COURTESY RICH ROBERTS
The vessel Morning Light, subject of a Disney documentary, made a glowing image yesterday off Honolulu as it neared the finish line of the Transpac race. CLICK FOR LARGE
Transpac yacht Morning Light arrives safely
The yacht's voyage during the Transpac was being filmed
The yacht Morning Light lived up to its name yesterday, arriving with the dawn as it finished the 44th Transpacific Yacht Race off Diamond Head.
Finishing at the official time of 6:09:13 a.m., the boat with a crew of 11, ages 18 to 23, celebrated the end of a long journey of more than 2,500 miles from Los Angeles to Honolulu. The young crew -- including Punahou student Mark Towill -- is the subject of a documentary produced by Roy Disney and Leslie DeMeuse of Pacific High Productions, in association with Disney Studios.
Adding to the drama was a neck-and-neck race earlier this week between Morning Light and Samba Pa Ti, the same type of boat -- a Transpac 52 -- in the same competition class. After the first few days of the race, it is unusual for boats to come within sight of one another.
Near the end of the course, Samba Pa Ti veered south and picked up some favorable winds to beat Morning Light by more than four hours.
Pacific High publicist Michiko Wada said "Morning Light," the documentary, is scheduled for national release in the summer, instead of spring 2008 as had originally been planned.
With cameras on board throughout the race, the yacht was also greeted by filmmakers on "three chase boats and two helicopters," Wada said. "It was pretty crowded out on the water. Besides spectators, other family members of the crew went out on the press boat."
It was an exhausting but rewarding race.
"They had kind of run out of food near the end," Wada said. "They were rationing themselves to two freeze-dried meals a day, plus a protein bar."