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Posted by on Sep 15, 2010 in Sailboat, US |

Video: Conanicut Island from the Cockpit of a Wooden Boat

Through video, even an amateur can capture the special atmosphere of a perfect day on the water.

It’s not often a wife gets to do her husband’s job, but that’s exactly what happened last Saturday when I took on the role of sailing videographer. (See “Video for Weekends Afloat: Capture the Moment” for the set-up to this article.)

Between the boom and the coaming, the view forward from aboard the author's Herreshoff Marlin

Between the boom and the coaming, the view forward from aboard the author's Herreshoff Marlin

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never be in the same league as Paul; he’s a professional, while I could barely keep track of turning the camera on and off during the day. But in the spirit of sacrificing quality for education, I took charge of documenting our six-hour circumnavigation of Jamestown, Rhode Island.  For one entire day, I was the one letting go of the tiller to reach for the camera every time a potential “scene” developed.  I was the one more concerned with spray on the lens than with our speed through the waves.  And (I hate to admit), I was the one who wanted to get back to the mooring so we could rush ashore and look at the footage – a mindset I’d never before understood.

Fortunately, Paul likes to steer even more than I do, so he enjoyed his role as boat captain and movie star. We took advantage of Saturday’s northeast breeze to sail around Conanicut Island, a nine-mile stretch of land that most people know as the connector between the Newport and Jamestown Bridges. The island separates the East and West Passages of Narragansett Bay, and inspecting every inch of its coastline was an all-day adventure on our Herreshoff Marlin.

Islands can only truly be appreciated from the water, and perhaps because I was documenting as well as savoring our sail, I saw our home turf through different eyes.  I’ve been sailing on Narragansett Bay for 20 years, but I’d never realized how geologically varied the Conanicut Island coastline is.  It’s hard to believe that the sheer gray rock cliffs greeting sailors in East Passage are part of the same island as the green hills rolling down to the water at the northwest corner.  Human density varies widely as well; the bustling downtown waterfront of East Ferry (see a very cool 360-degree panorama) feels completely different than our pastoral West Ferry, only one mile away by road.

I am deeming my weekend video experiment a success. An hour and a bit of editing in iMovie turned 11 minutes of footage into a 54-second video short that will soothe my sailing soul through the cabin-fever months. Paul’s only comment on the end result was to suggest different music that would better match the pace of the footage.  Because my options were limited (I confined myself to what was legally available for free), I stuck with my original choice; see what you think.

Paul Cronin, with video camera

Paul Cronin, with video camera

Along with capturing a special day, I also learned a new respect for Paul’s camera skills; most of my footage was too shaky to be useable.  And I’ve gained a fresh perspective on the island we call home. Best of all, I’ve discovered that even a professional videographer goes all goofy when the camera turns on him.

Fortunately for our marriage, I edited that part out.

Editor’s Note: As noted above, “Video for Weekends Afloat: Capture the Moment” preceded this article and offers 7 great tips for your video efforts on the water. Upload a video about your own boating experience and you’ll be eligible to win a boat, outboard, and trailer.  Details and entry form at Tap Into Summer.



  1. Video for Weekends Afloat: Capture the Moment | Blog - [...] week I’ll put some of my ideas into action and share the result. In the meantime, upload a simple …