"Behind the Lens" Part 3 Intrum Justitia 1993/4 Whitbread Race

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Published 16:35 on 30 Mar 2020

Whitbread 60 Intrum Justitia.This main shot was taken in the Southern Ocean, well to the south or Tasmania on leg three of the 1993/4 Whitbread, Fremantle to Auckland

I came on watch just as dawn was breaking.Before I took over the spinnaker trim I shot about 6 frames looking forward into the dawn light.It was blowing 45 knots and the waves were pretty big. In my calendar caption from 1995 I wrote that Yamaha and New Zealand Endeavour were in sight with a deep reefed main and small jib and NZE had storm tri-sail and storm jib, we had one reef and a storm spinnaker.(I am not sure of the accuracy of this, Paul, Timmy, Bo?)

This was the day we set the World 24 hour distance record covering 428nm in 24hours an average speed 17.83kts.It doesn't sound that much by today's standards and it shows how much faster the boats have now got.The record for a Volvo Ocean Race boat today is 588.1nm set by Akzo Nobel in the last race and Alex Thompson on Hugo Boss has done 539.71nm single handed.

The 1993/4 race was the first Whitbread race where the boats carried Satellite units but only for transmitting low res video and voice, in 1993 digital still cameras were still far away.I was pushing the technology to send still pictures back from the southern ocean so I took a film processing tank, developer and fixing fluids and a small Nikon Coolscan onboard.It was high risk as there was a serious chance of loosing the whole film just trying to process the film onboard.With the camera in a black sack to get the film out of the camera and into the developing talk I took over the galley to add the chemicals.The boat stank of ammonia and fix, the hatch slammed open and Lawrie Smith came dripping down the companionway saying "What the f**k are you doing Rick! He went aft shaking his head.Getting the film to dry was pretty hard in the damp salty environment.But I still had to scan the negative.With a lot of help from navigator Marcel van Triest we would hold the scanner in our hands to stop it jumping as we slammed into the waves.We then managed to get a connection and send a picture off the boat via the satellite link but it took over an hour per picture to send.Marcel was a great co-conspirator and I couldn't have done it without his help. We joked that it was easier to get a picture back from the moon than it was from the southern ocean.

While writing this post I realised that in yesterdays post about The Card I forgot to mention the camera on a Kite! I will come back to that.

You can see more Whitbread shots on https://www.rick-tomlinson.com/gallery/11041 738479 1080x 738491 1080x 738475 1080x 738477 1080x 738481 1080x 738483 1080x 738485 1080x 738489 1080x 738493 1080x 738473 1080x

Last updated 12:04 on 13 April 2020

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