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sail-world.com -- Book of the Week: Eileen Ramsay Queen of Yachting Photography

Book of the Week: Eileen Ramsay Queen of Yachting Photography    
Wed, 21 Nov 2012

What an excellent present for the sailor who already has everything. Eileen Ramsay was at the centre of a unique period in yachting history, and this wonderful book, featuring her classic photography, celebrates an extraordinary woman and her extraordinary subjects.

Eileen's heyday was between 1950 and 1970 - a time when eccentrics ruled, records were there for the setting, and women weren't often to be found behind the lens.

But Eileen established herself as one of the greatest yachting photographers of her time, taking famous portraits of sailing icons like Francis Chichester and Eric Tabarly, Olympians, including Rodney Pattisson and Keith Musto, and historic pictures from the first Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic (OSTAR) Races.

She was the only photographer Chichester allowed on his Gipsy Moth yachts, and commissioned to photograph notorious charmers like Uffa Fox and Max Aitken, learned to stave off their amorous advances.


Her unique archive records the explosive growth in dinghy and offshore sailing during post-war years, and includes pictures of the first Enterprises, Mirrors, Ospreys, Optimists and the first America's Cup 12 metres Sceptre and Evaine.

She was also closely involved in photographing powerboats, in particular, those built on the Hamble, and those powerboat pioneers that competed in the first Daily Express Cowes/Torquay and Round Britain races, which are also featured in this book.


Eileen, now into her 90s can remember just about every photograph she has taken and relate an anecdote or story about each one. Many of these memories are also recorded in the book.

The book Includes tributes from her famous subjects and fellow photographers like Kenneth Beken who writes: 'Between the 50s and 70s, Eileen Ramsay carved a name for herself with creative skills shouting out from her studies. Eileen certainly had the eye for a good photo and the sailing world was all the poorer for her retirement. Fortunately, her archive has now been saved for posterity and I for one, look forward to the release of more of her work.'


The Eileen Ramsay archive has now been catalogued by PPL Photo Agency www.pplmedia.com, allowing those with an interest, to search on line for boats by name, event, number or type. Many of her iconic pictures have also been scanned and can be viewed online on the same web site.

Eileen Ramsay - the Queen of Yachting Photography, is a spectacular celebration of a pioneering photographer and a fascinating time in yachting history.

If it is not available at your local marine bookstore, you can purchase it online at Amazon?nid=103962.


About the Author, Barry Pickthall:
Barry Bickthall won the 2008 Whyte & Mackay/YJA Journalist of the Year Award. A respected writer and photographer, he has been covering all aspects of the sport for four decades, for twenty years of which (1978-1998) he was Yachting Correspondent to The Times. He continues to write extensively for magazines across Europe, USA, South Africa and Australasia. Barry is also Managing Director of PPL Ltd - one of the world's leading watersports photo agencies, with more than 3 million pictures on file. He is also the author of 18 books.

Barry Pickthall, at PPL, said: 'It was very important to save Eileen Ramsay's archive. As well as photographing dinghies and yachts for more than two decades, she was a specialist portrait photographer, and her early pictures of Francis Chichester, Eric Tabarly, Alec Rose and those OSTAR pioneers have great significance when recording Britain's sailing history.'

More samples of her amazing pictures, including one of the photographer:


by Sail-World Cruising



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