Behind the Scenes, January 2019
Published on January 10th, 2019
Our thrilling January calendar image is symbolic of the energy and enthusiasm I feel as we embark on a New Year, chock full of new opportunities and experiences.
This photo, from Carlo Borlenghi, exemplifies that perfectly; with a race boat forging ahead despite rough seas: everyone braced and focused on the horizon. I can’t imagine a better image to welcome 2019!
Carlo captured this picture while working as the official photographer for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Although he’s 62-years young, Carlo is known as the ‘godfather’ of yachting photography.
He has won numerous awards for his work, and was even recognized in 2007 by then-President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, for his dedication capturing the sport of sailing. We are proud to have him as a part of the Ultimate Sailing Calendar!
January’s feature shot shows the TP52 Envy Scooters barreling along the 630-mile course between Sydney and Hobart, Tasmania.
Any time you have a distance race, you have challenges; with coverage requiring a team of professionals who are experts shooting on the water, in the air, and with drones.
The picturesque start in Sydney Harbor is epic but harrowing, dodging 80 competitors and 10 times as many spectator boats! The race begins on Boxing Day – the day after Christmas – which is a big holiday in Australia, so there’s a huge and sometimes unruly crowd of onlookers.
Even in the air, there’s plenty of traffic. Aviation authorities control the altitude limitations over the harbor, but once the racers are past the headlands, it’s a free-for-all. It can be thrilling and terrifying all at the same time.
The racers travel down the east coast toward the Bass Strait, where helicopters can still fly out to intercept some of the fleet in the daylight hours.
Then the sailors tackle the gnarly 190nm channel between Australia and Tasmania. This is where the weather systems of the Southern Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean collide, and conditions can be unpredictable. Sadly the Race has had its tragedies, with several fatalities in this stretch of water 20 years ago.
Across the strait and skimming the eastern coast of Tasmania, the boats near the finish. They round the southern end of the island and turn up toward Hobart, passing the famous ‘organ pipes’ – natural rock formations created over 100-million years ago. They are heart-stopping in their beauty, and if a photographer times it just right, they can get the boats sailing against this stunning backdrop.
This Race has been held since 1945, and is ranked as one of the top offshore yacht races in the world, and a ‘bucket list’ item for many bluewater racers.