French photographer loves the 18 footers
Published on April 27th, 2022
The 18ft Skiff Class may not be worldly enough to host a World Championship, but few boats require as much elite-level skill, and it is at the JJ Giltinan Championship where legends have been made during the 84-year history of the world’s premier 18-Footer championship.
Held annually in March on Australia’s Sydney Harbor, the backdrop and boats are a sight to be seen, but Christophe Favreau was struggling to overcome the COVID-19 restrictions which were being placed on international arrivals into Australia at that time.
Fortunately, things changed quickly when his VISA, as a highly-skilled French photographer, was approved to promote the JJ Giltinan Championship as “a symbol of what can be sailing sport in Australia”.
Favreau made it down under and did his thing to cover the world’s biggest annual 18 footer event for a leading French sailing magazine as well as video work for the weekly international ‘Sailing World On Water’ program.
“I first came in 2006 as I was invited by the French team (Groupe Sefico, run by Christophe Orion, Philippe Vallée and Eric Caiveau),” noted Favreau. “I was used to the European circuit but discovering the intensity of the 18 foot skiff sailing in Sydney Harbour was a very unique experience.”
“This was a true revelation for me. Seeing those incredible machines flying upon the water like this gave me the feeling that it was really the ultimate sailing. I also really enjoyed the Class atmosphere, full of true characters and intense people.
“I then came back every year except 2 or 3 times for personal reasons. So this year was my 14th JJ I guess…”
Having established himself in 2006 and 2007, “I got invited to San Francisco in 2008 by Howard Hamlin, who told me, if you come, I will give you helicopter time.
“Well, flying upon (or under) the Golden Gate Bridge, shooting or filming those flying machines in San Francisco Bay, was a super exciting challenge and of course I came, even if it was a foggy edition where I just saw the pile of the iconic bridge! I must have come then nearly 10 times I would say.
“The 18 in San Fran is a pretty unique package, especially with the Bridge to Bridge race which is sailed in between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oakland Bay Bridge, and uniting any kind of fast sailing boats including foiling ones like kites and windsurfing boards.
“I wish the San Francisco event would come back also as it is surely one of the best 18 foot skiff regattas, in such an iconic and windy place. For me, the 18 footers are made to race is some very special places like Sydney Harbour, Garda lake in Italy, Quiberon’s bay in France…I have covered the international circuit when it was at its best and that was amazing.”
Christophe’s photography is wide ranging. “The beauty of photography is you can work on an infinity of subjects. Even if I am really focused on sailing, I also like portraits and architecture too. Landscape are also very nice to shoot as it is usually linked to travel and discovery of new places.”
“The Sydney Opera House is surely the best known icon in Australia. I really love that building which gives to the city her identity, makes it very special. And it looks like some full spinnakers on some angles, which gives iconic sailing shots opportunities when you can put some boats in the frame with the Opera House.”
Source: Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.