This article also appeared in the Fall 2012 Edition of The Laser Sailor and is now featured here as well. It was written with help from Kyle Martin.
Sport cameras are a relatively new breed of cameras that are compact, waterproof, durable and can be easily mounted on all kinds of surfaces. This makes them great for boats and sailing and especially the Laser. The footage from these cameras is great as a training aid, as a keepsake of your sailing and as a way to share sailing with friends and family – just don’t bore them with 20 minutes of you sailing upwind with nothing happening. Not only do most of these cameras do video, but they can also be used for time lapse photography either to watch the whole series, or just to pick key photos of maneuvers , scenery or technique.
Disclaimer: While great for training and pleasure sailing, cameras are not legal equipment for racing on a Laser.
There are several different brands of cameras on the market each with their own strengths, weaknesses, price points, features etc. Kyle and I both use the GoPro Hero2 cameras, but any of these cameras could be mounted in the shots below.
Pro: Easy to set and forget, sees a great scene into the boat and all of the activity in the cockpit
Con: Often submerged leaving wet spots on lens, risk of snagging others mainsheet
Tip: Use a tripod mount on the bow eye for the most secure attachment.
|Mast Facing Forward
Tip: For best results, angle slightly off center to port. This ‘looks’ ahead around a mark or down the line on a start.
Pro: Shows boats ahead of you
Con: Boring video if you are in front
How-to: Go Pro Mast Mount
|Side Mast Facing Aft
Tip: To mount use a roll-cage mount with extra long screws
Pro: Similar scene as the bow, but from a higher elevation.
Con: Only works upwind
Pro: Wide view shows boats around and position in cockpit
Con: Unsteady in waves, weight aloft
Pro: Closer view of cockpit than masthead
Con: Good video one tack, ok video other tack
|Side of Boat
Tip: Use a suction mount on the smooth hull surface.
Pro: Interesting angles
Con: more likely to be underwater, greater risk of getting banged against something
Pro: Great shots of hand-over-hand activity in the cockpit, putting the viewer in your seat
Con: easy to obstruct the view with hands or bang camera with tiller extension and hiking out shows all sky
Pro: Nice point-of-view shots
Con: Scene changes fast as the wearer quickly looks around the boat to sail
|Boom Facing Starboard
Tip: Wrist mount fits boom perfectly
Pro: Unobstructed rear view downwind
Con: Completely obstructed view on port tack by sail
|End of Boom Facing Forward
Tip: Use roll cage mount
Pro: Shows sailor in cockpit and what’s ahead when sailing upwind
|Stern Facing Forward
Pro: Shows sailor plus what’s ahead
Con: Slight risk of snagging your mainsheet
Pro: Shows sailor in cockpit and what’s ahead when sailing upwind
|Side of Dolly
Pro: Can be used right-side up, or down
Races Lasers, PHRF boats and anything else he can find to race and usually has a video camera running. Check out his YouTube channel.
Races Lasers and makes a variety of tips and tricks videos on how to make the most of GoPro Cameras. Check out his tips on his YouTube channel.
Other YouTubers posting Laser footage:
laserinternational, ClaySails, DCSSInstructors, Districttwelvelaser, ericjpetersen1, GRSALaser, jondeusch5, kylemartin101, laserd8, LaserPerformance, LaserTrainingCenter, lightningfleet192, nalsalam, paigesailor, prsalaser, robsuhay, rwbeigel, SailProCameras, sdalin27, syelland100, ussailing2, wjsymes, xdlaser, zorgetbetty, 5FishBoy5, raffak1, GreatDaneLaser, pgihockey13, sailingshack, lasertouring, jonemmettsailing, eshedsailing
Finished up this video from the 63rd Down the Bay Race for the Virginia Cruising Cup May 25-26, 2012 aboard Glenn Doncaster’s Sabre 42.6 Nanuq from Fishing Bay Yacht Club. Read more about the trip here. Photos can be found here.
This was shot over two days with the Nikon D7000, 3 GoPro Hero2, an iPhone 4s and a Canon SD-1400.
Onboard highlight clubs from the Deep Creek Laser Invitational Regatta on Deep Creek Lake July 21-22.
Here’s a quick highlight video from the Orange Coffee Pot Regatta.
Sunday afternoon we made a GoPro mount for the back of a J109 that I’ll be racing in next week at the Annapolis NOOD Regatta.
We took a 8′ white wood curtain rod, fit it in the flag pole and added a GoPro to the top of it. I have yet to add a safety line and bungee tensioner to help keep it from bouncing around. Look for video from this next week.
Here’s what it looked like:
And here’s the view:
After standing on the sidelines for 3 years cheering on friends and family I finally joined the 30,000 people who signed up and ran the Monument Avenue 10k. Here’s my time and some pictures of running in the rain.
Here I am running the 2012 Ukrops Monument Avenue 10k Presented by Martins.
This GoPro mast mount should work for all mast sizes from a Laser on up. It was modeled after a mount seen on Layline’s website. On a Laser the mount can be used to film what’s ahead, or by putting it to the side and using some extenders can point backwards towards the cockpit. Obviously the mast rotation will result in some less than ideal shooting angles some of the time.
I used an Easy on/off bracket mast mount, but instead of using a stick-on or tripod mount, I drilled out the bracket part of a helmet mount and used two stainless steel bolts to attach it. The other solutions are probably sufficient, but I wanted something that would be bullet proof as I see myself mounting this in some places that I couldn’t exactly get to in a pinch if something went wrong.
|Mounted on a Laser mast pointed forward||View pointed forward|
|Parts Needed:||Tools Needed:
Easy on/off bracket and GoPro Helmet Mount with an extra hole drilled in the v-mount for the mount.
GoPro Helmet mount mounted to the easy on/off bracket.
From the back showing the screws cut to the proper length with a hack saw so they didn’t protrude toward the mast any further.
*I used two 36″ Velcro straps which might be overkill for a Laser mast, but I actually found it to work quite well and be very secure.
Finished bracket mounted on a Laser mast with Velcro straps which were wrapped around the mast 3-4 times.
A recent project of mine was to use a simple kitchen timer to build a GoPro Camera panoramic time-lapse mount. This basically lets the camera spin 360 degrees to evenly film the surrounding area. Either periodic stills can be taken or video can be recorded that can later be sped up into a time lapse.
I started with a basic kitchen timer. It’s best to find one that doesn’t have a dial on it. There are numerous egg-shaped timers that seem to work best for it. Stores like Bed Bath & Beyond or Walmart should have them. The first one I found happened to be shaped as a lady bug and cost something like $3.99. The GoPro tripod mount is $8 so with the nut and washers the total was less than $13 to make.
I took the red top off the timer by simple pulling it apart with my hands.
Next I drilled a hole slightly off-center.
Followed by threading the bolt with the washer on it up from the inside.
On the outside I put an upside down finishing washer. This isn’t a must do, but I think it made a better fit for the tripod mount.
Finally the tripod mount was added. The needle-nose pliers were used to turn the bolt from the inside while holding the tripod mount straight by hand.
Complete assembly from the front and side:
Gallery of images:
No ladybugs were harmed in the making of this mount.