Offshore Yachting : Offshore Yachting Jun-Jul 2015
aperture 032 2012 to join the sailors, expressing her willingness to be considered as media. “then in January 2013, VOr announced an international search for Obrs so i applied through that and made the cut. then it was a lot of networking – a lot!” For Knighton, his selection was the culmination of past efforts applying but missing out. “i had been following the race closely for the past two editions and in the 2011-12 race i applied for the media crew member role, but wasn’t selected. i watched the photos coming off the boats each day and it continued to deepen my love for the job and how it blends art and the sport together.” he saw the VOr invitation for applications and sent his in immediately. “i then waited for what seemed like ages,” he recalls. “that summer i found out i had made it to the next round, but then heard back several months later that there weren’t any slots with an english- speaking crew. Fortunately for me there was a change in the Abu dhabi line-up and i got a chance to interview via Skype with ian Walker. by the next week i had quit my job and was doing a tryout with the team on a training run across the Atlantic from Portugal to newport. When we arrived in the US 10 days later, i had the job.” Knighton’s training began straight away in Portsmouth, england, followed by an ocean safety training stint in newcastle before the team moved to Alicante, Spain for the last month of preparation prior to the race start in October 2014. “in addition to prepping the media systems on and off the boat i also participated in all the workouts and physical training regimes with the crew to make sure i was in the best shape before the race started.” not wishing to sound overly confident, Knighton reports his thoughts of life at sea for nine months were only of the creative challenges ahead, rather than the physical or technical. “i know that might sound bigheaded, but it’s the truth. i’d already raced in very bad conditions so i wasn’t afraid of the weather or life on board. i think i was well prepared for that. i was just excited to let loose and shoot video and stills each day.” What he was less prepared for was the homesickness. “the biggest challenge of the entire race has been leaving my family to do this. Fortunately my wife, April, has been able to visit me during the stopovers or sometimes i get to go home for a week. it’s been an adventure for sure but i was unprepared for how much i miss being home with my wife and our dog. i’m having the time of my life, but it’s a balance. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until you’re working 12-hour days for weeks on end out on the ocean!” Coppers agrees: “i miss my family in holland. We can send emails though i’m working 19 hours a day and can’t wait to jump in my bunk as fast as possible. but they send me emails, which is fantastic! being out here, on the ocean works as therapy: you realise what’s important in life. not money, not your Facebook account, it’s your loved ones.” Standing head and shoulders clear of his team mates, Knighton has had to adjust to Spartan rations and cramped quarters. “Over the past seven legs there’s been an increasing number of cushioning pads taped to various protruding structures,” he says, adding “the headaches have subsided!” Constantly delving deep to create compelling images and new angles on the long legs between stopovers was also surprisingly challenging. “the hardest part about this job isn’t the physical part of living on board – the big waves, the cold, seasickness – it’s about being creative with the same 65 feet of carbon fibre each day. it’s truly the hardest thing i’ve ever had to do purely because of the way it taps your creativity in ways you’d never imagine. “there are days you wake up and think ‘i’ve got nothing to give. What am i going to shoot that’s different from the previous 100 days i’ve StefanCopperS TEAM MATES Stefan Coppers on the right with a crew member aboard Team Brunel. He says that getting along well with the crew was a key factor to his success in landing the job as its on board photographer.
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