by Peter Carruthers
INTEGRAL to every great event are the people behind the lens that capture the action and immortalise the scene forever.
Airlie Beach Race Week has long had the backing of some of the best image makers in the business and this year is no exception.
Multi-award winning Sydney-based photographer Andrea Francolini has been capturing on and off water images around the world for almost two decades.
Specialised in the nautical industry, with over 180 cover shots to his name, he has covered the biggest regattas on the planet.
Be it a dinghy or multimillion dollar super yacht, if it floats there is a good chance that Andrea has photographed it.
His imagery, which has a specific action-packed style, has been heavily published in the southern hemisphere in the past decade. A mix of on water, in the water and aerial photography are the ways Andrea shows the variety of how he of sees sailing.
Meanwhile Airlie Beach Race Week's principal land-based photographer is Vampp Photography's Andrew Pattinson.
Andrew has built a reputation as "the event photographer” in the Whitsundays, as the official photographer of the Reef Festival and the Airlie Beach Festival of Music.
Andrew returns to Airlie Beach Race Week this year to officially document all the on-shore action.
The final official photographer on duty at Race Week is Shirley Woodson.
Shirley is a long established yachting photographer, having served as the official photographer of the Townsville Yacht club and the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.
She has covered the Airlie Beach Race Week and the Hamilton Island Race week for the last five years running and offers digital images for sale through her website.
Shirley said she had a love of the ocean and her passion was combining that love with the art of photography.
Chasing that adrenaline rush of capturing the perfect sailing shot is what keeps Shirley coming back year after year.
Marketing director of Airlie Beach Race Week, Adrian Bram, said there was a feeling of excitement in the Whitsunday sailing community as the largest mainland sailing event in the Whitsundays approached.