PPL launch Eileen Ramsay historic yachting photography on-line


1967. Cowes Week. The 44ft sloop Sardonyx, running downwind – one of thousands of named boats searchable in the Eileen Ramsay archive

Following two years of scanning and cataloguing, the priceless Eileen Ramsay Photo Archive has been saved for posterity. Her pictures are now available for reproduction, and as fine art prints.

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Eileen’s heyday was between 1949 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, Olympic medalists, including Charles Currey, Robin Aisher, Keith Musto and Rodney Pattisson, together with historic pictures from the first Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic (OSTAR) races. She was the only photographer Sir Francis Chichester allowed on his Gipsy Moth yachts, and commissioned to photograph notorious sailing charmers like Uffa Fox and Max Aitken, she learned to stave off their amorous advances.

Her unique archive records the explosive growth in dinghy and offshore sailing during post-war years, and include many early pictures of dinghy classes, the rebirth of offshore sailing, and Britain’s first 12Meter America’s Cup yachts. She was also closely involved in photographing powerboats, in particular, those built around the Solent, and the pioneers who competed in the first Daily Express Cowes/Torquay and Daily Telegraph Round Britain races, which are also featured in a new biography on Eileen’s life.

Click here to review selection from the Eileen Ramsay archive

Click here to search the complete database of 37,000 negatives. You can search by boat name, sail number, class, event or negative number.



Eileen Ramsay –
The Queen of Yachting Photography

By Barry Pickthall
ISBN No: 978-1-4081-7841-6
A special signed, limited edition.
160 pages, 123 classic pictures.
Available from South Atlantic Publishing
£25 + postage & packing
Click on book to preview

Much of Eileen’s photography was based around the Solent, but she also covered events as far afield as Burnham on Crouch, the Medway, Norfolk Broads, Plymouth and Torquay. Now well into her 90s, she lives near Alresford, Hampshire and can still remember just about every photograph, and relate an anecdote about each one. Many of these memories are also recorded in this new biography about her life.

“Eileen has been a wonderful subject for a biography.” says Pickthall. “Her iconic pictures provide a unique insight into what was a fast changing period in maritime history, and are matched by her vivid recollections of the personalities at that time.”
Classic Boat Fine Art Prints
Some of Eileen’s iconic pictures have been selected as limited edition Fine Art prints and available from Classic Boat.

Photo Exhibition at Classic Boat Museum, Cowes
Eileen Ramsay’s photographs and albums are currently on display at the Classic Boat Museum at Albany Road, East Cowes, Isle of Wight until the end of October, giving visitors the opportunity to thumb through thousands of original prints all recorded in order of events, as well as view many of the historic boats that Eileen photographed. Go to www.classicboatmuseum.org

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