Image provided by Jamestown Arts Center

Jamestown resident, longtime sailor, and acclaimed nautical photographer, Onne van der Wal is the subject of the documentary film, Second Wind: The SNOEK Refit with Onne van der Wal. The Jamestown Arts Center will screen this film on Wednesday, June 7 at 7 pm. 

Chronicling Onne’s career racing large sailboats and photographing some of sailing’s most thrilling moments, the film shows how he draws upon the knowledge and tenacity he has gleaned from a lifetime at sea to refit his Pearson 36 sailboat from stem to stern. Following the film is a Q&A with Onne van der Wal, Tenley van der Wal, and Producer Eric Thorkilsen. Directed by Thomas Draudt, the film originally aired on PBS the fall of 2019. 

In Second Wind, Onne discusses his early days in apartheid South Africa where he grew up sailing small boats and working on commercial fishing boats. He followed his true passion going on to race large sailboats as a professional crew member and joined the famous Dutch boat, FLYER, in the 1981/82 Whitbread Round the World Race. Winning the race was a huge steppingstone to his long and successful career as an award-winning nautical photographer. 

Onne offers, “I’ve spent 32 years photographing and traveling with various sailing vessels around the world, but always on someone else’s boat. I decided to endeavor to refurbish an old, tired 1972 Rhode Island-built Pearson 36 sailboat.” 

Onne adds, “The film lands in Jamestown, where Tenley and I married and raised three children on Shoreby Hill. In that driveway is where I started the refit on the Pearson 36 sailboat to bring it to his former glory. Through trials, tribulations and triumphs, we eventually launched SNOEK; she lived on our mooring just north of Conanicut Yacht Club. Our family would cruise the Elizabeth Islands, Nantucket, the Vineyard, eastern Long Island Sound and up Narragansett bay and the south coast of RI, but our number one anchorage were nights spent on Jamestown’s Mackerel Cove.”

Tenley van der Wal offers, “We are thrilled to screen Second Wind at the JAC with our community. And the timing is perfect because it is an introduction to part two of the project, our second boat, SNOW GOOSE and the most recent adventure of her refit and taking her down the intracoastal waterway to the Exumas in the Bahamas.”

The film run time is 58 minutes. Tickets are $10; JAC members/seniors/students $8. Doors open at 6:15pm.  

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