Over the summer we started to DRONE film the yacht races for the club. This is the first of three videos I did before realizing that it was only a matter of time before we had a major incident and that flying a drone around multi million dollar yachts was both unwise and dangerous.
Race 2 a week later we somehow crashed a Mavic Pro into one of the yachts masts, the crash was catastrophic for the drone, instant signal loss, and made a very loud bang that the crew of the boat all heard and thought that something had broken. The yacht then retired from the race thinking they had broken something. LUCKILY, very luckily they had NOT. We went out in the safety boat to inform them about the drone crash as they were heading back to port, they then joined the second race as there was no damage from the crash. We were very lucky that the drone didn’t land on someones’ head and cause injury. After that I maintained a minimum altitude of 40m, higher than any of the boats present (Jelik was not racing). The skipper came by the committee boat a while later and said to me “I inspect for damage later, call you”. Thankfully there was no damage and all was good, however we did learn a lesson. The next week we maintained 40m altitude and pretty much stayed above the committee boat.
Then 2 weeks later a typhoon was passing and there was a 2m+ swell going thru Protection harbour, and then I learned what trying to launch, fly and retrieve a drone from a boat was really about. I retired and there was no video that day. To be honet, I was driving around in the speedboat waiting for the start and I got horribly seasick, before the race even started. Now I can only imagine what trying to fly a drone would be like. If you are prone to motion sickness the worst thing you can try do is read a book or look at a phone screen. Flying a drone requires you to have total concentration on the screen. I was sick over the side before I even started. So thinking the drone has 7km line of sight range, I pulled into a little bay in the lee of Bluff island, ok, I can see the yachts over there about 2km away, the water is calm and I can launch. So I pull the drone out and launch and the camera fogs up from all the humidity. (Don’t fly ur drone in the rain). So I landed and went back to the club, defeated. It was on this day that I made the decision to stop doing these videos.
Without a spotter to make sure the DRONE is not near any boat, and insurance in case there was an incident, I chose the right path.
Drones are dangerous, I’m a very good pilot, so good I grounded myself 🙂
(Watch toward the end when we almost had a collision with Jelik)