Posted at 1:51 p.m., Thursday, July 12, 2007
Two youngest teams in Transpac race have Hawaii ties
News ReleaseLONG BEACH, Calif. - While the vanguard starters in the 44th Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii groped their way through light winds on Day 2 Tuesday, those awaiting their turns in Rainbow Harbor were sizing up one another.
Roy E. Disney's powered-up Pyewacket and his Morning Light team's Transpac 52 are literally in the center of attention, moored pointy bow to winged stern alongside Pine Avenue Pier. They'll both start Sunday with the fastest-rated boats, three days after Divisions 4 and 5 and the Santa Cruz 50s and 52s.
The 15 Morning Light sailors were selected from 538 applicants with a deliberate accent on youth and diversity, and the ultimate goal of creating a documentary film scheduled for theater release next year.
Although spanning the ages of 18 to 23, Morning Light won't be the youngest team ever to sail Transpac. After this race that distinction will probably belong to five young men from Hawaii and Southern California who will start the race today on a smaller 1D35 once called Two Guys On the Edge when Dan Doyle and Bruce Burgess sailed it doublehanded in previous Transpacs. Now it's called On the Edge of Destiny.
The skipper will be Sean Doyle, 19, Dan's eldest son, with his other son Justin as navigator. Roscoe Fowler, 20, of Honolulu also will be on the crew, with Cameron Biehl, 19, of San Diego and Ted White, 23, of Santa Barbara, as watch captains. Average age: 19.8 years, about a year younger than Morning Light.
"All five of us applied for the Disney thing," Sean Doyle said, "but I was planning on doing the race before that, maybe chartering my dad's old boat from the guy who bought it."
Instead, Dan Doyle turned the boat over to the kids to serve on the Hawaii volunteer committee. But the primary aim wasn't to out-youth Morning Light, Sean Doyle said.
"It was like, I'm not gonna go sail the race with a bunch of 30-year-olds when these are all my friends. I know a couple of the people on the [Morning Light] boat, and Cameron knows a couple, too. We're not trying to beat themor maybe we are," he added with a smile and a shrug.
So how does a teenager feel leading such a young team on one of the world's great ocean races? Well, he and his brother did last year's Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Kaneohe on Oahu with their dad, and he says he isn't intimidated.
"Not at all. People think it's a big deal, but I've been sailing in gnarly winds all my life. It's way more fun for me. I hope it blows 50 knots."
Sean Doyle thinks their effort may set an inspiring example for other young sailors, as the Morning Light project already has.
On the Web: www.transpacificyc.org