Christophe Favreau, French photographer loves 18 foot Skiffs

Christophe Favreau, French photographer loves 18 foot Skiffs

by Frank Quealey Apr 27 2:33 PM PDT

Aerial view in San Francisco © Christophe Favreau

Two months ago, a discouraged French photographer, Christophe Favreau thought he was unlikely to travel to Sydney for the JJ Giltinan 18ft Championship in 2022 due to Covid restrictions, which were imposed on international arrivals to Australia at that time. weather.

Well, things quickly changed when Christophe’s VISA, as a highly qualified French photographer, was approved to promote the JJ Giltinan Championship as “a symbol of what the sport of sailing can be in Australia”.

Christophe came down and did his thing covering the world’s largest annual 18ft event for a leading French sailing magazine as well as video work for the international weekly program ‘Sailing World On Water’.

Invited to reflect on his visits to Australia, Christophe remembers: “I was first in 2006 because I was invited by the French team (Sefico Group, led by Christophe Orion, Philippe Vallée and Eric Caiveau).”

“They were staying with Woody and the Winnings invited me to stay with them, which made my trip extra special.”

“I was used to the European circuit but discovering the intensity of sailing an 18ft skiff in Sydney Harbor was a unique experience.”

“The 2006 JJ wasn’t very windy except for February 25, the day before I returned to France, and I was lucky enough to get a good shot of Rag and Famish flying in a good northeast.”

“It was a real eye-opener for me. Seeing these incredible machines flying through the water like this made me feel like this really was the ultimate sail.”

“I also really enjoyed the atmosphere of Class, full of real characters and intense people.”

“I came back every year after that except 2 or 3 times for personal reasons. So this year was my 14th JJ I guess…”

Having established himself in 2006 and 2007, “I was invited to San Francisco in 2008 by Howard Hamlin, who said to me, if you come, I’ll give you helicopter time.”

“Well, flying over (or under) the Golden Gate Bridge to film or film these flying machines in San Francisco Bay was a super exciting challenge and of course I came, even though it was a foggy edition where I come from to see the stack of the iconic bridge!”

“I must have come so close to 10 times I would say.”

“The 18 in San Fran is a pretty unique package, especially with the Bridge to Bridge race that takes place between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oakland Bay Bridge, and brings together all types of fast sailboats, including foils such as kites and windsurfing boards.”

“Howie has won it a few times I guess…”

Obviously, Europe was the first time he started following the 18-year-old. “I started following the European circuit in 2005. It was quite active at the time and we regularly had fleets of around 15 and 20 boats.

“Destinations I particularly remember were Campione Del Garda in Italy and Carnac in France. Two amazing spots. Sonderborg in Denmark was pretty amazing too. Six-Fours in the south of France in 2007 was also a great place.”

“The European circuit I followed was really exciting and full of enthusiasts who together formed a very friendly international family, brought together by a taste for extreme sailing.”

“Having Australians and Americans join regularly has also been of great value to the circuit which is still ongoing.”

Asked about visiting in 2022, “This trip has surely been the wettest I’ve been on…and I’ve been coming almost every year since 2006. Two years ago it was massive fires, now heavy rain and floods! Australia is definitely a land of extremes! Of course I’m hoping for better weather in 2023 but this year has also been a source of dramatic footage from 18ft under severe storms which is always spectacular.”

Despite the weather, the results produced by Heinrich Von Bayern and the Martin brothers must surely have been pleasing. “It was great to see the Germans performing the way they did. The international pandemic made the presence of foreign teams very low this year as there was only one other team from Denmark on JJ Giltinan. ”

“I like to see that we are still able to be competitive in Europe and that the European circuit is still alive.”

“I would like the San Francisco event to come back too because it is surely one of the best regattas for 18ft sculls, in such an iconic and windy place. For me, 18ft are made for racing in very special places like Sydney Harbour, Lake Garda in Italy, Quiberon Bay in France… I rode the international circuit when it was at its best and it was amazing.”

Christophe’s photography is extensive. “The beauty of photography is that you can work on endless subjects. Although I’m really focused on sailing, I also like portraits and architecture too. Landscapes are also very nice to shoot because they are usually related to traveling and discovering new places.”

Looking at your photographs, you obviously have good feelings about the Sydney Opera House. “Sure. The Sydney Opera House is probably Australia’s most well-known icon. I really love this building which gives the city its identity, makes it very special. And it looks like full spinnakers from certain angles , which gives iconic sailing plans opportunities when you can put ships in frame with the Opera.”

The Australian 18ft community loves to see Christophe back in Sydney every year and hopefully, with the worst of the pandemic behind us, the 2023 JJ Giltinan Championship will return to the pre-Covid era.

The local fleet now includes great international talent, young and experienced, ready to take on any challengers from other Australian states, traditional rivals from New Zealand and the best from Europe.

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