Transpac is one of my favorite events to shoot – but also the most exhausting, with nearly a month of non-stop running around!
One of our goals is to get at last one really stellar image of each boat, for the slide show at the prize-giving in Honolulu. Presenting this grand finale to an epic journey, is so fulfilling! The sailors ROAR when they see their boat on the big screen. It’s such a thrill, our true reward for all that work.
But first, there are the logistics. Weeks of logistics. Multiple photographers on the docks, the water, the start boat, and in the air. And all those boats, drivers, the helicopter and pilot!
Because we never know if a boat is going to finish at night, we have to get the shot at the start. And as you can imagine, they’re not sitting around after the gun goes off, waiting for us to come photograph them. They’re off! So it’s a chase to get the perfect image: the lighting, the crew on the rail, the sails trimmed – all without being in the way.
And then, there’s the finish, in the formidable channel between Oahu and Molokai. Shooting the finish represents the ultimate coordination challenge: more boats, helicopters, and a tireless photo team. Ceaseless nail-biting all-nighters, spent checking tracking reports, weather conditions, and communicating with the navigators. On dawn patrol, I’m waiting at the heliport as the race boat approaches the rendezvous point off Makapu’u, wondering if they’ll arrive during daylight, intact, and in a breeze.
Day after day after day. This year, there are 55 boats! We estimate they’ll finish over a period of ten days.
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