LOS ANGELES ó Morning Light, a real-life adventure
feature film recorded as it happens, whatever happens,
will be part of next year's 44th Transpacific Yacht Race
to Hawaii in a project led by race veteran Roy E.
Based on the premise of "the youngest crew ever to
sail Transpac," the film will chronicle the recruitment,
training and performance of sailors as young as 18
through the next race in July of 2007. On their own,
they will sail a Transpac 52 called Morning Light ó the
working title of the film. None will be actors. There
will be no script and no preconceived outcome.
Disney said, "If we do our job right, I donít care as
much whether they win or lose as how they come together
as a group and wind up a team in the end. However they
do is how they do. But we're giving them the equipment
Disney recently purchased the Transpac 52 Pegasus
from software developer Philippe Kahn. The Transpac 52s
Alta Vita and Rosebud, part of the world's most dynamic
grand prix class with more than 30 boats in 15
countries, have rated first in the last two Transpacs on
overall corrected handicap time.
Disney credited the TP 52 class executive director
Tom Pollock of Newport Beach, for inspiring the project.
"We always thought there must be a way to expose
Transpac to the world," Disney said. "The possibilities
for drama are obvious."
Executive producers are Disney's Pacific High
Productions and Mike Tollin of Tollin/Robbins
Productions (TRP). Leslie DeMeuse will be co-producer.
She is an Emmy winner as producer of numerous sailing
documentaries for television.
Olympic gold medalist sailor Robbie Haines will
oversee sailing operations. The film, to be shot in High
Definition theatrical quality, will be distributed by
the Walt Disney Co.
Disney and DeMeuse co-produced the popular DVD
Transpac: A Century Across the Pacific. As with that
project, DeMeuse said, "This will develop its own
Haines will lead a nationwide search for a crew of 10
or 11 sailors and about three alternates. They may come
from the elite college sailing programs or other venues.
Applications may be made soon through the Web site
PacificHighProductions.com, currently under
The Transpacific Yacht Club has embraced the project.
Commodore Al Garnier said, "It's a very good opportunity
for Transpac to become known around the world outside of
the sailing community."
Currently recognized as the youngest Transpac crew by
average age are the seven sailors from the Santa Barbara
Yacht Club who sailed the Cal 40 Argonaut to first
place on overall handicap time in 1969. Six,
including skipper Jon Andron, 22, ranged in age from 17
to 24; the seventh crew member, navigator Jay Aranjo,
was 38. Andron is now a member of the Transpac board of
The Morning Light crew will probably average about
21, and they'll be on their own for the 2,225 nautical
Disney said, "They'll have a lot of professional
assistance before the race. We're going to get Stan
Honey to come in and spend a few days with these kids
teaching them how to navigate, and we'll get them all to
one of the Safety at Sea seminars. They're going to go
off pretty aware of what they're doing."
Honey, the navigator on Disney's record-setting
Pyewacket racers, currently is charting ABN AMRO 1's
winning course around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race.
Once the crew is selected, the young sailors will
undergo months of intense training on Morning Light in
"Those sessions in Hawaii will not just be for
filming," Haines said. "We'll send them off around
Molokai a couple of times." The Molokai Channel leading
into the finish at Diamond Head is one of the wildest
parts of the race.
The film is tentatively scheduled for release in