Meet Giammarco Sardi, currently taking part in The Mini Transat with Gabriele Facciotti.

Meet Giammarco Sardi, currently taking part in The Mini Transat with Gabriele Facciotti.

Sports Photographer Gabriele Facciotti uncovers his latest collection of work telling the story of Giammarco Sardi, a sailor competing in this year’s Mini Transat.

Established in 1977 to evoke the adventures of the first transatlantic voyages, The Mini Transat is a 4050 nautical mile solo race. Bringing together 84 sailors of all calibres, the event has been held every other year since its inception and is known among the sailing community as one of great endurance, freedom and extraordinary talent. It has acquired a reputation as a “true school of ocean racing”. Single-handedly, skippers must be versatile and capable of taking on all the challenges of the Atlantic, without onboard assistance in a 6.50m boat.

One of these such sailors is Giammarco Sardi, known to most as “Mambo”. The assured sailor from Rome has already in his career crossed the Atlantic twice, as well as the Pacific and so far as totalled over 30,00 miles across the Mediterranean. Before he set sail on his Atlantic voyage as part of this year’s race that began on September 26, our partner and sports photographer Gabriele Facciotti met him through a friend to help tell his story visually. Producing both stunning portrait images and helping to work on a video for the sailor, Facciotti faced his own troubles when shooting out at sea. Learning about an increasingly growing and exciting sport such as sailing, the sports photojournalist captured Giammarco in his natural surroundings as well as distilling his love for the sea, vibrance and skill. 

We caught up with Gabriele to hear more about how they came to meet, the challenges the sport presents for a photographer and what he learnt about his time at sea with Giammarco before he set sail across the Atlantic.

IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti
IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti

Can you tell us a little bit about how you got involved with or started photographing Gianmarco Sardi, “Mambo” and his journey to starting The Mini Transat?

A friend of mine who is running a mead agency started working with Mambo to rebuild his media strategy and tell his story. The goal was becoming more ”Juicy” and interesting for sponsors and brands. He gave me a call and told me a bit about the project and I accepted.

Gabriele Facciotti
Photo by Gabriele Facciotti
Gabriele Facciotti
Photo by Gabriele Facciotti

What is the overall story behind your latest collection of work with him?

The overall story is about who Mambo is and what attending a Mini Transit means. A very small boat in a very big sea. 

What challenges do you face with this type of photography work?

The main problems are firstly, water. And the worst kind of water, salty water! It’s a nightmare for the cameras, even if they are the best on the market. Salty water can beat any kind of topicalization!! And shooting from a motorboat in the middle of the sea you never know when you’ll get wet!

IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti
IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti

What are the technical aspects that you have to consider when shooting sailing?

Again, water!! Furthermore you’re always moving so it’s hard to get the right shot, focusing properly, being in the right place at the right moment for the light or a maneuver…

IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti
IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti
IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti
IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti

After 23 editions, The Mini Transat has acquired the reputation as a true school of ocean racing – what did you learn from Mambo and your time with him as a photographer?

The big lesson that the sailors I met and Mambo himself gave to me is, “don’t get angry with things that are not up to you”.

What did you hope for the poignant message to be from your images and time with him?

Honestly, I don’t know…But I think that people have to positively re-evaluate loneliness. We must be able to feel okay with ourselves and nobody else in hard situations.

Gabriele Facciotti
Photo by Gabriele Facciotti

How is the race going so far for Mambo?

So so… Unfortunately he has got some troubles due to bad conditions off the coast of Portugal, but the crossing is still going and it’s a long journey… 

Did Gianmarco Sardi change your opinion on anything or give you new insight into an aspect of sailing or photography?

Giammarco is very fond of Pizza, as many Italians are. I’m very fond of pizza too and I can say he really helped me to admit and recognize my love too! Joking aside, I discovered a very fascinating world both from people I met from the sporting side and the photography genre that I discovered through them.

IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti
IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti
IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti
IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti
IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti
IMAGO / Gabriele Facciotti

Gabriele Facciotti is a Sport and Action photographer specialized in editorial and advertising photography, based in Italy.

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