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VIDEO: The age of sail

Feeling nostalgic for the adventures that “progress” has eliminated? So are we.

The legendary Alan Villiers narrates a 1935 clip he shot during his own voyages rounding Cape Horn. The footage is beautiful, but it’s the crusty voice of Villiers — an author, adventurer and master mariner who sailed the world's oceans aboard traditionally rigged vessels — that really appeals. (The narration starts around 30 seconds into the video.)

In 1935 there were few sailing vessels still making commercial voyages. Faster motor vessels were making them obsolete. Villiers mourned the loss.

Of ships such as his own full-rigged Joseph Conrad, he said, “She uses nothing. She’s polluting nothing. And the wind is still there after she’s passed for the next men to use, too. And I must say, I’ve always thought, all the days of my life, that it was a silly thing to give all this up.”