Behind the scenes on photographing yacht launches

WHERE IN THE WORLD: Auckland, New Zealand

 

You may not know it, but Paige Cook is the talent behind almost all of our media shots of superyacht launches and sea trials. Here's a behind the scenes look from Paige at what goes in to getting the perfect shot!

Whenever a new project leaves the Yachting Developments shed, this involves manoeuvring it back to the water before it can be launched, navigating the vessel down the streets of Auckland. Lucky for me, the best time to move big yachts on public streets is typically in the middle of the night. Usually its around 3.30 or 4am that I have to set the alarm for!!

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But there's something magical about a yacht coming in and out of the yard. A new yacht is full of wonder, you wonder lies ahead for her and what's going to change. When a yacht leaves the yard for the first time you get to see all the hard work the staff have put into the boats.

Some of my best photos are by accident… There was one time I complained to Ian about there being dust on my lens and then I realised it was stars. The paint jobs are sometimes so amazing that the surroundings reflect back off the boat - this is one of my favourite photos.

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I love taking photos, but over the years its fair to say my cameras have been through a bit between sailing and work, with two dying of salt corrosion…. oops!

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It's cool being able to take loads of photos and then uploading them for the public and owners to see. Here are some of my favourites below.

Paige racing in Bay of Islands Sailing Week 2018

WHERE IN THE WORLD: Bay of Islands, New Zealand

I recently took part in Bay of Islands Sailing Week 2018 (held 23-26 January). This was my fifth Bay Week racing on the TP52 Mayhem owned by H Dodson and T Bosnyak. I've been sailing on Mayhem since the boat came to New Zealand, after having a few previous sails on the owners old boat Formula One, which was a little speed demon with little to no freeboard.

Photo Credit - Andrew Roy GOPRO - Grinder on Mayhem (BOISW)

Photo Credit - Andrew Roy GOPRO - Grinder on Mayhem (BOISW)

The 52s are so much fun to sail and require a lot of work and in the pit a lot of organisation. The hardest part about pit is when you get it wrong so organising all the lines and having everything run and set up is key to smooth operating. Sailing's a team sport so when you get it wrong you make everyone else's job a little harder!

I've grown up sailing on big boats my whole life but moving on to Mayhem was a big step…. five years ago I was wondering.. what on earth is a pedestal? Sailing on this boat with this amazing crew (who are more like family now) has given me so many opportunities and taught me so much about not just the sailing but how the boat works.

I won this trip to Gothenburg in Sweden in the Musto Grinding Challenge the last time Volvo Ocean Race came to Auckland, and I think my win was purely because I was helping the person who looked after Mayhem and grinding them up the rig quite a few times for boat work.

I’m lucky to be able to sail on an amazing boat with such a wonderful crew. :)

 

Bianca reports on leg four: VOR 2017/2018

WHERE IN THE WORLD: Break in Auckland, then Hong Kong

It was really nice to have a leg off and give my body and head some rest. I’ve come to realise this race is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. I was never told it would be easy though.

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Having the leg off was planned from when I joined the team but seeing the boats leave the dock and commentate as they left the heads in Melbourne, I had this great feeling of separation and as if I had been left behind. It was definitely a frustrating leg for all those on board and it seems I missed a tough one. It was a great chance for me to take a break, step back and enjoy some time with family and friends. Dad even taught me how to drive the tractor, Mum made some delicious home meals and my sister, Paige, and I got to spend some quality time water skiing and soaking up some rays.

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The sailing here in Hong Kong has been tricky but it’s an incredible city and a fantastic backdrop. The around the island race was frustrating, and even though we didn’t have the best of starts we caught up, but unfortunately got stuck in a whole. But onwards and upwards from here, with a short stint to China before heading back here to Hong Kong to get ready to sail to the mighty Aotearoa aka New Zealand. This leg headed to Auckland is going to be a tough one much like the last leg with another doldrums crossing and islands to tactically navigate.

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I am so thrilled to be sailing home to Auckland and I cannot contain my excitement about sailing up the Waitematā Harbour amongst some incredible sailors. I may not have a kiwi flag on my kit but I’ll be flying it high and proud in my heart. I look forward to seeing you soon Auckland and thank you so much to everyone for your on going support. It truly means the world to have you all following me during this journey.

Image: James Blake / Volvo Ocean Race

Image: James Blake / Volvo Ocean Race

Image: James Blake / Volvo Ocean Race

Image: James Blake / Volvo Ocean Race

Ellie Brade
Bianca reports on leg three: VOR 2017/2018

WHERE IN THE WORLD: Cape Town to Melbourne

Merry belated Christmas everyone and hello from Melbourne.

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

I survived the Southern Ocean and I’m safe and sound in sunny warm, Australia. It’s so nice to be in shorts and t-shirt for a change. The leg was a quick one and although we pushed to finish on Christmas day we just missed out and sailed in yesterday to a great crowd of people on the dock. It got so cold during the leg and although I was wearing 3 x base layers, a fleece layer (top and bottom) a mid layer jacket, full one piece mid layer, thermal underwear, a beanie, balaclava, 3 x socks, sea boots, gloves and a dry suit at times, it was still cold and so wet…. may need to invest in some thicker layers for the next Southern Ocean leg! My toes are still numb from trying to wear too many pairs of socks and then squeezing my feet into my boots. Hopefully the feeling come back before I have to get my dancing shoes on for New Years Eve. 

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

The Southern Ocean was rough and there were some good slams going on and sleep was but a distant memory for a lot of it. Getting out of the warm sleeping bag to face the fire hose for 4 hours was a tough one, but sending it down the waves at some good pace was worth it. I did get a chance to helm during this leg and the adrenaline of realising you were sailing in the Southern Ocean on a VO65 in the Volvo Ocean race was pretty incredible. We had two crash gybes and one of them was a big one. I was down stairs in my bunk and when the boat started to roll so did my bunk pinning me out board. But we were all safe and got the boat back up and running pretty quick. 

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Sailing into Melbourne was a little slow going as we waited for the breeze to fill in. Crossing the finish line was a joyous moment and the Aussie’s gave us a proper welcoming. Now that i’ve showered, and managed a full 8 hours of sleep in a huge double bed (which I only occupied a quarter of) I’m feeling more like a human and happy to be spending some time with the family. My first proper meal ashore I smashed all the broccoli in everyone’s meals. Fresh fruit and veg is the thing I missed the most.

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Now time to get the boat ready to leave again for Hong Kong. This time however i’ll be on the dock waving the boat off as I take a break for a leg and spend some well earned time with the family at home. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and you have an incredible New Years. 

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Image Credit: Volvo Ocean Race / Jeremie Lecaudey

Bianca reports on leg two: VOR 2017/2018

WHERE IN THE WORLD: Lisbon to Cape Town

Picture having a fire hose pointed at your face for four hours, going off to sleep for four hours and during those being woken up to move the stack, gybe and face the fire hose again. Leg 2 was as much a mental challenge as it was a physical one. We managed to hang out with Skallywag the entire time we were in the southern hemisphere and it was like a cruel game of cat and mouse as the lead kept changing. It was definitely the longest match race I’ve been involved in.

Image Credit: Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race

Image Credit: Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race

Image Credit: Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race

Image Credit: Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race

As we crossed the Equator those who hadn’t crossed it before had to be initiated by King Neptune. Apparently the three times I had crossed it previously didn’t count as I hadn’t “raced” across??? Who am I to argue with King Neptune? But considering I never had a proper crossing when I first crossed I accepted the punishment. We had three choices: Shaved eyebrows, cut hair or take a bite out of a flying fish. I chose the flying fish.

Image Credit: Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race

Image Credit: Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race

With the equator crossing behind us we continued to head south and switched between heading to Cape Town and Cape Horn continuously. At one stage it honestly felt like we were going to head the wrong way. We then unfortunately fell off the back of a pressure system and then headed dead south to Antarctica to find some ice cream.

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We fought a hard battle and continued to push right up until the finish where Skallywag just managed to get us. But now we are in Cape Town and in a beautiful apartment with a massive double bed, a bath and a stunning view. After hot bunking for the last three weeks this is pure luxury. Time to enjoy some down time and the sights of Cape Town. Bring on the next leg to Melbourne.