The ILYA X-Boat Championship comes to Pewaukee.

I was approached by the Pewaukee Yacht Club to produce videos covering the ILYA X-Boat Championship happening at PYC in July, 2018. The Inland Yachting Association is an organization of yacht clubs across the nation who coordinate regattas and other events. The X-Boat Championship is a youth contest, run in Melges x-class sailboats. As a newly-minted FAA certified commercial drone pilot, I jumped on this opportunity to practice my skills.

Shoot, edit, shoot, edit, present, repeat.

PYC was looking for recap videos for two days of racing in Pewaukee, WI. Their main purpose was social media, and they asked me to focus on getting sail numbers and kids in the boats, so they would be excited when they saw themselves on screen. Due to the nature of sailing, flying a drone was the best option. I flew my Mavic Pro close and tight, relying on the built-in proximity sensors to avoid running into a sail or mast.

Tight deadlines, small batteries, and long hours on the water.

Covering a sailboat regatta by drone is no easy feat. Taking off and landing from a moving boat is difficult, and I had to resort to taking off while holding the drone, and catching it when it lands. Since drone batteries give only about 20 minutes of flight time, I had to strategize when to take off and what to cover during my limited time in the air. I had to organize and rotate my batteries very strategically, charge when I could, and ensure that I captured what I needed.

Daily deliverables.

PYC requested a recap video to show each evening after a full day of sailing, which meant every moment I wasn’t out on the water I was in the club editing. On both days I would arrive at the club an hour before the first race, submit a flight notification to the local airport, build my camera gimbal, inspect and prepare the drone, and meet with my boat driver. We would go out and cover the 3-4 races that would go until lunch, I would then head back to the club and empty my SD cards, charge batteries as much as I could, and begin importing footage into Adobe Premiere. After the 1-2 afternoon races I would edit until it was finished, about three hours.

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