A special edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club Time Over Distance series talking to Alex Thomson just days before Alex and HUGO BOSS started the 2020 Vendee Globe.
This is Alex Thomson's fifth race and having come second last time, HUGO BOSS is one of the favourites. The interview was recorded live with Alex exploring the physical and mental strength required for the race, plus details of the radical IMOCA 60 design and the cutting-edge technology on board.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club presents a special end-of-series show featuring live interviews with sailors from around the world, exploring epic races, top pro-techniques and more.
15 editions of the Time Over Distance series packed into a one-hour show of stories, pictures and videos from the America’s Cup, Round the World Races, Olympic Games and more. Watch the collective and then choose your favourites show to watch in full.
Although this may be the end of our Lockdown Series its not the end for Time Over Distance. We do plan to continue and extend this wonderful piece of work throughout the quieter months.
Grenada-based photographer Arthur Daniel took this shot of the Class40s as they headed off after the start of the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 race.
From Fort Charlotte, above the Pillars of Hercules that guard the entrance to the historic English Harbour, the RORC Race Team start this classic 600-mile offshore race. Arthur Daniel captured the fleet starts from ashore and in this image also managed to include his colleagues who were up in the media helicopter. Flying fast and low above the impressive Class40 fleet, videographer Roddy Grimes-Graeme (Acquafilms Antigua) and photographer Tim Wright (photoaction.com) ensured superb video and images from the race, as they have done over the past 12 years for this annual race around 11 Caribbean island.
“In the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 there was a huge fleet of Class40s. To get this shot I had to run more than a 1/4mile down to the water’s edge (with 60 pounds of gear on my back) to get them tacking! I was lucky to get the helicopter in the shot too,” says Daniel.
“It was to be quite a match race all the way around the course for the 10 teams from France, Norway and Brazil which formed a race record entry for the Class40 Division. After two and a half days and nights of intense competition and over 600 miles of racing, it all came down to just a few minutes in the 2019 edition of the race. Catherine Pourre's French Class40 Eärendil won Line Honours for the second year in a row, defeating two of the rising stars of offshore racing who had both led for parts of the race. Aymeric Chappellier's Aïna Enfance Et Avenir was second by just 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Completing the podium was Luke Berry's Lamotte - Module Création, less than six minutes from victory!”
About Arthur Daniel
“When I got into photography about 9 years ago, I wanted to try different types of camerawork and to challenge myself. Getting into sailing photography I started with our local Workboat Regatta and Grenada Sailing Week - It feels natural. Since I love adventure, a challenge, and capturing beautiful things, sailing is one of my favourite types of photography. I enjoy bringing landscape, sports and photojournalism photography into sailing.”
For the 14th edition of the RORC Time Over Distance Series, Louay Habib interviews Olympic Silver Medallist Luke Patience with a deep dive into his two previous Olympic campaigns and a look forward to Tokyo and beyond.
Luke grew up in Scotland and comes from a sailing family, profoundly passionate about all forms of sailing.
Luke shot to fame in the 2012 London Olympic Games, winning silver for Great Britain with Stuart Bithell in the 470 Class. Luke Patience and Elliot Willis won selection for Great Britain for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. However, six months before the event, Elliot Willis was diagnosed with bowel cancer and the team had to withdraw.
Luke teamed up with Chris Grube and requalified with less than three months to the 2016 Olympic Games. They finished fifth in Rio and have again qualified to represent Great Britain at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“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 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.