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Scuttlebutt News:
A chance opportunity to sail in Paradise
Submitted by J. Ryan Parker from Hampton Yacht Club

During a holiday vacation to Oahu, Hawaii, I was fortunate to come upon the TP52 Morning Light (formerly Pegasus) while checking out Waikiki YCís facilities. The TP52 Morning Light is the feature boat of the Morning Light Project, 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. Disney.

When I approached Morning Light on January 2nd, 2007, I found the production crew and the boatís managers, David Tank and Jimmy Slaughter, working feverously on deck to finalize the fit out of Morning Light. Though they were focused on their work, all were very open to questions and conversation about the boat, the crew, and the project in general. The production crew was finalizing their camera angles and the arduous task of determining how to mount the cameras and gear out of the way of crew work. Meanwhile, David and Jimmy were putting the finishing touches on an estimated $200K refit to transform Morning Light from a premier inshore racer to a dominant and safe offshore machine.

One of the primary jobs of the refit was incorporating a full navigation suite, which was also getting its final touches below decks by Stan Honey (Navigator of the 05-06 Volvo Ocean Race Winner, ABN Amro 1). It was a wonderful treat to get invited onboard and below to meet Stan and have the opportunity to discuss the navigation software and hardware he had chosen for Morning Light. To my surprise as I left the boat, David invited me to go out sailing with them the next day to tune the rig in preparation for the Kids (their nickname for the crew of 18-22 year olds selected for the project) first on the water training day later in the week.

I met up with the boat for a breath-taking afternoon of sailing off Waikiki, Honolulu Harbor, and Diamond Head. Arriving early, I found David and Jimmy cleaning up a life raft from a morning safety presentation in the WYC pool with the Kids. Joining David, Jimmy and I for the afternoon were Roy P. Disney (Roy E. Disneyís son), Ty Pryne (North Sails Hawaii Rigger), Fuzz Foster (North Sails Hawaii), Fuzz's wife, and some young sailors from the WYC junior program. We headed out of Waikiki Harbor and raised the main in 15-18 knots easterly, and I took my position on the main pedestal grinder. After some upwind and downwind work to get the rig tuned, we bore off for a fun tight reach toward Diamond Head. Approaching the lee of Diamond Head, we could tell there were gusts into the 20 knot range offshore. There were short discussions to make a quick reach out into the higher winds to see what max speed we could obtain. However, the voice of reason convinced us to not put unneeded wear into the sails and to broad reach back to Waikiki Harbor.

Fortunately, they allowed me to take the wheel for the broad reach ride home. As I bore off to point us toward home, Morning Light accelerates like a rocket ship and responded to every tiny adjustment I made to the wheel. It was an amazing feeling to be behind the wheel of such an amazing boat in such a beautiful location. After helping clean up Morning Light, I did what any gracious sailor would do. I joined my hosts at the YCís bar to buy them a thank you round of drinks.

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