Who Wants To Be An OBR?
The toughest beat in sporting journalism or the adventure of a lifetime? The Volvo Ocean Race’s crop of On Board Reporters could not be any closer to the action, living cheek and jowl with the crews for weeks at a time as they battle around the world in 65-foot high performance racing yachts.
The overall media prize winner from the last edition, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Matt Knighton, talks candidly about the highs and lows of his experience with the eventual race winners and gives his personal tips for any aspiring OBRs hoping to get picked for the 2017-18 edition.
Sail Racing Magazine: Tell us about your background in sailing and media before you applied to be the Abu Dhabi OBR? What made you think you were potential OBR material?
Matt Knighton: My background is in cinematography, but I really enjoying directing and the fundamentals of telling good stories. I started out shooting documentaries for a production company in Texas and eventually went freelance and got to work on some amazing projects, like the Black Hawk Down documentary we shot in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Paralleling this, in 2010 I started racing on big boats in Chicago and San Diego and built up a good amount of offshore racing experience. I was really big into that scene – so much that it started taking up most of my spare time.
I knew immediately I wanted to be a Volvo Ocean Race On Board Reporter after seeing photos from the 2008-09 race. I applied for the 2011-12 race as a Media Crew Member (as they called it back then), but unfortunately I didn’t get the call.
For the next three years I focused hard on building up my resume so I could apply for the 2014-15 race. I worked for American sailor Taylor Canfield on the World Match Racing Tour and started networking as much as I could into the wider sailing world. Since I knew I was strong in video already, I made a big effort to strengthen my photography skills.
To answer the question, why I thought I was OBR material: I was passionate about adventure journalism; I saw that my skill sets fitted well between media and sailing; and I genuinely wanted it really badly... READ THE FULL ARTICLE