For whatever reason, a watchable, long-form sailing documentary is something of a unicorn. Folks say they’ve seen them, but evidence is…well, hard to come by. Sure, you can find some Gary Jobson sleep aids here and there, but clever, professionally done, enjoyable hour-plus long sailing films just don’t really exist. So, with huge thanks to Chris Fretz for the explanation below, here’s that unicorn – wrapped up in the E-Scow Nationals movie. Enjoy, and share with a passionate junior sailor you know. And for best results, share it to your big screen and watch in 1080p.
Boats that are fast enough to waterski behind and families sailing together across multiple generations may seem like incompatible ideas. But they come together nicely in the E-Scow, a 28-foot keel-free, high-powered rocketship popular in Midwest lakes and Eastern bays.
The class’s annual national championship regatta is both a high-level competition and a large-scale social reunion, as friends and families who have sailed with and against each other for decades come together for three days of intense racing and world-class partying for sailors from seven to seventy-something. It was the E-Scow class’s unique spirit that regatta organizers aimed to capture when formulating the media plan for the 2015 E-Scow National Championship, held in September at Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club in Beach Haven, NJ.
It seems like every major regatta these days raises the bar with social media coverage, live trackers and real-time streaming of the racing from drones. It is definitely an exciting time with new tools and technology capturing the sport we love. But Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club took a different tack when they hired documentary filmmaker Peter Slack to film this year’s Nationals.
No stranger to sailing, Peter grew up on Barnegat Bay in New Jersey racing scows. When he wasn’t on location filming for NatGeo or Discovery he was often on the water taking stills of the fleets that race on the bay. Peter and his crew arrived in Beach Haven on September 10th along with 59 teams from as far as Grand Lake, CO, Lake Minnetonka, MN and Augusta, GA.
The regatta concluded on September 13 with a dominating performance by Jeff Bonanni, Maggie Condon, Matt Goetting, and Mike O’Brien sailing “Limelight” for Toms River Yacht Club. They turned in a 1,1,1,1,2 and dropped a 5 for the win. Full results here. The regatta was an overwhelming success for the competitors, the class and the volunteers at Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club who made sure that the entire event was as fun as the racing.
Peter, on the other hand, was just getting started. With several handheld cameras, time-lapses cameras, drones and onboard point-of-view cameras rolling over 4 days, there was a lot of footage to work through.
On Dec 6th, Peter premiered his finished film to a packed house at Toms River Yacht Club. We couldn’t be happier with what he has done and how he has shown the sailors who make up this great class. This would not have happened without the support of sponsors and donors and for that we are thankful!
For the best reasons we ask that you set aside about 90 min, get some popcorn and a drink, maybe two, and enjoy the 2015 E-Scow Nationals .