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Round the Island yacht race. Photo © Patrick Eden

JP Morgan Round the Island Race - Patrick Eden, 2014

1 July 2014

This picture was taken on 21 June during the JP Morgan Round the Island Race. An annual event on the Isle of Wight since 1931, the race now attracts up to 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, who sail in an anti-clockwise direction round the island. The starts are staggered over about an hour and are dictated by the class and size of the boats.

My first job is to cover the early starts and come in to deliver pictures to our media base known as “The Bunker” where they are uploaded to the website and immediately distributed. I then make my way down to The Needles on the west of the island, a spectacular backdrop. As the event is now live-blogged I also send images in from the water. Once all the boats have gone through there is a mad dash back up the Solent to drop off the second batch of pictures. Then it’s down to the east to meet the boats as they come up the final leg to the finish.

I work from a large 21 foot RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) which is driven by a friend who is also an experienced yachtsman. It’s a team effort because it can get very dangerous with boats coming from all directions. I use 16-35mm, 70-200mm and 300mm f2.8 lenses on two bodies and never go out without the essential shammy leather for wiping off the spray. Of course, it’s almost impossible to keep the cameras dry but do I wear a large sailing jacket open, which can be quickly wrapped around the gear. You develop a sixth sense as to when your are about to be dumped on.

The 84th Round the Island Race is scheduled for June 2015.

Patrick Eden has been a full time photographer since 1985. Sailing features highly in his portfolio due to his location in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, his birthplace. Patrick has also worked in India, the Caribbean and the US shooting a wide variety of assignments from editorial, sport and travel to advertising and aerial. A long term documentary project of Patrick Eden’s black and white work will be exhibited next year.

See more work by Patrick Eden

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