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Behind the Scenes, December 2019

Published on December 3rd, 2019

Sharon Green

We are fans of the wall calendar, and in this report Sharon Green shares the behind-the-scenes story regarding the December images in the 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar.

Often I’m asked when showing an image like the one featured in December in the 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar, ‘How did you get the boats to line up like that?’

I get quite the giggle out of that! But in truth, it is no laughing matter: it takes a lot of planning, logistics, the right photo boat and driver, a lively fleet of boats, and a solid knowledge of yacht racing to get an incredible shot like this!

Here we see a fleet of iconic J Class yachts competing in the World Championships in the waters off Newport, Rhode Island. This event marked the historic return to the venue where these regal boats first launched, nearly 90 years ago. But these days, carbon rigging and sails and rock star crew make these yachts super stealth and more competitive than ever.

As I poised to take this shot, I realized the sailors must have wished they were bunched up much closer on the racecourse! But for me, the majesty of this composition, with the yachts emerging out of the fog, was that they were so evenly paced on their march down the East Passage.

I especially love the stunning contrast of the dark, angular mainsails, with the ethereal, ballooning spinnakers.

Later in the day with the air so light, I wanted to experiment with the underwater housing. It’s a heavy contraption, with a camera and wide-angle lens encased in a thick plastic housing on a long post. You need to lean precariously out of the Protector RIB to properly position the camera in the water.

The trick is, you really can’t see the image while you’re shooting – so it’s all experimental! But the clouds were spectacular and the red reflection on the water was so dramatic: guessing, I tried several different angles and positions. It wasn’t until I got back to my computer and began editing that I saw how striking the shot was.

An otherwise serene image, but so dramatic and powerful because of the blood-red spinnaker on Svea.

These images wrap up my 2019 calendar – my 37th edition since I began publishing in 1983 – and you know what that means! It’s time for the 2020 Ultimate Sailing Calendar, and I hope you find it as beautiful and inspiring as the rest.

It features something for everyone, from swarms of colorful Optis and 49ers flashing across glossy seas to high-tech F50s flying around San Francisco Bay, and beyond. The action and intensity are palpable in 24 carefully curated images that burst from the pages of our super-sized, sturdy calendar.

Thank you so much for your support and patronage. Here’s looking ahead to an Ultimate 2020!

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