My location photography has seen quite a contrast over the past month, the varying weather (typically unpredictable British Summer) and moving from the relative calm of the Thames, following rowing boats in the 50 foot long, wooden decked Umpire Launches at Henley Royal Regatta, to bouncing around in an inflatable, high speed rib on the turbulent waters of the Solent and Falmouth. This battering on the high seas is all to do with a documentary film project I am co-producing about the yacht Mariquita, one of the yachts taking part in the classic circuit, of which Westward Cup and Pendennis Cup regattas comprise the UK leg, with others planned in and around the Mediterranean later this summer. Although Mariquita is the focus of the project there were a host of other fantastic yachts racing alongside her from old to new with ages ranging from 1904 to 2010.

The 19 meter yacht Mariquita was originally made in 1911 and raced alongside contemporary yachts of the era until the world wars all but ended the heyday of the classic yacht racing scene. Many of the yachts disappeared, either broken up and salvaged to play a part in the war effort or simply left to rot in the shallows of an out of the way harbour. Luckily for Mariquita she was not dismantled for parts and was rescued in 1991 from her mud berth in Pin Mill shipyard on the east coast of England in a poor state of repair. A huge restoration took place in 2001 and she was re-launched in 2004 fully restored (right down to the last detail), since then she has been racing in classic events for craft of her type around Europe in numerous locations including Cowes, Falmouth, Ayrshire (Fife Regatta), Ajaccio, Antibes, Barcelona, Palma, Mahon, Monaco, Cannes and St Tropez.

As well as restoring Mariquita as a craft, the way she was sailed back in 1911 is continued today and completes the authenticity of such an endeavour. Every operation on the boat is done without the aid of powered mechanisms, teams of people are required to hoist sails and man winches, it retains the need for teamwork in order to sail her successfully and is an attribute the well drilled crew carry out brilliantly. It has been great meeting and getting to know the crew and owners of Mariquita, particularly watching them deal with the sometimes challenging and physically demanding conditions of the UK as they battle it out with their contemporaries, certainly this summer has had more than it’s share of rain-fall and high winds…hopefully it’ll be done by the time they continue the race circuit in the Mediterranean (and the Olympics start here in the UK!).

Special thanks to Alexander Creswell (Architectural and Marine watercolour painter) for his hospitality in Falmouth. Completion of the film is due towards the end of the year.



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