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Scuttlebutt News:

Two years after Morning Light

Piet van Os
(July 6, 2009) Two years ago, the side story of the Transpac race was the Disney produced Morning Light documentary, wherein the TP52 Morning Light crew was filmed by onboard cameras and a filming platform that followed their race. For the 2009 race, many of the crew has returned, with several onboard Roy Disney’s Santa Cruz 70 Pyewacket.

Prior to their Sunday start, Scuttlebutt checked in with Pyewacket navigator Piet van Os, who held that same role with Chris Branning two years ago on Morning Light:

  • Being asked to navigate Pyewacket must have been an honor, especially as it is a position normally held by your Morning Light instructor, Stan Honey. Can you tell us what you have been doing to prepare for this role?

  • Absolutely, it really was an honor to be asked to navigate Pyewacket in Transpac. I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am today without Stan Honey. He has taught me all the racing navigation that I know and I can never thank him enough for it. To hear that Stan recommended me for the job was such an honor. As you can imagine following behind Stan, there are some HUGE shoes to fill. I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about it.

    Pyewacket is actually the second boat I have followed Stan on, Stark Raving Mad being the first. I was at dinner with Stan and (his wife) Sally the other night and mentioned that if I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase "Well, Stan would know" I would be a wealthy man. After working together for almost a year during Morning Light, Stan and I have a great friendship and I bug him constantly when I run into a problem. Stan seems to know just about everything about everything but the really remarkable part about him is his ability to dumb it down so the rest of us can understand it.

    This Transpac I am lucky enough to be working together with Stan and his (Alfa Romeo) team during the Transpac preparation. To get ready for the race I have been looking at weather for the past several months, not to mention pulling out all my old Wetnotes from working with Stan from the 2007 Transpac. For the week leading up to the start, I will have been working with Stan daily on the weather and routing.

  • Who are the other Morning Light crew doing the race?
  • Morning Light

    Jeremy Wilmot and Jesse Fielding are with me on Pyewacket, Genny Tulloch is on Ragtime, Chris Branning is on Akela, Mark Towill and Robbie Kane are on Hula, and Kate Theisen and Graham Brant-Zawadzki are onboard the tall ship Lynx.

  • We see that Chris Branning is navigating the Reichel Pugh 78 Akela. Any side bets?

  • Haha, there may be some bets going on between us. It's funny being at the same hotel, starting the same race as we did 2 years ago and this time not being able to work with him. It has really made me realize how much work there is and how much easier it was when the two of us split it up. Because we're competitors in this race we are not talking about weather or routing but we have been working together on the setup and prep for the race. Yes, the other night we were out having a drink and we made a bet on which one of us was going to beat the other on corrected time....In Hawaii we'll get to see who has to pay up!

  • What else have you been up to since the Morning Light movie was released Oct. 2008?

  • After ML, I finished my remaining semester at California Maritime Academy, graduated (got Roy E Disney to speak at my graduation) and then I worked running an 80-foot yacht in Alaska for the summer. Afterwards, I got a "real job" and worked as a Mate onboard a 400-foot commercial diving vessel that works internationally. I worked 6 weeks on and 6 weeks off so it lets me sail in my off time. Since ML, I have sailed a couple of Cabo and Puerto Vallarta races navigating Stark Raving Mad and a bunch of little regattas here and there, but mostly I working too much.

  • Any funny situations that occurred for you since the movie release?

  • Yes. I was on an Emirates flight from Dubai to LA and Morning Light was showing on the plane. I happened to have a Morning Light hat on and a lot of people put two and two together.

  • Any drama leading up to this race?

  • When your primary navigation computer gets a virus four days before the start, things get amazingly busy for the navigator.

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