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The world: Through Warren Brown’s eyes

Legendary local sailor Warren Brown has logged more than 300,000 miles at sea and travelled to some of the world's most remote destinations.

Now he is displaying some of the prized photos from his epic around the world adventures on-board the War Baby to inspire a new generation of people.

The Journeys of War Baby will be on show from now until next Wednesday at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art in the Botanical Gardens.

For many years, Mr Brown kept his photos stored within air-conditioned businesses on the Island to prevent them from being exposed to the hot climate.

However, he decided now was the time to get the pictures out to the public.

More than anything else he hopes they will give people a rare glimpse into what remote parts of the world look like, including the North Pole, Greenland and Spitsbergen, located north of Norway.

“I hope these pictures give them some idea of what these places are like,” Mr Brown said.

“I have about 5,000 pictures and could make whole libraries out of them, but these are just a few of the earlier ones I took.

“There are 24 photos taken from me and four taken by other crew members on board the ship.”

Mr Brown is no stranger to sailing. He has taken part in the Newport-Bermuda Race 20 times in 11 different boats, including four of his own.

But as a young captain and skipper, he realised he hadn't seen very much of the world, as far as the land was concerned.

Inspired by one of his favourite authors (Tillman) who had been to the Antarctic, Mr Brown decided to venture off the off-beaten track, including some scarcely populated parts of South America and a trip to the North Pole.

This was during the “pioneering stages” of sailing where they didn't have much equipment or radio technology to guide them on their journey.

Instead the crew on board the War Baby had to rely heavily on research before the trips — which took almost as long as the trip itself.

When travelling to some countries, Mr Brown said they were required to carry guns.

“If you go to shore without a gun up north you might never come back,” he said. “There are a lot of polar bears and many people have been eaten up there.”

Another challenge of visiting cold weather countries was there was only a small window of time to sail in and out before the ice seized up.

“You can't say you will wait for better weather because you won't get down there,” Mr Brown explained.

“If it's calm you have to use your engine or you won't get down and back. You might have a period of calm one day, while the next it will blow like hell.”

On one occasion his course was blocked with ice so he had to change direction and visit the Falkland Islands instead.

He told The Royal Gazette: “I have probably been through more heavy weather than most people.

“I have been through four semi-hurricanes at sea. Back in 1964, they had nine planes and two ships looking for me between Bermuda and the US. That was a very bad hurricane.

“Still the only time I was scared at sea was during one the Newport to Bermuda Races when I lost someone overboard.

“I got them back, but I was terrified thinking we would get back to Bermuda and I would have to explain to his family and children, who would be there waiting for him.”

There were also many highlights on his trips. He got to see a variety of beautiful creatures up close, including whales, walruses, seals and hundreds of varieties of birds.

Still Mr Brown admitted he couldn't pick just one favourite country.

“It's very hard to compare the places they are so different from one another,” he said. “I loved Chile and the islands around South America where people don't often go, like Robinson Crusoe Island.

“I had a great lot of experiences on Falkland Islands, where they took me up to the battlefields because they hadn't been swept clean yet.”


Warren Brown's new exhibition features documentary photographs and videos made during his epic, around the world adventures on his sailboat named War Baby. Each photograph is accompanied by a brief anecdote offering insight to the featured location, providing a taste of the experience of travelling by sail to some of the most remote destinations on our planet.

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Published June 19, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated June 18, 2014 at 11:12 pm)

The world: Through Warren Brown’s eyes

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