The following is the October APS Chesapeake Racer Profile, a monthly hi-light in Spinsheet Magazine (written by Molly Winans):
Anyone who heard her sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at the beginning of the Melges 24 World Championships in Annapolis last fall knows who Ashley Love is. The Jersey Shore native and lifelong sailor is no stranger to singing solo in front of crowds, nor is it foreign to her to work quietly behind a video camera. Born into a sailing family, Love started sailing on an E-Scow as a baby and moved onto junior sailing in Optis, Bytes, and Lasers. Although she chose Ultimate Frisbee over sailing as her sport at the University in Richmond, where she was a theater and English major, she was assistant sailing coach at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, for an academic year after college starting in 2007.
It was at Hobart that Love started making music videos for the traveling team “just to pump them up. I loved editing and figuring it out,” she says. Those videos helped to land her an internship in July 2008 at T2Productions, an Annapolis-based video production company, where she is now a full-time producer, videographer, and editor. Love’s work has taken her to regattas in Denmark and the British Virgin Islands and all over the United States. “A lot of people go to school to do what I do. I’m sure they know more than I do, but I learn by doing,” she says. “Just like sailing, nothing is ever the same. There’s always a new assignment, a new angle, and a new way to try something.” Love says that her theater background—which included acting, dancing, singing, doing sound work, and directing and writing plays—and a decade of coaching sailing prepared her well for video production work. “I know how to tell a story and entertain. I also know where to be on the race course to get the best shots.”
Among Love’s competitive adventures have been winning a gold for the U.S.A. in Beach Ultimate Frisbee in Brazil and sailing in the Women’s Single-Handed Laser Radial World Championships in Japan, Bytes in Bermuda, 29ers in Finland, Melges 32s in Australia, and 5O5 and Laser racing out of Severn SA in Annapolis.
A year ago, Love and a group of eight sailing buddies started the Young Adult Sailing Team (YAST) for 21- to 35-year-old sailors. “We’re the lost generation of sailors,” she says. Now at 30 members, the YAST team is trying to change that and get more young people on the water to share their passion for sailing and bring back the fun, doing anything from greased watermelon relays to scavenger hunts.
Who are your top sailing mentors and buddies?
My dad, Evan Harrell, and Eric Reitinger.
Do you have a favorite sailing moment from this season?
Deciding to buy a 5O5 with my boyfriend, finding one, and promptly buying it. When we were screaming along and trapped out with the chute up in 18 knots of breeze for the first time, it was everything we were
hoping it would be.
Do you have a favorite place on the Bay?
Sailing back to the dock at SSA with the sun setting behind the city.
What kind of music are you listening to lately?
Whatever music I’m editing with. We have a program so you can choose the exact duration for the video you need and the mood and then alter it to your liking. It’s fantastic! I love using the big orchestra and choir pieces for music videos.
What television programs do you watch?
Grey’s Anatomy is one of my guilty pleasures. I watch a ton of movies. I’m always watching the cinematographers’ camera angle and style choices. I don’t like going into the movie knowing what it’s about. I love to rewrite the endings.
What are your non-sailing passions?
Anything theater and Ultimate Frisbee.
Do you have any advice for young racing sailors?
The earth is 70-percent water and probably one percent populated, so you have to get out there. Whatever makes you happy, whatever gets your heart pumping, whatever floats your boat, just do it. Let the adrenaline in now, and give risk a chance on and off the water.
Do you have any sailing goals?
I love that sailing is a lifetime sport, and you can’t stop learning. Every time I go out, there’s a new opponent, a new condition. I want to learn how to fix things, too. I just did my first delivery from Annapolis to Cape Cod, MA. I’d like to do more overnight sailing and to see the night sky away from land.
What’s in your gear bag?
If you won the lottery, what kind of boat would you buy?
I’d want a boat that could take me to those stars. Maybe I’ll find one at the sailboat show!