We really wanted to get onboard with this race, the minute we heard about it. Big boats, going to weather in the Santa Barbara Channel, before turning the corner and heading to San Diego: what a great setting and epic breeze! The 2015 race was amazing – but last year we were shut out by the fog. So I was pretty nervous about booking a helicopter this year.
Sure enough, the wind at the start was dismal. We took some shots on the water then rushed out to the airport, to get on the helicopter. It was a very slow and long slog across the channel; watching their progress on the tracker was torture. It took forever for the fleet to get out into the wind, and by then they were nearly at Santa Cruz Island so we had to book out there!
It was worth the wait! Between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Island, the conditions were fresh to frightening! My favorite! Everyone was heeled over and the light was amazing.
It’s pretty hard to spot the boats in the choppy seas – white decks, white sails, whitecaps… The sun was almost down and we were still looking for my friends on Alicante. ‘Where are you guys?’ Pilot Taylor finally spotted them. I thought, ‘You look so lonely out there… ‘ But OMG, the photos we got were epic. Heading in from the potato patch, all I could think was, ‘I’m going to be up all night editing!’
This is one of my favorites of Alicante.
Alicante kept texting me throughout the race. Nine miles from the finish, they thought they would get there just in time for the prizegiving, and show up in their foulies.
I love it when we establish a rapport like that with the sailors. They feel like they’re all alone out there, but they’re not. We are watching them every minute, strategizing how to get great shots that will commemorate their passage.
One of the joys of being a photographer is when I consider a boat as more than just an inanimate object. In many cases it’s the manifestation of a life-long passion and dream, brimming with energy and personalities.
Sailing is a magnificent, colorful and dramatic sport. This unique sport has many variables with the constantly changing elements, sea conditions, boats, events, competitors and locations. The challenge is to capture on film electrifying moments that take your breath away. Those moments and opportunities are very few, but when they happen... it is ultimate sailing." ~ Sharon Green
Sharon Green has been capturing electrifying images of performance sailing for more than 30 years. Her annual Ultimate Sailing Calendar, featuring the highlights of competitive sailing, is eagerly anticipated by yachting and photography enthusiasts worldwide. Sharon has been published in major boating publications, both locally and internationally, since she first took up a camera while still in high school. In recognition of her extraordinary accomplishments in photography Sharon was awarded an honorary Masters Degree from the prestigious Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California, where she lives with her daughter Michaela and son Kieran.
Sharon is happiest when she is on the water or hanging from a helicopter in search of the elusive image that can be called 'Ultimate Sailing'. "My greatest satisfaction is when it all comes together: the anticipation, planning, organizing, traveling and epic conditions that combine to create a thrilling photograph. The pursuit of 'Ultimate Sailing' images never seems to grow old. Three decades and I still love the challenge of creating memorable images for my clients and the calendar."