|Sweden's Midnight Sun during the second race of the 1979 Admiral's Cup - the spinnaker takes charge as the crew prepare to gybe in front of Australian yacht Apollo IV|
Eastland also had the privilege in those early years of meeting Frank Beken (Beken of Cowes), where he learnt a lot of his visual thinking, but Jonathan became more interested in how ‘man and machine’ interacted with the elements.
|US yacht Acadia in the heavy running conditions during the second race of the 1979 Admiral's Cup|
In the years that had elapsed since Eastland had started out in the mid-1960s, the number of professional photographers arriving on the scene to cover sailing events had increased from a mere handful to several dozen. Internationally, the sport was popular and demands for 'action' photos from newspapers in particular were high.
Eastland recalls that the 1979 Admiral's Cup saw a record entry list of 19 teams and 57 yachts, and it was to provide all the natural drama a photographer hell bent on outwitting the opposition could have wished for. “In the boisterous conditions that came to pass for the first inshore race, my problem centred on how to make a picture that would convey some of the drama of yachts jostling for position at the start. There was only one place to be and it was not at the leeward end of the line.”
|La Pantera and Impetuous|
As time for the first gun approached, it was clear there would be a massive run in toward the RYS. Foulkes knew exactly where they needed to be to get the shot, while Eastland left him to it and concentrated on figuring out how to manipulate a 400mm telephoto lens from under a tarpaulin while squatting in the bottom of the dory. It seemed to Eastland that no time at all elapsed from the five minute gun going off to the point at which bedlam seemed to break out on the start line. He never heard the start gun, and just remembers a cacophony of sail banging, rigging, gear, the noise of churning water as 57 yachts came straight at them and the motor drive on his Nikon cranked away.
|A Jonathan Eastland photographic classic - startline action in the first race of the 1979 Admiral's Cup|
By comparison, and notwithstanding the ever present strong winds throughout the regatta, the following days seemed fairly tame. The dory was again used to scoot around the Solent during the second inshore race - a very windy affair that brought with it Vanguard’s classic broach series and Midnight Sun's near knockdown (above).
|Part of the Vanguard broach series|
|US yacht Sidewinder bashes her way out of the Solent after the start of the Channel Race in the 1985 Admiral's Cup|
|The maxi yacht Drum seen her after the start of the 1985 Fastnet Race|
This post is based on an article 'Rough Going' by Jonathan Eastland (copyright 26 August 2013). My thanks to Jonathan for sharing these recollections, which give some idea of some of what is sometimes involved when yachting photographers set out to catch those great shots that we can all enjoy.