Yann Riou: Drone master. 🙂

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Yann Riou: Drone master. 🙂

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Her name is Gitana 17 (aka Maxi Edmond de Rothschild). She’s 105…

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Her name is Gitana 17 (aka Maxi Edmond de Rothschild). She’s 105 feet long, took 20 months to build, and she can fly.

I don’t know what the immediate plans are. But if they can avoid hitting anything or flipping over, someone’s going to need to buff up a spot on the base of the Jules Verne Trophy.

Source: “Premières fois”, Episode 3 : 1er vol du Maxi Edmond de Rothschild

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Spindrift 2 rounding Cape Horn.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Spindrift 2 rounding Cape Horn.

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Spindrift 2, Cape Horn, December 22, 2015. Source.

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Spindrift 2, Cape Horn, December 22, 2015. Source.

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Spindrift 2 is around Cape Horn and heading north into the…

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Spindrift 2 is around Cape Horn and heading north into the Atlantic. They’re 30 days out from Ushant, with 15 days left to get back to the start/finish line. IDEC and Banque Pop’s ghost are still on the Pacific side, so it’s looking hopeful for the record as long as the weather cooperates.

Winds were light for the rounding, which meant Yann Riou was able to fly the drone. There’s a great shot of Yann (usually invisible behind the camera) as it comes in for a landing. And I’m pretty sure that’s Dongfeng alumnus Thomas Rouxel catching it.

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Day 21

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Day 21

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Spindrift 2 heading south in the Atlantic on November 25, 2015….

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Spindrift 2 heading south in the Atlantic on November 25, 2015. Drone footage by on-board media crewman Yann Riou. Source.

As of December 4 at 1600 UTC, Spindrift 2 is in the Southern Ocean heading east, 233 miles ahead of the pace set in 2012 by the previous record-holder for the fastest sailing circumnavigation in history.

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Sam was a good replacement, but I’m so glad Yann is back on…

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Sam was a good replacement, but I’m so glad Yann is back on Dongfeng as OBR.

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Cheesy editing and soundtrack, but I’m happy about the…

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Cheesy editing and soundtrack, but I’m happy about the news that Yann will be back as Dongfeng’s OBR on leg 5. Sam did a great job as his replacement for the last two legs, though.

Pascal will be returning as navigator in place of Erwan Israel, and Irish superstar sailor Damien Foxall will join the crew, replacing Thomas Rouxell.

There will be two Chinese sailors on leg 5, Yang Jiru (Wolf), and one other to be named by the time of the Auckland in-port race on March 14. Chen Jin Hao (Horace) was skipper Charles Caudrelier’s first choice, but apparently Horace has a health issue that is still being evaluated.

More here: Dongfeng Crew Changes.

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I love how Yann moves the camera, how he puts the viewer in the…

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

I love how Yann moves the camera, how he puts the viewer in the middle of the action.

Best. OBR. Ever.

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Brian Carlin will probably win the 1,000-Euro prize they give to…

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Brian Carlin will probably win the 1,000-Euro prize they give to the best OBR for each leg (again, after winning already for Leg 1), because of the amazing work he did documenting the grounding and subsequent salvage operation on Vestas Wind. And he deserves it; that footage is amazing.

But under any other circumstances, it would be a crime if it didn’t go to Yann Riou on Dongfeng. His videos are beautiful mini-documentaries of life aboard. This one, uploaded today, focuses on the events of last night (Friday, December 5 – Saturday, December 6), in the course of which it sounds like the crew was in all-hands-on-deck mode pretty much all night, making numerous sail changes in a series of squalls and intervening light winds.

By the end of the night their hard work (and some luck) had paid off, and Dongfeng was leading nearby rival Brunel. And since ADOR’s Azzam, to the west, had a trickier time exiting the doldrums, Dongfeng now has the overall lead as they head into the strengthening northeasterlies of the Arabian Sea.

I love the video not just because it captures that pivotal moment. It’s that it does such a good job of showing what it’s like racing at night in changeable conditions.

Growing up sailing in Southern California, the offshore races were almost always decided at night. That’s when the wind would die and get really shifty, and the experienced crews knew to push hard, fighting through the disorientation and fatigue, while the less-experienced crews inevitably eased up and fell behind. And for all the reasons that it’s hard to race a boat in those conditions, it must be just as hard, or harder, to make a video that conveys what that’s like.

Yann did that here.

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I’ve become a huge fan of Dongfeng on-board reporter Yann…

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

I’ve become a huge fan of Dongfeng on-board reporter Yann Riou. At 40 he’s by far the oldest OBR in the fleet; Brunel’s Stefan Coppers is 32, while the rest are 30 or younger.

Partly I think it’s my fantasy of sailing on the boats myself, and my recognition that at 52 I can’t credibly picture myself working the foredeck (which I did in my competitive sailing days) or navigating (which I also did, and for which being 52 actually wouldn’t be a disqualification, except I lack the extensive experience in long-distance offshore navigation that I’d need). And since I’ve spent most of my professional life doing media/Webbish-related things, my subconscious tends to slot me in as OBR.

So Yann is the closest thing to a “me” viewpoint character in the race, and I probably like him more than I otherwise would because of that.

But mostly I like him because he’s awesome. At least for me, his videos are consistently the most interesting and engaging.

He has a point of view that he gets across, but as a director he’s mostly invisible. Other OBRs are more obviously present in their video segments. Corinna on SCA feels tentative. Her viewpoint is frequently anchored in the hatchway. it feels like the point of view of a novice trying to stay out of the way. Brian on Vestas makes himself the star, pushing the Irish wit and charm in a way that is fun, certainly, but which doesn’t work as well for me as Yann’s serious, self-effacing documentary work.

More than any other OBR, Yann is out there in the action. He puts the camera in the right spot, getting close to the sailors as they’re doing their jobs. For their part they seem used to it; they just ignore him and go on with what they’re doing. Which works great for someone like me who cares more about what’s actually happening than about jokey things like how much the OBR’s boots smell.

It’s not all action shots, though. Yann also does a wonderful job capturing the human stories on the boat, as he does in this video about Dongfeng’s newest, youngest crewmember, Black (Liu Xue).

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Gybing Dongfeng – Source On October 30 Dongfeng’s OBR,…

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Gybing Dongfeng – Source

On October 30 Dongfeng’s OBR, Yann Riou, uploaded one of my favorite videos from Leg 1. Mostly it’s about language, the difficulty of communicating on a boat where the only shared language is English and no one speaks it natively.

Toward the end of the video is this 16-second shot of them gybing. I loved it when I first saw it, and when I used the tracker to try to figure out when it took place I loved it even more.

The video was shot on the afternoon of October 27, around 15:20 UTC, when Dongfeng was 350 miles off the coast of Brazil. How can I be sure? Because in the six days between leaving the doldrums and entering the Saint Helena high, Dongfeng only gybed twice: This gybe, from port to starboard, and again two hours later, from starboard back to port.

Which means this quiet ballet, broken only by the call of “gybing” from the helm as the gennaker comes through and a curt “go” from one of the grinders, was necessarily a one-take kind of thing.

I’ve always been a sucker for a nice tracking shot.

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