Photo of the Month: Tim Wright
We catch up with Tim Wright, the photographer behind February’s Photo of the Month. The intrepid liveaboard photographer took this shot—which our associate art director best described as “gnarly”—of the Class 40 Voiles 44 during the RORC Caribbean 600.
The Class 40 Voiles 44 during the RORC Caribbean 600. Photo: RORC/Tim Wright/www.photoaction.com
**Tell us about this shot. **
What I like about this shot is the extreme sea state, emphasized by the boat being half hidden in the trough of the wave. It was taken off the eastern tip of St. Barts at 8:30 a.m. I covered the race start from a helicopter and had it drop me off in Barbuda. I chartered a small sailboat in Antigua and had it meet me, with my RIB, in Barbuda so I could shoot the North Sails mark close to the island. After all the boats had passed, we set sail overnight to St. Barts. I transferred to the RIB at the first hint of light, and I was on station photographing the boats as soon as there was enough light to take a picture—before 7 a.m.
I’m sure a lot of sailors who race in the Caribbean have seen you out in that RIB and ask why you choose that boat!
My RIB is an 11-ft., 6-in. AB inflatable with an aluminum hull. There are numerous reasons why I prefer to work from a small RIB, which I drive myself. One is that I can carry it on the deck of my 43-ft. ketch and work with it all over the Caribbean. Another is that it is extremely maneuverable, and I can place it with precision without having to explain my intentions to a driver. It is also nice to be low down and close to the water, which is one of the reasons this shot works so well.
Photo: James Robinson Taylor/www.jrtphoto.com
Tim well-secured and shooting in St. Tropez.
How do you get in position to shoot?
My usual technique is to place myself in the path of the approaching boat and stay there taking photos as long as I dare. With a little dab of throttle I can slip out of the way at the last minute. Obviously I need a reliable engine! Another advantage of the small RIB is that it does not faze the helmsman as much as a larger boat would. I am relying on him to hold his course and trust me to get out of the way.
Any close calls out there?
It handles heavy weather surprisingly well. I have only been tipped out of a RIB once so far, and that was nearly 20 years ago with a different kind of boat. I have been caught out in 40 knots off Sardinia, but I was able to make my way home to windward by putting all my fuel containers and cameras into the bow to stop it being blown into the air and flipping. In comparison 25 knots off St. Barts is fairly routine.
What’s next for you?
I am still based on my boat most of the time. In the summer I leave it in Trinidad and go to Europe for a few regattas.
Where’s your favorite place to work?
I don't really have a favorite, although I do like Antigua and Porto Cervo (Sardinia) very much.