Photographing the Fabio Buzzi FB80

“There’s more to a picture than meets the eye, hey hey, my my” as Neil Young once wrote, and having been photographing for all but 4 years of my life it’s true that a photograph can only capture so much. Many of the photographs I take hide what was happening around me, or previously to get that shot.

I was on location in Trieste, Italy, photographing Class 1 powerboats for Motorboats and Yachting when I got a call from the editor, Alan Harper. “Fabio Buzzi is launching a new boat at a marina near Venice. We don’t know what size of boat it is yet, but it’s built to break records so probably a RIB, can you get some photos of it on a trailer, or in the water, if you can?”. Venice wasn’t too far from Trieste,  so my flights back from Trieste were changed to Venice a few days later. I got a lift to Venice, then a taxi to the marina in search of Fabio and his new design. When I arrived there were no signs of either. No answer from signor Buzzi on his mobile, no sign of his boat.

Walking around the back of the marina there was a beaten-up grey van with Fabio Buzzi’s parrot logo on the side. It was approaching lunchtime so I sat overlooking the marina, a call to the office revealed nothing more. Still no answer from signor Buzzi but something with a yellow coachroof was moving in the distance, coming toward the marina.

Fabio couldn’t  pronounce my name, so instead came up with a solution “I call you Mr Pictures”

The RIB I was expecting on a trailer turned out to be an 80ft carbon monster FB80 Record! Fabio, and the owner Hannes Bohinc wanted some photographs of Record! I contacted the office, and explained to Alan just what had turned up, 80ft, four 1,500hp engines on surface drives, carbon-fibre interior, an awesome-looking boat built for breaking records: Round Italy, Montecarlo to London, Round Britain to name but a few. I got the go-ahead to get split the cost of a helicopter with Hannic and Fabio in return for them getting photographs after they were printed in MBY.

Fabio couldn’t  pronounce my name, so instead came up with a solution “I call you Mr Pictures”

The shots were taken on a Pentax 6×7 camera, and during the shoot, the pilot was flying low enough to get the spray from the boat’s rooster tail on the helicopter canopy. As a result of my photographs 4 pages were dropped from that issue to make room for a photo feature, and the next month she was on the cover.

When I next met Fabio in London after they had just broken the Montecarlo to London record, he said “Thank you for taking pretty pictures of my boat”

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