Behind the Scenes: Behind the Lens

10 October 2019

Ever wondered who films and shoots the incredible vision and photos on board the Clipper 70s? Let us introduce you to the people behind the lens.

IMAGE: OBR Daniela Devine during the North Pacific crossing the Clipper 2017-18 Race.

For the second consecutive edition of the Clipper Race, it’s an all-female media team on board the yachts; Cherie Bridges, who will be doing the full 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation; fellow Brit Daniela Devine, who will be doing Legs 1, 2, 7, and 8; and Frenchwoman Maeva Bardy, who will be on board for Legs 3, 4, and 5.

There’s no typical day in the life of a Clipper Race On Board Reporter (OBR). No matter the weather, sea state, or time of day, the three talented cinematographers will cover every moment, the highs and the lows, of the 40,000 nautical mile race around the world. Through Official Satellite Communications Supplier AST, the OBRs send back images and vision daily in order to show what life is really like racing across the world’s oceans.

IMAGE: OBR Cherie Bridges on Punta del Este in the Doldrums.

Cherie, the round the world OBR, is currently crossing the Atlantic Ocean on board Punta del Este, after racing aboard Unicef in the opening race from London to Portimão. The award winning cinematographer, who previously worked for Greenpeace, says of the adventure: “It’s definitely not easy having a Clipper 70 for an office! Living at a 40 degree angle makes even the smallest things an enormous effort. You are shooting, editing, sleeping, eating, in a very compact space. Keeping your kit dry, working and in the same place you left it... can be a nightmare.

“It becomes even harder in rough weather! We recently skirted a cyclone off the coast of Senegal, and the crew were seasick, soaked through, and sleep deprived. But your office is still your office, even whilst being blown around in 40 knots of wind. I love the challenge of it all, and the beauty of not knowing what will happen next.”

IMAGE: Cherie captured the approaching Tropical Storm Lorenzo on board Punta del Este.

While documenting the adventures of the 700 non-professional sailors taking on the race of their lives has its challenges, Cherie wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.

“I have an endless love for the ocean, and the freedom that comes with living on it. The weather rules all, and you can go from cat-napping on a sail bag to fighting reefing lines in the middle of a squall within minutes.”

Cherie adds: “You also form such meaningful connections with the other crew members. There is no wifi, no tv, no 21st century distractions interrupting your conversations. You very quickly become a family, helping each other out in any way you can. Being able to capture these incredible people develop into fantastic sailors is a pure privilege.”

IMAGE: Big conditions captured by Cherie during Unicef's Bay of Biscay crossing.

Someone who knows all too well the thrill of covering the Clipper Race is Daniela Devine. Daniela covered the full eleven month circumnavigation during the 2017-18 edition of the race, and has returned to do four out of the eight legs in this edition, adding another 20,000 nautical miles to her logbook. She is on board Imagine your Korea for Leg 2 to Punta del Este and says: “Itʼs really difficult to express the exhilaration of filming a big sail change in rough weather, water crashing over the deck, the bow ploughing down into the waves, clinging on to the guard rail when itʼs just too wet to keep facing forward and the pure relief from the crew when itʼs finally done!

IMAGE: Daniela at work on board Qingdao during the opening race of the Clipper 2019-20 Race.

“Iʼm really in a privileged position that I get to be in these incredibly remote places filming people as they achieve these awesome things and I absolutely love learning about whatʼs got them to this point. And thatʼs what the job is really about, the people and the stories behind the sailing and thatʼs really whatʼs brought me back.”

Daniela adds: “Last week, the Imagine your Korea team and I crowded in the Nav Station to watch the GPS flick past 0 as we crossed the equator. It’s something Iʼve already seen twice but it just doesnʼt lose itʼs magic. Itʼs a bit smelly and there are challenges, sure, but my ‘officeʼ is a race boat crossing oceans, and thatʼs so awesome.”