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The Last Sailors: The Final Days of Working Sail

The Last Sailors: The Final Days of Working Sail

5 Episodes

The Last Sailors chronicles the working sailing craft still in use in third world countries during the last decades of the twentieth century. Orson Welles' narration gives the script the gravitas this subject deserves, as most of these sailors and their craft have now vanished forever.

To make this documentary series, Director Neil Hollander and his film crew sailed a ten-meter sailboat nearly 25,000 miles over three years to isolated locales around the world. He filmed in 15 countries, meeting and working alongside men who still earned their livings from the sea in the old traditions of sail. He later wrote a book of the same title recalling his experiences with eight surviving sailing craft, all representative of distinct cultures or geographic locations.

“Magnificent footage of the beauty of the sea and the splendid geometry of sail." - New York Times

This series is digitized from a DVD of the series. Originally filmed in 16mm color, we are searching for prints of this series to create high quality digital scan conversions to 4K video.

The Last Sailors: The Final Days of Working Sail
  • The Last Sailors - Introduction

    Episode 1

    Describes the remaining classes of working sailing craft still operating in the last decades of the twentieth century in inland waters, coastal waters, and on the high seas. These craft were sailed by peoples in remote locations, in less developed countries quickly being modernized by globalizati...

  • The Last Sailors - Inland Waters

    Episode 2

    In this segment, we explore the inland waters of the thrid world where working sailing craft were still in use prior to 2000 on lakes, bays, rivers, and lagoons. These vessels were sailed primarily for fishing, and maritime commerce: hauling food, timber, and other products to local markets.

  • The Last Sailors - Coastal Waters

    Episode 3

    In this segment we visit coastal waters of third world countries prior to 2000 where working sail was still in use. Fishing and maritime commerce were the main uses of these aging craft, which were quickly being replaced by modern powered vessels, even in the remotest coastal regions. They have n...

  • The Last Sailors - High Seas

    Episode 4

    In this segment, we look at the last remaining third world windjammers sailing offshore to remote ports during the final decades of the twentieth century. Sometimes the economics of sail works in their favor, but these opportunities were rapidly dwindling and with them the survival of these last ...

  • The Last Sailors - Conclusion

    Episode 5

    Thousands of sailors continued to man large numbers of working sailing craft, mostly in remote areas and less developed countries, well into the last decades of the twentieth century. As we move forward into the twenty-first century, those numbers are probably much, much smaller. This series prov...