SECOND WIND a PBS special with Onne van der Wal

PBS has done a special on Onne van der Wal, the KING of all nautical photographers!

The film goes in to his early days in South Africa, his professional yacht racing career, photography and how he refits his 1972 Pearson 36 Snoek. He explains what motivated him to buy and old tired boat, park it in his driveway, rebuild it and created a comfortable little cruising boat.


Noted Newport based nautical photographer and sailor, Onne van der Wal, talks about his early days in apartheid South Africa where he grew up sailing small boats and working on commercial fishing boats as a teenager.

A poor student in high school, Onne’s father encouraged him to attend a trade school where he completed a three year apprenticeship as a machinist in Cape Town. His true passion was sailing and after finishing his trades education, Onne went on to race large sailboats as a professional crew member and joined the famous Dutch boat, FLYER, in the 1981/82 Whitbread around the world race. Winning the race was a huge stepping stone to his long and successful career as an award winning nautical photographer.

Onne has spent 32 years photographing and traveling with various sailing vessels around the world, but always on someone else’s boat…it was time for his OWN boat. Onne took an old and tired 1972 Rhode Island built Pearson 36 sailboat and refurbished to its former glory in his backyard. The frigid winter project put him to the test but with the help of several local vendors, he completed the project that would allow him to enjoy his own boat and sail in his backyard playground of Narragansett Bay with his wife Tenley.

SECOND WIND a PBS special with Onne van der Wal from Onne van der Wal on Vimeo.