by George Zamora
SOCORRO, N.M., July 13, 2006 – A New Mexico Tech undergraduate has been named one of 30 young men and women chosen as finalists from 538 applicants to make up a world-class yacht-racing team for Roy E. Disney’s upcoming “Morning Light” film project.
Kate Theisen, a junior majoring in astrophysics at the land-locked research university in Socorro, will now have a chance next month to prove her sailing expertise and high-seas mettle as she participates in selection trials in Long Beach, Calif. for a coveted position as a crew member of the Morning Light, a racing yacht purchased by Disney to compete in next year’s 44th staging of the Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Hawaii.
“Morning Light,” which is also the working title of the anticipated feature-length documentary film, will chronicle the recruitment, training, and performance of the youngest 15-member crew ever to sail the Transpacific Yacht Race.
None of the participating crew members selected to star in the film will be actors; and, there will be no script for the real-life adventure, nor will there be a preconceived outcome of what many sailing enthusiasts, including Disney, consider to be the world’s most dynamic grand-prix-class sailing event.
“If we do our job right, I don’t care as much whether they win or lose as how they come together as a group and wind up as a team in the end,” Disney said. “However, how they do is how they do. . . . But, we’re giving them the equipment to win.”
Prior to attending New Mexico Tech, Theisen’s sailboat racing roots harked back to living with her parents on a boat in various East Coast ports.
Theisen said she also was inspired at an early age by another sailboat-racing movie, and she hopes “Morning Light” will do the same for others.
“I saw the movie "Wind" ages ago, and I’ve always wanted to race,” she said. “In the meanwhile, I’ve done small boat racing, and I grew up on a sailboat.”
The New Mexico Tech undergraduate is one of five young women selected to be part of the group of 30 finalists from throughout the world who will try out for the history making crew of the Morning Light.
The finalists were selected based on their submitted resumes and personal interviews, but youth was one firm standard employed to ensure that they will be the youngest crew ever to sail in the Transpacific Yacht Race.