Volvo Champ Guides Morning Light

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Morning Light / Uhl

Mike Sanderson, winning skipper of the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race, recently spent four days with the Morning Light crew, the 13-member team whose preparation for and participation in the 2007 Transpacific Yacht Race is being filmed for a Disney feature film. The New Zealander rejoined his Volvo navigator, Morning Light instructor Stan Honey, for the team's third monthly training session on the Transpac 52 in Honolulu. With the race four months away, the crew measured its progress with two overnight sails, one with Sanderson aboard, and one on their own. Team member Piet van Os was the designated skipper and primary helmsman for the first run to Molokai and back. "He's one of the best coaches I ever had," van Os said of Sanderson. "He wants you to drive so hard and do so well. He just likes to sail fast, day and night." Van Os also appreciated Sanderson's cool response to a few crash jibes that took the crew by surprise during a nighttime passage through the Molokai Channel. "He wasn't happy with it," said van Os, "but he was very constructive about it, [telling the sailors] 'do better next time' and 'realize why it happened.' " Could there be Volvo races in the Morning Light team's future? Sanderson, 36, was only 21 when he sailed his first Whitbread Round the World Race, then largely an amateur competition that has evolved into the totally professional Volvo Ocean Race. "There's a good chance a lot of these people would have gotten Volvo rides in my day," Sanderson said. "The ante's been upped a whole lot, [but] there certainly are some people here that will end up on Volvo boats or America's Cup boats. There's some real talent with really good attitudes." For the latest Morning Light news, click here.