Stake your claim


On the surface photographing boats may seem a peaceful way to spend a working life, but behind the lens it’s not always the case. On press trips and new boat launches, there can be as many as 12 photographers photographing 6 different boats at the same time. Sounds chaotic? It usually is.

Space on board the press boat is a premium, so it’s important to get a spot early and mark your territory. Best spot is on the flybridge near the driver. We photographers stake our claim with the detritus we usually hump around, tripods, camera bag, coats, waterproofs, anything goes. Once installed, it would take a capsize to move us from our spot, and even then it’s doubtful that some overseas photographers would move!

With so many different photographers, all speaking different languages, all wanting their own angle to photograph different boats, bedlam is never far away. Heads pop into view, shoulders become broader while everyone tries to get the perfect shot. Like a pack of meerkats we bob up and down all shooting in different directions. In the heat of the action a lens gets dropped, falling like a £1500 meteorite onto the head of a photographer below. I don’t speak Italian, but I guess he’s unhappy with the sheepish looking photographer above. The helms of the boats we’re photographing get at least three sets of different directions, hands wave like tic tac men communicating their latest odds. One photographer says faster, another says slower, I say hold it there. So the bun fight continues until it’s time to go in.