sailing ship. He knew the traditional four- masted basque would soon become obsolete with the growing intrusion of the steam powered ocean liner. Cargo ships sailing across the seas would often race to get home in record breaking time, though little did he know that his voyage from Ireland to the south coast of Australia and back to collect a cargo of grain was to be the last race taken in such a vessel. The onset of the Second World War destroyed many of these beautiful vessels, and those that survived were to become museum pieces.

Learning the Ropes is a photographic narrative of the voyage Newby embarked on. His black-and-hite pictures tell the story of everyday life for those on board perhaps enhanced by the very ad-oc nature in which he set about taking the photographs. He was not a trained photographer and would take his pictures after a long shift working on deck when often the foremost thing on his mind was trying to catch up on lost sleep. In many ways the innocence of the birth of these photographs adds to their historical importance. Newby has captured a glimpse of life on board a sailing ship right at its death, akin to the work done in at the beginning of the century where many traditional folk songs where written down before the last people with the songs in their heads died.

A 26-page written introduction provides a fascinating insight into the time period followed by 95 pages of truly stunning photography. If this book grabs your attention, then Newby's companion book, The Last Grain Race is his narrative account of this epic voyage. --Steven Payne

Book Description

In 1938, Eric Newby signed on as an apprentice on the four-masted barque Moshulu for a round-the-world voyage to carry grain to Europe from the Australian wheat belt. In this book, Newby looks back to his young self and his days on board Moshulu.


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on 10 September 1999
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