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Ryan Borne


Behind the Shot

The J Class is an extraordinary category of sailing yachts. The original fleet of 10 boats was constructed in the early 1930s to compete in America’s Cup races. While these beauties boasted sleek lines and the most advanced sailing technology at the time, they proved too extravagant for the era. Several of them were scrapped for metal during World War II, and others were abandoned.

A few of the J Class yachts survived or were salvaged and rebuilt as modern-day racers. Replicas have been created, but only a handful of the original boats endures. If you get the opportunity to view a J Class sailboat in action, you’ll witness a massive vessel bred for racing. Strikingly handsome, their races are a thrill a minute and always a fight to the finish. 

In 2022 Ryan Borne captured this dynamic image of two J Class yachts approaching the finish line of the St Barths Bucket Regatta. He took this action shot from a chase boat using a Canon 1DX Mark II camera with a 400mm telephoto lens.

“I love the strong, dramatic effect that the lines of this shot convey—the sharpness of the sails cutting through the air,” says Ryan. “I like photographing sailboats. It’s kind of a game, a hunt. You have to position yourself and wait for them to come and hope you get that special angle or maneuver or catch the sails at a particular position. I really enjoy it.”

Sailing regattas provide the canvas for some of the most spectacular sports images, and this one takes the viewer into the intensity, movement and passion of yacht racing.