Reader Stories: Capturing the grace of competition in the European Youth Sailing Championships

by Guest Contributor

posted Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 4:07 PM EDT


By IR reader René Theuillon

From July 2nd to 9th, the Laser 4.7 sailing European youth championships took place in Morgat, a little harbor located in the peninsula of Crozon, western France. This important event concentrates the official sailing teams of the different nations of Western and Eastern Europe, extended to many other countries such as Turkey, Russia or Israel for example.

The nationality of the competitors can be seen in the sails by a mark showing the first three letters of the country (GRE for Greece,  MON for Monaco, SUI for Switzerland, POL for Poland and so on). The Laser 4.7 is a small dinghy designed by Bruce Kirby (Canada) with a length of 4.23 meters and a sail plan of 4.7 square meters (for young people). It is rigged in cat-boat (one main sail and no jib) to be single handed.

The purpose of this article is not to report the sporting facts which occurred during the numerous regattas, I am just a hobbyist and I leave that job to the accredited photojournalists, but this event provides the opportunity to shoot a lot of pictures of the little things happening all around, in the manner of a street photographer .

The races are run all the day long in the middle of the bay, but in the evening, the different flotillas converge to the harbor, in order to land on the slip of the pier. Arriving in shallow waters, the competitors  jump in the water not to hit the bottom and damage the hull.


The boats are loaded on trailers and pulled out of water, to be parked on the pier, but the traffic jam produces a sympathetic confusion of sails and hulls.


After the race, the hulls are washed and carefully polished to be fast in the water for the regattas of the next day.


During the awards ceremony, I have been fortunate enough to approach the laureates and to make some close portraits. And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am glad to proclaim that this year's winners are:

Anouk GEURTS from Belgium : Girl Youth European Champion

Dimitris PAPADIMITRIOU from Greece : Boy Youth European Champion

This competition was run in a very fair spirit and with excellent organization. It’s stimulating to look at these young faces, full of happiness and pride, wrapped in the flag of their country and smiling to their parents and friends.


Additional technical notes:

I used a FUJI XE1 camera fitted with the  FUJINON  50 – 230 mm  1:4.5 – 6.7  plastic lens and I choose to operate at 400 ISO using the VELVIA emulation. This is not a quite recent gear but it’s new for me and I have appreciated the accuracy of the exposure metering  : it’s not easy to shoot competitors dressed in black clothes, in white boats, under white sails, in full sun. The XE1 did the job. The rendering is near that obtained in film cameras, with a good restitution of the volumes in portraits (in French we call that characteristic the “modelé”), the pictures being not so flat as we use to see in over-processed digital cameras.

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(Thanks yet again René for another interesting look at your part of the world!)

See more Reader Stories by René Theuillon

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Canon 7D with EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II
(25 seconds / f/2.8 / 16mm / ISO 250 / manual exposure)