“Whilst I regularly shoot from helicopter and drone, there's no doubt that the RIB is far and away my go-to shooting platform and mode of transport on the water. My ancient blue RIB is a common sight on the Solent and whilst not the most comfortable of rides, its small size does mean I can get close into the action without getting in the way, or kicking up a huge wake.
“In conditions up to force 5 or 6 it's fairly easy to stay dry, but when it gets really breezy, it gets harder to keep myself and, more importantly equipment, dry. Having shot from the same boat for many years, I do get to know when a certain shape wave will get me wet and also the sound of a wave coming. Moving the boat to stay dry (ish) does almost become instinctive, but now and again I get a big one over the side! It's then all about how quickly I can turn to face away from the wave and shield the camera, or get the camera into a protective Peli case. Without the essential Peli case, camera kit won't last long on the water. One secret that I will share with you is not to worry about the expensive and rather clunky camera protective cases as more often than not, sturdy freezer bags taped round the lens, get the job done. However, don't blame me if your kit gets wet!
“When the breeze really gets up, aside from wishing I had a larger boat, one of the biggest issues is stopping the bow of the RIB from constantly being turned downwind. As I'm often driving the boat whilst shooting, I like to keep the boat pointed towards safety so should something go wrong and the yacht suddenly change course towards me, I'm not left trying to reverse out of the way at speed. Never a good move. Thinking ahead and having an escape route is totally essential and has saved me from serious incidents many times.
“I often get asked "Don't you need a driver?" It does depend what I'm shooting and how fast they are going, but in most cases I'd rather be driving myself. I've never been great at communicating in a hurry so driving myself means I can think and manoeuvre instinctively and not have to translate that thought to someone else...by which time the moment may have gone.
“So there's no doubt that shooting from a RIB on a breezy day can be a challenge and sometimes expensive in terms of camera kit, but it's also the time when I often get the best images. All we need now is some racing!”
More about Paul Wyeth
Paul Wyeth has lived and worked by the sea all his life and is based on the Isle of Wight. Apart from a brief spell away whilst studying for a design degree, the sea has always been central to him; from teaching sailing, through to boat building and work for the RYA. His background in design combines well with hands-on experience at sea. An appreciation of light and a passion for capturing the energy and grace of the sea is his driving force.
Paul has captured many stunning images of RORC races and specialises in photographing from a small RIB allowing him to get right into the action: close but not too close! His experience in boat handling is a real asset when it comes to successfully getting the shot without getting in the way. Paul also shoots aerial images from helicopter and drones when conditions or budget allow!
Many of Paul's images have been featured in major International yachting publications, in addition to commissioned photography for a wide range of clients. He also works as event photographer for several regattas such as Cowes Week and Antigua Sailing Week.
The 13th edition of the RORC Time Over Distance Series will be with Jason Carrington, the world-renowned professional yachtsman and boat builder.
Jason has become almost legendary for his painstaking attention to detail and his relentless ambition to build the best composite yachts for the most challenging races in the world including: Volvo 60 Assa Abloy, FAST40+ RÁN, IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss, and AC75 Britannia. From 1993 to 2006 Jason competed in four editions of the Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race, as well as record-breaking runs on Mike Slade’s Maxi Leopard.
James Mitchell is an award winning, internationally published British photographer based in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. He specialises in photographing the world's leading sports brands and athletes, but also covers commercial, documentary, editorial, action, adventure & sport photography all over the globe.
James worked with the RORC media team from the first RORC Transatlantic Race in 2014, capturing the essence of the race for the following three years. The spectacular volcanic landscape of Lanzarote was the dramatic backdrop for his images in the RORC’s longest race. The 7th edition will depart on 9th January from Calero Marinas Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, bound for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada.
"I shot this photo of the Italian trimaran Maserati at the start of the third RORC Transatlantic which started from Calero Marinas Marina Arrecife on Lanzarote in November 2016. At this time the Multi70 had gone through some substantial changes with rudders that allowed them to lift the stern and foils to lift the floats, allowing her to fly 'out of the water’. And boy, did she fly. We were around 10km's into the start of the race and 300 metres offshore when the wind suddenly whipped up. With Giovanni Soldini on the tiller, Maserati took flight at an insane speed; the 150hp engine on our press RIB had no chance keeping up! Within minutes, the trimaran was starting to lean onto its port side float. With the Lanzarote landscape in the distance, Maserati looked majestic as she went up on her foils. I kept shooting as she flew away from us, headed for her final destination some 3,000 nm away in Grenada," remembers James Mitchell.
For the 12th edition of the RORC Time Over Distance Series we will be revealing the awe-inspiring work of the Scaramouche Sailing Trust. The Greig City Academy in North London started the sailing project in 2016 and since then, hundreds of inner-city kids, as young as 13, have fallen in love with sailing. A select few have raced as teams in qualifying races and the last two editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race, finishing on both occasions.
We all have an affinity with the sea. Every sailor has felt the forces of nature and the experience becomes compulsive. Witnessing young people getting this compulsion is uplifting and inspirational.
For a live interview by Louay Habib with Greig City Academy’s Jon Holt and members of GCA Sailing Club - the first inner-city London school to have its own sailing club - tune in on Friday 19th June at 1700 BST at www.facebook.com/RoyalOceanRacingClub/
Beken of Cowes Over 130 years of sailing photography - from 1880s to 2015
Kenneth Beken is the last in the line of three generations of Marine Photographers known as Beken of Cowes. His grandfather Frank arrived on the Isle of Wight in 1888 and was immediately captivated by the grand yachts that sailed the Solent waters outside his bedroom window. Frank readily admitted he couldn’t paint, so he set about using the cameras available at that time. He soon realised that they were not practical at sea, so he invented his own box camera using twin lenses and a shutter fired by a rubber ball held in his teeth! His sailing portraits were so good that yachtsmen, including King George V on Britannia would study his daily results to see where they were going wrong!
Frank’s son Keith followed on from the mid 1930s in time for the J-Class and Big Boat era. After a brief spell captaining an Air Sea Rescue boat during WWII, he saw the company through the post war years with the introduction of ocean racing & IOR. Not content with just Cowes and the Solent, he started travelling to international regattas on both sides of the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean, increasing the scope of the Beken archives from traditional sepia monochrome studies into modern colour photography. He earned his ‘Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society’ in 1951 and the ‘Royal Warrant’ from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Keith’s son Kenneth started photographing afloat in 1970 and for over 45 years would be seen in his Boston Whaler capturing the sailing scene. Ken reckons the best of times were those earlier years of IOR when designers were more experimental, enabling him to capture some ‘interesting’ studies! It was a 7-days-a week job, very reliant on the weather. Black Solent skies meant you were frantically busy shooting before the inevitable rains came.
He travelled to worldwide regattas with his trusty Hasselblad cameras; from hanging out of helicopters shooting powerboats off Key West, to America’s Cup 12-metres off Perth, and swimming in shark-infested Hawaiian waters shooting windsurfers with underwater Nikonos. Although his own boat has never let him down, he hasn’t always been so lucky on other craft. A leaking speedboat very nearly sank underneath him in Sardinia (when he had to use his own camera bag as a makeshift bailer), and he survived a light aircraft crash landing in Antigua (when it lost all power over the water!)
He does remember though being struck by lightning during the Swan Europeans off Cowes in 2005: “On seeing ominous approaching black skies and bearing in mind I was standing on top of 50 gallons of high octane fuel, I made for a moored coaster and stopped in her lee thinking lightning would strike it first. It did, but the bolt shot through my boat too, up my arm, flinging my mobile phone to the deck!”
The 11th edition of the RORC Time Over Distance Series will be with the Harold Cudmore who hails from Cork, Ireland. In the 1970s Cudmore was one of the first sailors to travel the world to compete at international yachting events, especially match racing. In 1986, Harold became the first non-American to win the Congressional Cup. In the America's Cup Cudmore was heavily involved in several British campaigns during the 1980s and was the head coach of the 1992 winning campaign America3 and coach for the all-women's campaign in 1995.
Between 1977 and 1993, Harold Cudmore took part in seven editions of the Admiral’s Cup. Racing for Ireland, Great Britain, Australia, and Germany. In 1989, Harold Cudmore was the mastermind ashore for the victorious British team. To this day, Harold travels the world racing in a wide variety of inshore and offshore events. His amazing abilities as a yachtsman are only matched by his talent for storytelling!
“The Jameson Whiskey picture has become a bit of an icon,” says photographer Rick Tomlinson. “I took the shot at the 1987 Irish Admiral’s Cup trials off Howth. It was blowing hard and I was taken out to photograph the racing in a small 4 meter Avon RIB.
“It was impossible to take pictures from the RIB, so with just minutes to go before the start I was transferred to the committee boat. I went straight up onto the fly bridge and put the camera to my eye - immediately Jameson Whiskey was hit by a big gust. As the main was eased, the leeward runner caught and pinned the boom in, resulting in the knock down. It was only over for a second or two, but as I had the camera to my eye, I instinctively pressed the shutter release. When I looked astern I saw that the RIB I had just got out of had capsized, but the driver was safely sitting on top of it!
“I seemed to catch Jameson tripping up a few times around that time….”
More about Rick Tomlinson Rick Tomlinson made his name capturing the Southern Ocean at its most treacherous from the decks of various yachts in the Whitbread Round the World Race. He started with freelance pictures published in Yachting World and Seahorse from Drum in 1985, and finished his 4 Race Whitbread career with a commission from National Geographic onboard Team EF.
Born in 1958, Rick grew up on the Isle of Man, where he established a serious interest in sailing, spending much of his time on the water racing dinghies, dreaming of one day competing in the Whitbread Race. Rick's enthusiasm for photography began whilst he was boatbuilding and sailing, particularly with his friend Nick Keig, who campaigned the Three Legs of Mann and VSD multihulls. Veteran yachting photographers Alistair Black and Christian Fevrier came to photograph the boat, inspiring Rick into the world of professional yachting photography.
The 10th edition of the RORC Time Over Distance Series will be with Ian Walker, re-living tragedy and triumph in the Olympics, America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race. Since 2017 Ian has been the Director of Racing for the RYA, Ian shares his thoughts on the shape of sailing post-lockdown.
Ian Walker has won Olympic Silver for Great Britain as both helm and crew, and in different boats! Walker has competed in two America’s Cup’s including skipper and helm of GBR Challenge. Three consecutive Volvo Ocean Race campaigns concluded with Ian Walker becoming the first British skipper to win the race, with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
Louay Habib interviews Ian Walker for an hour-long show featuring pictures, videos and stories from a fascinating career.
Kurt Arrigo won the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image of the Year for this epic shot of superyacht Nilaya, showing the reflection of the island of Capri on her hull at twilight: "This picture was taken during the 2012 Rolex Volcano Race”, explains Kurt. "The weather had been bad all day, but the sun suddenly came out for a short while. We were leaving the area but I asked the pilot of the helicopter to fly back briefly over the leading boat; that's when I took this photograph."
About Kurt Arrigo
Growing up in Malta surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, Kurt Arrigo’s lifelong passions for the ocean and photography developed from a young age. Merging his spirit of adventure with his passion for sailing and scuba diving, he quickly gained a reputation as a distinguished underwater and marine photographer.
A commission to document the 1992 America’s Cup catapulted him onto the global stage, and heralded the start of a path that would see Kurt also become one of the world’s most eminent yachting and sports photographers.
From the Mediterranean to the Galapagos, to the Himalayas, remote South Pacific, and icy waters of Norway, Kurt’s majestic images capture the world’s natural beauty from above and below the ocean’s surface. As a commercial photographer, he is in his element documenting international sporting events and working for prestigious global brands and clients. With a career in visual storytelling spanning over 30 years, Kurt’s professional accolades include the title of official photographer for Rolex Yachting Events covering yearly events for the past 18 years, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the Rolex Fastnet Race, TP World Championships, Maxi Worlds and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.
Kurt’s passion for underwater photography won him the honour of his underwater images being featured on the walls of the Rolex Oscars Green Room for the 2019 Perpetual Planet Campaign. Kurt remains based in Malta, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He spends his leisure time diving, sailing, biking, running and swimming, and supports charitable organisations focused on marine conservation.
Brad Butterworth will be lifting the lid on fascinating stories from the America’s Cup, Steinlager II and a special feature on Rambler 88 in the 9th edition of the RORC Time Over Distance Lockdown series of interviews.
Brad Butterworth has competed in seven editions of the America’s Cup in the afterguard, winning the America’s Cup four times in succession. Butterworth’s winning streak of 16 consecutive races is unequalled. Butterworth was watch captain for Peter Blake’s Steinlager II, winning all six legs of the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Race. In recent year’s Butterworth has been tactician on George David’s Maxi Rambler 88, taking line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race, Rolex Middle Sea Race, and both line honours and the race record for the RORC Caribbean 600.
Louay Habib interviews Brad Butterworth for an hour-long show featuring: pictures, videos and stories from a phenomenal career. Tune in on Friday 29 May 1700 BST on Youtube
The RORC was founded in 1925 to encourage long distance yacht racing and the design, building and navigation of sailing vessels in which speed and seaworthiness are combined. Today the club encourages ocean, long distance and other forms of yacht racing and yachting activity.