What a perfect image for April’s Ultimate Sailing Calendar page! These challenging times demand something colorful and cheery, like these photos taken during the Hempel World Cup Series in 2019.
By now you must know my favorite shooting conditions are ‘Fresh to Frightening’ – but these images reflect something more akin to ‘Light to Languishing.’ I had made a huge effort to attend this Olympic class regatta in Miami, but when I arrived the weather was not cooperating.
This day there was barely a hint of breeze, and all the other classes were in postponement. But we could see some activity on the RS:X course, so we zoomed over and carefully skirted the fleet to get into position. Once again I was fortunate to have an awesome photo boat driver Kat Mehler who steered us into place.
Both of April's photos were taken with an underwater housing that holds a Canon 7D with a fisheye lens and is attached to a long post. It’s a beast, and the boat has to idle in position while you plunge this contraption over the side (and not drop it!). Basically you have to just hope you are getting good photos because you can’t see what you’re shooting.
In the light breeze, with little real race ‘action’ going on, I was after the color; but I couldn’t see what I’d captured until I got back to my desk and started downloading the images. What a thrill to see I had nailed these colorful racers, like a swarm of butterflies, with their vibrant reflection in the glassy seas!
It’s a bit of an analogy to life right now. Things are not what we expected, so we just have to make the most of the conditions we are in and try our best to focus on and capture the bright and positive aspects of life. I hope you are able to do so during these challenging days, and that you and your families are safe and healthy.
The RS:X featured in the April spread is a windsurfing craft which replaced the Mistral in the Olympics as of 2008. It consists basically of a board with a daggerboard, mast, boom, and sail:
the men’s division has the yellow and orange sail (the large horizontal calendar image) and the women’s has the pink sail (vertical image).
It was designed to allow high-performance windsurfing in low and moderate wind conditions, and can be sailed as little as 5 knots and as much a 30 knots (!). It is very unique in the sport of sailing, as the solo competitors are ‘one with their board’ and need to be quick and agile. It was such a thrill to watch these amazing athletes on the racecourse - and they were just as lively off the water too
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