HGTV Shoots Sailing
A young couple from Prince George County is rehabilitating a summer home in Mathews County, with views of Chesapeake Bay. The job started last March with the husband and his father doing most of the work. Now that the job is almost finished, husband Ricky is taking a break so his wife Ashley and their two young boys can go sailing on the nearby York River. They chose Let’s Go Sail, having found us through a Google search.
Therein lies the premise of an episode of HGTV’s travel and vacation series. Magilla Entertainment LLC booked Let’s Go Sail from New York and I set about securing a chase boat to shoot the wide angle scenes on the water. York River Yacht Haven accepted the offer originally but could not secure corporate approval in Texas. I turned to York County to get approval and releases to shoot at Riverwalk Landing. Kristi Olsen-Hayes, the longtime manager of tourism development, immediately saw the implications of free media and seized the opportunity. Within hours, she cut through the red tape and issued the all-important permit to film.
We met on a sunny day in the parking lot of the marina and split up for two boats. The film crew scouted different angles to attach Go Pro cameras on the boom and the spinnaker pole. Cameraman Mike Rossi roamed the boat for other live-action angles. He took time to tape over any logos for which Magilla did not have a commercial release. That included the Doyle Sail logo on the mainsail and the Nike swoosh on first mate Bonnie’s hat.
We set out to cross the river to Yorktown, with Capt. Bill Berger of South Bay Charters trailing us in his 55-foot deadrise, Southern Rock, as our chase boat. He had producer Lexi Pastore and another cameraman on board. The low, flat deck provided sturdy footing for a tripod. Capt. Berger stood offshore idling as we went into the Yorktown docks for the first filming.
At Riverwalk Landing, Capt. Sue Riley met us. The seas were kicking up two-feet waves, but inside the breakwater of the docks the water was smoother. Yorktown is a tricky port for Let’s Go Sail because at less than 10,000 pounds, the sailboat can inadvertently do a pirouette at mid-tide because of wicked current. At this moment the tide was almost dead low and therefore the current was slack.
We filmed the couple disembarking as if they had finished their sailing experienced. Then we reversed the process to welcome them sailing. Once we got off the dock and back on the water, Ricky learned how to extend the mainsail with a winch as Mike filmed him. Ricky took the helm and proceeded downriver as the chase boat followed nearby. He remarked that it felt quite different from the Hobie Cat he sailed years ago. As it happened, a Hobie with brightly colored sails zoomed on the York a mile away.
We tacked to come back, and I gave a short narrative on camera about the historical importance of Yorktown. Earlier the chase boat got a close-up from the water of the Yorktown Monument, to dovetail with the narrative. Capt. Berger and I maneuvered using marine radio.
With enough footage in the can, we released the chase boat to go back and we went sailing. I called below to get Ken the soundman, who spent the entire cruise in the cabin with his sound equipment. Ken used to sail a Catalina 30, and I wanted him to get the experience of a wheel helm over a tiller. He was game.
The show will run one-hour on the Sunday night series about rehabbing vacation homes. Lexi estimated next Spring. Stay tuned.
Let’s Go Sail
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