Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Capsized ships and battered rigs: Incredible racing images from the sea

By Sheena McKenzie, CNN
December 13, 2012 -- Updated 1222 GMT (2022 HKT)
Malta photographer Kurt Arrigo leaned out of a helicopter to capture this stunning picture of the Rolex Volcano Race, winner of the World Yacht Racing Forum Image of the Year competition. Malta photographer Kurt Arrigo leaned out of a helicopter to capture this stunning picture of the Rolex Volcano Race, winner of the World Yacht Racing Forum Image of the Year competition.
HIDE CAPTION
World's best sailing photo
Second place
Third place
Fourth place
Fifth place
Stunning sunset
Breathtaking views
Hairy moments
Storm brewing
Vast ocean
Battling the elements
Sea spray
Point of view
Tide turn
Picture perfect
Serious sailing
Filmic photos
Water works
Drama on the seas
A difficult job
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Malta photographer Kurt Arrigo wins World Yacht Racing Forum Image of the Year
  • Picture of competitors in Rolex Volcano Race praised by judges for originality
  • Fifth annual competition only open to professional photographers
  • Judges included Olympic gold medalists Shirley Robertson and Ben Ainslie

Editor's note: MainSail is CNN's monthly sailing show, exploring the sport of sailing, luxury travel and the latest in design and technology.

(CNN) -- A line of sailors teeter on the edge of a giant yacht, peering down at the blazing orange island reflected on its lurching hull.

The sailboat slices through the gray Mediterranean, passing the Italian island of Capri at just the right moment to catch a dazzling silhouette on its exposed underbelly.

It's an incredible image, captured by Malta photographer Kurt Arrigo as he leaned out of a low-flying helicopter during the Rolex Volcano Race earlier this year.

Arrigo has just been named winner of the prestigious World Yacht Racing Forum Image of the Year competition in Gothenburg, Sweden, chosen from an elite pool of internationally renowned sailing photographers.

Top Olympic sailor embraces new venture
Maxi yachts compete in Sardinia

Arrigo said of the winning picture: "The weather had been bad all day, but the sun suddenly came out for a short while."

"We were leaving the area but I asked the pilot of the helicopter to fly back briefly over the leading boat -- that's when I took this photograph."

Veteran racing photographer Christian Février said the image would have been impossible 20 years ago, as film cameras would have struggled to capture a yacht racing so quickly with the same stunning level of clarity.

"The reflection at twilight in the hull was interesting. But the importance of the crew creates a second point of interest," he said of the lauded image.

Read: Dangling on the edge -- Life of daredevil photographer

The fifth annual competition, sponsored by Mirabaud & Cie Private Bankers, is only open to professional photographers, this year attracting 46 of the best racing images from 2012.

The spectacular photos captured some of the biggest events in the sailing calendar, from brutal waves bombarding competitors in the America's Cup to the festive atmosphere of the London Olympics.

Competitors were judged on technical elements such as clarity, lighting, composition, and also originality.

"If you look at the images, hardly any could be taken by someone who's not heavily involved in the industry," Bernard Schopfer, one of the organizers of the event, said.

Very often you have to be hanging out of a helicopter or be on board in violent conditions
Bernard Schopfer, World Yacht Racing Forum Image of the Year co-organizer

"Very often you have to be hanging out of a helicopter with no door or on board the racing boat in extremely violent conditions. It's also an investment to have the right equipment that can withstand the salt water."

Read: The old man and the sea -- 73-year-old to sail solo around world

The impressive images were whittled down to the top five by delegates from the World Yacht Racing Forum. The difficult task of choosing a winner was then decided by a panel of industry heavyweights.

Judges included two-time sailing Olympic gold medalist and CNN Main Sail broadcaster Shirley Robertson.

Ben Ainslie, who won his fourth sailing Olympic gold at London 2012, also sat on the panel, adding that the moving photographs had "paid a great tribute to the variety and richness of the sport of sailing."

Arrigo, who has already published two photography books on his native Malta, was awarded a trophy at the event.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
MainSail
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
Like "Downton Abbey," Henley's Royal Regatta reminds its visitors of an England of old. But for how much longer?
June 17, 2014 -- Updated 2339 GMT (0739 HKT)
VO65 'Dongfeng' Training in Hong Kong
Nine months at sea, one change of clothes, freeze-dried food and a strange language. Could you cope?
June 11, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Can a $134 million budget and the royal seal of approval bring the coveted America's Cup back to British shores for the first time in sailing history?
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
Bored of lounging on your superyacht in the Mediterranean? An increasing number of millionaires are now sailing their luxury vessels to the ends of the Earth, to get their kicks.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1613 GMT (0013 HKT)
He's one of the great landscape artists, but JMW Turner also had a watery passion -- and his maritime travels are being retraced.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1022 GMT (1822 HKT)
How do you get a foot on the property ladder, when you live in one of the most expensive cities in the world? The answer may lie in the water...
May 6, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
Quadriplegic yachtswoman Hilary Lister was saved from suicide through the sport of sailing. Now she is plotting a voyage across the Atlantic.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1058 GMT (1858 HKT)
The financial titans of the world don't just require service par excellence -- they demand superheroes at their beck and call.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 0921 GMT (1721 HKT)
The Maltese Falcon makes a swift turn while at sea.
How do you design a superyacht fit for the billionaire who has everything money can buy?
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Meet the Lamborghini supercar yacht. To her owner, she's a $1 million dream machine. To others, she's a monstrosity. You decide.
March 25, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Love the movie? Now you can charter the superyacht -- if you can stump up $125,000 a week.
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1138 GMT (1938 HKT)
It's like a stunt from the latest James Bond movie, only this isn't a movie and there is no safety harness.
ADVERTISEMENT