Each year, the Festival of Sails attracts lovers of the sport from across the globe. Californian photographer Mary Longpre is a great fan of the event and has visited almost every year since 2007.
Her high-action images ensure world-wide coverage for the Festival of Sails, appearing in US newspapers and websites in the US and Australia.
During her stay in the country, Mary with her husband, Bob like to get out and explore and in recent years she has covered the Sydney Hobart, Hamilton Race Week and Airlie Race Week but admits the sailing events out of Melbourne and Geelong are her favourite.
At home, Mary competes in Performance Handicapped Formula races with an all-female crew. She races a couple of boats but mainly a Santana 30/30 built by WD Schock Boats in California. Named Valentine, the boat was a gift from her husband 31 years ago.
Mary credits her racing experience for her skill with the camera. She shares her images with clubs and competitors across the globe, including nearly 30 years at the Newport to Ensenada Races, the largest International Yacht Race in the world, nine America’s Cups as well as the America’s Cup Jubilee in Cowes in 2001, the America’s Cup World Series in Bermuda and the Lake Garda Races in Italy.
As the official photographer for the International Junior Match Racing Championships held in Newport Beach, California, each year, she has watched many young sailors go onto become world class sailors, including America’s Cup skippers and crews.
Mary says she treasures the friends and people she has met in Geelong and Melbourne and really feels at home while staying there: “Your weather is very much like ours in Southern California just at opposite times of the year. It is nice to come to summer in the middle of our winter.”