This image was taken when I was still very heavily into my sailing. I took this just as the sun rose over the Hauraki Gulf on the way back to Auckland from an overnight race to one of the islands in the Gulf. I ended up having to climb over the bowsprit and hold on to the forestay to get a wide enough angle to get the shot that I envisioned. I have spent quite a bit of time in and around boats and so was not too worried about taking it, but some of the other crew members were surprised that I would risk a swim in the cold water with my camera for the shot. It is not the first time or the last that I was willing to put my camera gear at risk for a shot, that is how you get some of the best shots, by being in the places that other people don’t or can not access with a camera.
Love for sailing and the ocean is one of the things that I inherited from my grandfather, Thomas Norton. He was an architect, boat designer and sailor and someone who had a pretty big influence in my life.
I grew up sailing in the summers in the Caribbean starting out in Optimist dinghies and working my way up through all the various dinghy classes (sunfish, lazer, 420’s) and then graduated to racing on-board bigger boats like the J-24’s, J-30’s and even a few larger boats. So needless to say that I am very comfortable around boats and know how to handle myself in all kinds of conditions.
In fact my love of sailing and ability to handle both myself and my cameras on board boats have lead me to be able to shoot as the 17th man on board two America’s Cup boats in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup regattas held in Auckland. Once from on-board Aleph and also on board the Greek Challenge. That was quite an experience, and one that people won’t be able to share anymore now that the whole America’s Cup has gone into high tech catamarans.
The other big sailing adventure that I have been on, was taking part in the 1st Whangarei to Port Villa yacht race. I was actually only given 48hour notice for this race and had to scramble around to pack my gear, secure an assignment from a magazine and make all the necessary travel arrangements. I spent the whole bus ride from Auckland to Whangarei playing phone tag (when I could get service) trying to finalize my flight home and basically got on board the boat not 100% sure that I had a confirmed flight home. But it was a great three days on board a boat!
Here is a parting shot of me at the wheel of the A40 on that trip…
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