If we had given out an award for the best onboard video in the 2018 Thrash to the Onion Patch, it would have gone to Warner Nickerson aboard Masquerade. Especially since the race was more of a drift than a thrash.
You have to work it to create riveting video when the wind is averaging three knots for much of the race, but Warner worked it—and the crew of Masquerade tolerated him. Especially when they saw his drone footage.
Warner is a New Englander from a sailing family. He grew up ski racing in New Hampshire and has been living in Europe and skiing hard ever since; he narrowly missing out on the 2010 Olympics. Along the way, he got into vlogging about the ski world and built a substantial following, encouraged by his skiing and vlogging friend Jon Olsson.
In the spring of 2018, Warner flew back to Newport and joined his father, Casey, and his brother Guy in the crew aboard Andy Burton’s Baltic 47. Here is the first of two videos he produced:
After the race, I spoke with Warner who summarized his first race to Bermuda as “Amazing. We made some bad decisions. But we had a great time.”
He flew his Mavic Pro drone in up to 17 knots, at one point flying 3.5 kilometers away and 500 meters up to catch the sunrise. “I was taking a bit of a risk with it,” he said, “but I always flew it out in front of us so if we lost connection, it would fly back towards us and reconnect.”
When I asked how he tried to keep people interested given that it was such a light-air race, he said, “Most of my followers aren’t sailors, so for me, the story was about getting to my friend’s wedding in Spain on time.”
When I asked if he set up any scenes or a dialogue in advance, he said, “There’s no set-up. It doesn’t work. Capture the moment or you miss it. The first take is the best every time.”
The odds of finishing so he could make his flight didn’t look good for a long time, but Warner’s luck finally turned as the breeze filled. Even though Masquerade broke its boom(!), it happened right after crossing the finish line, and Warner still made his flight. In total, he was on land in Bermuda for three hours.
His race videos, part 1 and 2, have been seen 15,000 and 42,000 times, respectively. Here’s the second one:
Was it worth rushing back to the wedding? Jon and Janni’s Epic Wedding Weekend has more than 195,000 views — one of Warner’s top three videos ever—and from the looks of it, Warner and Lynn had a great time, too!
Warner has scaled back what was a manic pace to his vlogging in 2018, but he may have found a new vlog genre in 2020. His latest hit is from last summer, called We Bought a Boat Instead of Getting Married.
Hope to see you in 2022, Warner!