Love, sailing & photos


Longpre, a Newport Beach resident, takes her talent and experience as a photographer to the America's Cup.

August 20, 2013|By Steve Virgen
  • Mary Longpre, a Newport Beach resident and Balboa Yacht Club member, is a sailing photographer who also races her 30-foot sailboat named Valentine. Longpre will be photographing the America's Cup finals in September.
Mary Longpre, a Newport Beach resident and Balboa Yacht… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

When Mary Longpre filled out her photographer credential for the upcoming America's Cup, she submitted information about an important project.

Longpre, a Newport Beach resident and a Balboa Yacht Club member, will be in the process of completing a book of photos of her experiences at the grand regatta that takes place in San Francisco Bay this year.

This will be her ninth America's Cup that she will cover as a photographer. Her first America's Cup was in 1987, when, for the first time, the event, that has the oldest trophy in international sport, took place in Australia.

"In 1987, was when I started on America's Cup and there has been four styles since, starting with the monohull," Longpre said. "And now we have the multihull. It's a good place to end the book and show how the America's Cup has developed through the years."

Longpre has enough material to produce several books of different regattas she has shot.


She has been a fixture at the Governor's Cup at BYC, where the international junior regatta completed its 47th year last month.

She usually shoots the Festival of Sails in Australia in January too.

Longpre isn't just about photography. She also races. She's been racing for 36 years.

She has always had a love for the ocean, as she grew up in Capistrano Beach, where she became a surfer.

She met her husband, Bob, at Orange Coast College. They will celebrate their 49th anniversary in November.

Bob is the main reason Longpre got into sailing.

"I wanted to learn how to do it because he was out there all the time and I never got to see him," Longpre said. "I learned a lot from him."

Longpre admits there can sometimes be tension between husband and wife while on a competitive boat. Eventually, Longpre went on her own to race, and sailed with a group of women she continues to sail with these days.

For the past 28 years, she's been on her boat, "Valentine." She named it such because her birthday falls on Feb. 14, Valentine's Day.

When she's not behind the camera, you can find her on "Valentine." And sometimes she's on there with her all-women crew that has competed and won their fair share of races throughout the years.

The women are her friends. Carolyn Di Orio, Pat Vrannicar, Linda Rasner and Jill Golden of the BYC are among them who compete with Longpre, as are Cheryl Lawlor and Shannon Carr.

"I have a real passion for it," Longpre said of racing and sailing. "I just love being out there."

Her husband will always be a sailor, but he no longer races.

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