Ultimate Sailing - The trademark sailing photography of Sharon Green

Fotos With Friends

by Sharon Green March 20, 2018

Fotos With Friends

Stefano Gattini, Sharon Green, Carlo Borlenghi. 

America's Cup Series, NYC

Stefano is one of Carlos' team at Studio Borlenghi. 

 America's Cup Bermuda, 2017

This month’s image is a credit to Carlo Borlenghi – one of the foremost marine photographers in the world. 

Now you may be wondering, how and when we started featuring other photographers in the Ultimate Sailing Calendar?

As many of you know, I came up with the concept of creating the Ultimate Sailing Calendar, and launched the first edition in 1983. For years I traveled the globe, searching out the ‘ultimate’ venues, yachts and composition of sea and sky, light and action. It has indeed been the ‘ultimate’ career!

One such assignment was in 2005, when I was commissioned by Philippe Kahn to photograph the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds in Sydney. It was a fantastic event: the Farr 40s were the hottest class at the time, and were (and remain) very photogenic! Several of my colleagues from all over the world were there too, including Carlo.

It was a thrill to be there, but I was gone almost 12 days. At the time I was a single Mom, and my kids were still very young. I started questioning myself, ‘If so many other photographers are there, why do I need to go? We’re all on the same photo boat, shooting the same angles, in the same conditions …’ And I started brainstorming. I could potentially get a lot more variety in the calendar – more events, more locations, some running simultaneously – without having to clone myself! 

But the questions remained: would I possibly lose my identity, and the dynamic of the calendar?

These were questions we pondered while Allyson Bunting and I were skiing at Mammoth, shortly after. Allyson is a key member of the Ultimate Sailing Team: a long-time friend, fellow photographer, and a graphic and computer guru. We tossed the idea around on our favorite Chair 23, as we went up and down that mountain … and ultimately decided to give it a try. 

What a huge relief! The decision to delegate a portion of the shots has had so many benefits. The inclusion of different photographers, with their unique styles and skills, a variety of events, classes and locations around the globe, brought a great revitalization to the Ultimate Sailing body of work. While I focused on curating the calendar, the pressure was off for me to be on the road and away from home so much. And when I did travel, it was for the assignments and venues that were most important to me. (I still shoot the majority of images in the calendar!)

It was 2006 when we first incorporated other photographers into the calendar, and it has been a blast ever since. Most photographers have a special focus, or location where they shoot. They may concentrate on dinghies, onboard shots, underwater housing, America’s Cups, Olympic classes, match racing, foiling cats, the Volvo Ocean Race, etc. – or a region: like South America, the Med, Europe, Australia, so on. 

But not Carlo! Carlo is everywhere, and is an icon and legend in our field. We call him the Godfather. He is a true artist with a very unique style. 

He sees things differently: photographing reflections in windows, very tight (close-up) clever compositions; he was the first to do different horizons, and use an underwater housing. It is always refreshing to edit his work and when we’re at the same event, it’s a real treat to get to work with him. In addition to his talent and dedication, he is always so happy, and hard-working.

For instance, we were in Newport, Rhode Island for the J Class Worlds, at the time of the solar eclipse. We were just coming in after the races and were at the dock, but Carlo was determined to get a shot with the sun and the moon. He toiled and tried different ways to capture the image – all while the eclipse’ clock was ticking – and ultimately captured it with the aperture three stops down, using a 100-400 lense and 2D filter. He just doesn’t ever quit! 

© Carlo Borlenghi /J Class


This April calendar image of Freya at the Rolex Swan Cup is an example of his enthusiasm and perseverance. You can see, and almost feel, the power of this massive 90-foot Swan as it roars through the beautiful waters of Virgin Gorda. And Freya proved both visually stunning, and victorious. Winning three of four races in this series, she now boasts victory in the Swan Cup on both sides of the Atlantic.


© Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex

We are already eyeing some of Carlo’s images for the 2019 calendar, which I’m editing now. Stay tuned!!

Sharon Green
Sharon Green


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