WANTED: Onboard reporters for sport’s greatest adventure.
Dauntless, creative, tireless, dynamic story-tellers needed for one of the greatest jobs in the media Business. Experience in Sailing? None required, but as an Onboard Reporter in the Volvo Ocean Race you will have to produce outstanding work while being buffeted by the wind, ravaged by cold, and slammed by waves, thousands of miles from land. – Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015 Job Ad.
Sailing 20 days and covering 5,500 nautical miles on a 70-foot boat. Seven guys, six nationalities, five languages and one girl… with a lens.
When I applied for an on-board reporter position with the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015, I figured I’d better get some more experience doing off-shore sailing. My chance came with the delivery of one of the 70-foot Volvo Ocean Race boats, Maserati, from Honolulu to the Philippines. I was the only female amongst a crew of seven men, hailing from six different countries, speaking 5 different languages. This meant far more than simply living for twenty days aboard a lightweight, bare-bones boat built for racing instead of comfort. It meant being a fully-functioning member of the crew, no toilet, no refrigerator and one-pot meals—all the while, focused on the task of documenting the experience as a photo-journalist. That’s what I came here for and I could not lose sight of it, rain or shine, calm or storm.
There wasn’t a lot of time for rest, as you might imagine, but sleep is overrated and the rewards were immense.
I viewed this project as a personal tryout. Before I left I had talked to a few colleagues who were media crew in the last Volvo Ocean Race and learned about the realities of the job. Those conversations would have scared away any sane individual but they had the opposite effect on me. The more I heard, the more intrigued I became, so I decided that I had to see for myself and answer the question: Do I have what it takes?
I expected bashing through waves, getting knocked about, holding on for dear life lest I get swept overboard, or standing in the spray that shoots off the bow as the boat planes downwind and hits the working crew with the intensity of a fire hose. But to my surprise, the reality was quite different. No one told me what smooth sailing looks and feels like on these boats.
Of course, there were some rough and windy days, rich in visually enticing moments with the physical aspect taking center stage. But I was not prepared for the time when seemingly nothing exciting was happening on that 70-foot boat. With an often feeble breeze and plenty of sunshine, time was melting away slowly with only a few breaks in the routine: a new cloud formation here, a wind shift there, and little else to distinguish one day from the next. But as I sat and watched, I began to see the playful side of grown men as they tried to beat the ennui and found ways to pass the time while having fun. I was saved by the fact that even the toughest sailors still can be children inside. They rarely show it, but when they do and don’t mind the presence of a girl with a lens, it sure is priceless.
I am a certified water baby, adventure photojournalist, storyteller, sailor, traveler, problem solver, family girl & dog lover. I specialize in adventure and sailing photojournalism. Combining action shots with human interest, I strive to show my subjects from special and surprising angles. Hence I shoot from planes, motorcycles, chase boats, in the water, up in the rig and/or with remote-controlled cameras. I left my newspaper internship at the Ventura County Star to travel around the world, covering Zac Sunderland (16), as he became the youngest solo circumnavigator in 2009. For the past four years, I have further immersed myself in the sailing lifestyle, logging more than 40,000 nautical miles and visiting more than 30 countries in the process. The ocean has played the biggest role in my growth, teaching me humility, patience, respect, the value of persistence, passion and a connection to something far bigger than myself.
Published work includes: Los Angeles Times, Omaha World Herald, Ventura County Star, ESPN, ABC Prime Time, CBS Sports, Sail Magazine, Cruising World, Soundings, Yacht, Yacht Classic, Success Magazine, Men’s Journal, Coastal Living, Life.com and Red Bull Adventure. Sailing events and Clients include: Copa Mexico/MEXORC, International Sailing Academy, MOD 70 Orion, VOR 70 Maserati, Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and 34th America’s Cup.
I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design/Visual Journalism from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and attended the Visual Journalism Program at Brooks Institute of Photography in Ventura, Calif. I am working as a full-time freelance photojournalist based in Omaha, NE. My bags are always packed and I am ready to shoot (almost) anything, anytime, anywhere.