Pim’s Photos Now On Scuttlebutt Website

Scuttlebutt, the sailing website posted a bunch of my photos from Race Week.

You can check them out here.


Key West Race Week Day 5

On the last day of Key West Race Week we were back to light winds, probably the lightest of the week, so I started out my day by looking for something different. On the way out to the race courses I spotted a Melges 24 passing in front of one of the cruise ships that frequent Key West.

Mind you, the Melges is a 24 foot long boat and it is hundreds of feet in front of the cruise ship, so you can’t even imagine how the Crystal Symphony, which is 790 feet long, dwarfs a Melges 24. The mast on a Melges 24 is 26.5 feet tall.

For comparison, look at the shot of the Wally 82 Highland Fling XI, the largest sail boat at Key West Race Week, as it backed into its berth at the end of the day. Its mast is 131 feet tall.

Here’s the craziest part. The Wally 82 draws 16 feet, which means if you took the Melges 24 and stood it up on its bow and pushed it underwater to the bottom of Highland Fling XI’s keel the stern of the Melges 24 would barely come up above the deck of the Wally. If you were to do the same thing with my Herreshoff 12.5, which is less than 16 feet long overall if wouldn’t even break the surface of the water.

Highland Fling XI was launched last year and Key West Race Week was an early test of its speed. It’s too early to say, but the light winds certainly didn’t favor a boat of this size. Highland Fling XI would cross the finish line first every time, but on corrected time it lost to another Reichl/Pugh design, Bella Mente, a 69 footer owned by Hap Fauth.

Here’s Bella Mente at the windward mark as it kept Highland Fling XI safely within striking distance, and last but not least, Hap Fauth savoring his victory with a cigar after the last race of the week.

Key West Race Week Day 4

Day 4 finally brought stronger winds. It blew about 16 knots, with some gusts that went higher, and it finally brought some drama to the race. Probably the best moments of the day were brought by the Melges 32 class, which is coming on strong and is now attracting some of the best sailors in the world. When the Wally 82 Highland Fling XI came upwind through the Melges 32 fleet as those boats were headed downwind, it made for some excitement on both the Wally and the Melges 32 Heartbreaker.

From our photo boat at the windward mark it looked like Heartbreaker was going to T-Bone the Wally 82, but by the time I brought my camera around to the action Heartbreaker had already taken corrective action and was headed toward the stern of Highland Fling XI to pass behind it. In these two frames you can see that Heartbreaker has already released its chute and the skipper has started aiming for just behind the stern of Highland Fling XI.

It’s one of those times when as a photographer you wish you’d been shooting in that direction all along, but I’m happy I caught at least the tail end of it. Nobody else on my photo boat or the other photo boat caught it since we were all shooting upwind toward the other Melges 32 boats.

The Conch Republic

Key West is an interesting place with some VERY interesting characters. The citizens of the Conch Republic can be unique and pride themselves on their ability to express themselves, in particular in their appearance and behavior.

Last night I saw a guy in a pirate outfit with a REAL peg leg. He had it all, including the hat, the patch, the striped pants and the blouse. When I got back to the media center I was told that he usually also walks around with a real parrot on his shoulder.

Then today, as we returned to the harbor I saw a guy on a surfboard with a paddle crossing the channel while all the race boats, photo boats and spectator boats were returning from the races. Mind you, this is the channel in which ocean going cruise ships make their way to Key West. He seemed completely unperturbed. Only in Key West.

Key West Race Week Day 3

Today we had good light and light winds, but we had a photo boat with three engines that worked beautifully. (video to come when I have a faster internet connection). The wind could have been better, but life was good.

We were out there for a good 5 hours and although the light winds did not make for the most dynamic photos it forced me to get creative. Here are a few samples from Day 3. For more, click here.

Key West Race Week Day 2

Despite the fact that my assigned photo boat was still out of commission, the good folks at Premiere Racing, the organizers of Key West Race Week, got me on the other photo boat for the morning session. Together with Ken Stenak and Richard Langdon, a phenomenal marine photographer from England, we spent a couple of hours stalking the Melges 32, Farr 40 and IRC1 fleets. Here’s a few samplers. More at this link.

Key West Race Week Day 1

With sailing there are no guarantees. The weather, in particular the wind, can choose to let you down. Well, it’s no different with power boats, but in this case it wasn’t the weather.

Day 1 of Key West Race Week was looking good, until the photo boat I was assigned to lost one of its three engines. Despite this, the captain elected to proceed to the race course anyway, but before we arrived at the start of the first race, the second engine quit. It would have been unwise to proceed out to sea with only one of two engines, so we returned to the harbor. That’s when the third engine started acting up. Fortunately we made it back to the dock.

The races had already begun but I knew that Adirondack II, the schooner I’m bunking on would be headed out with a bunch of paying customers. Fortunately my friends Sonny, Captain Rondy and Captain Andy had mercy on us and allowed me and the other shooters, who were now without water transportation, to use Adirondack as a shooting platform.

It was not ideal for shooting the races, but it did force me to get creative and I got a couple of shots that were a little different. Here’s a selection from day 1, for more click here