How to capture the moment
Published on April 22nd, 2021
The sport of sailing is fortunate to have great photographers, but they all step aside when Carlo Borlenghi enters the room. He’s king, and in this report by Sails, Carlo discusses the work to capture the 36th America’s Cup:
When Emirates Team New Zealand crossed that final mark earlier in March to both win and defend the America’s Cup, the energy and excitement was palpable.
The reality is that this is the case for any America’s Cup, but with the lingering presence of COVID-19, for many of us, our experience of the 36th America’s Cup came exclusively in the form of media.
But given how that essence of racing was still captured and translated for us to consume, it highlights the work and ability that goes into not only documenting something like the America’s Cup, but how to turn an image of two yachts competing into something tangible.
Award-winning Italian sports photographer, Carlo Borlenghi has been the official photographer for the America’s Cup since 1983 – a prestigious achievement coupled with Carlo’s five decades of acclaim and success.
We reached out to Carlo to chat about his experiences documenting the 36th America’s Cup, what it means to be the official photographer and what goes into actually capturing those split-second moments.
Sails: Tell me what it was like to be the official photographer for the America’s Cup. Was there much pressure?
Carlo Borlenghi: It was a challenging because there’s a lot you have to do. Being the official photographer, I was the only one allowed to follow the regatta via helicopter for example. The team photographers, they can follow the race, but only from the press boat.
Sails: Obviously in the lead up to, and during, the 36th America’s Cup, there was a lot that was kept secret by the teams to help give them a competitive edge. As the official documenter of the America’s Cup, did you have to navigate a fine line?
Carlo Borlenghi: Of course. The teams don’t like it if [photographers] shoot the cockpit as an example and those kinds of things. Sometimes, I do get pictures that the teams wouldn’t like to see published so with those, I put them in another folder to use after the Cup – I know how much damage it could cause to have that [information] on show.
But it’s also not completely necessary to shoot things like that. I’m the official photographer, not a spy photographer [laughs]. – Full report
36th America’s Cup Match Scoreboard (wins-losses)
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 7-3
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA): 3-7
Advancing as the winner of the PRADA Cup, the Italian challenger faced the Kiwi defense in the best of 13 series. After the postponement due to government COVID-19 health regulations, the 36th America’s Cup Match racing schedule had two races per day planned for March 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, and each day after that until the first team had won seven races.