Captain Alan Villiers’ Photographs of the Last of the Tall Ships

Alan Villiers was the great chronicler of the last days of sail. In 1918, at the age of 15, he left home in Melborne, Australia to go to sea. His first love would always be the full rigged sailing ships that he had watched a boy sailing in and out of Melbourne. Over the next sixty years, until his death in 1982, he would sail the world’s oceans in square-rigged ships and write twenty five books and numerous articles, most about the last days of the great windjammers.

Villiers also took many remarkable photographs. Thanks to Captain Richard Bailey for pointing out this Collection of Photographs by Alan Villiers, which features hand-colored photographs from ships Villiers sailed, as a well as a succinct biography of Villers’ remarkable career. Britain’s National Maritime Museum has posted additional photos: The Last of the Tall Ships: Photographs by Alan Villiers.

More photos after the jump.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.

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3 Responses to Captain Alan Villiers’ Photographs of the Last of the Tall Ships

  1. Mike says:

    s/y Moshulu was built 1948 for the Eriksons family (Åland Finland) as their private yacht.

    Villiers signed on as an able seaman in the Finnish four-master “Lawhill” owned by Gustaf Erikson.

    Eric Newby, in his excellent novel, “The Last Grain Race” shipped out in 1938 aboard the “Moshulu”. another Eriksons ship.

    At that time Eriksons owned the largest fleet of sailing ship in the world (

    Moshulu is the name of Eriksons largest ship that still is the largest sailing ship in the world and is now serving as a restaurant in Philadelphia USA (

  2. robert stewart says:

    Luckily, there were a few far-sighted individuals who had the foresight to photograph and chronicle their memories.

  3. Sea Eben Franks says:

    By Way of Cape Horn by Alan Villiers is a remarkable tale. If you love the sea….and were born 100 years too late… you will love this book. Especially evocative are the words that were spoken by the Captain of the tall ship after a deck hand fell from the rigging and died during the trip.
    Alan Villers captained the Mayflower II across the Atlantic in 1957 from England to Plymouth, Massachusetts.
    The Moshulu is tied up at the river front in Philadelphia and is now living out its days as a fine-dining restaurant. My wife and I have eaten there and it is just fine.