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Today Only: "Mad Max Anthology (4 Film Collection)" for $27.99
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Experience a riveting and inspiring true-life adventure aboard the high-tech sloop MORNING LIGHT. Fifteen rookie sailors have one goal in mind -- to be part of her crew, racing in the most revered sailing competition on Earth, the Transpac Yacht Race. From start to finish, it's a rollercoaster ride of emotions and physical challenges, beginning with six months of intense training. Only eleven will survive to race in the grueling 2,225-mile Transpac. Matching wits and skills against experienced pros and the unforgiving, unpredictable Pacific Ocean, these young men and women develop a powerful bond and prove how dedication, teamwork and an unyielding spirit can overcome the greatest of odds.
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As a long-time sailor with years of racing experience, I was hoping for something more like 'Wind' where the mainstay (intended) of the story was sailing and working shots of the boat in action under way. Even Master and Commander, with Russell Crowe, had more boat-work in it than Morning Light (the name of the boat). This story was more about the crew, their personal trials and tribulations, as they struggle to make the A list and get on the boat. Although I did read reviews pointing that out, there were a great many more reviews about action shots of the boat, but not that I could report. I was only able to make it through 3/4's of the movie before I lost interest and couldn't finish it. Perhaps one day, I'll play it again. The 'kids' and the story of the sailboat race are both genuine, but the story misses the mark with lackluster sailing/marine cinematography. In fact, the reviews from others specifically pointed-out the cinematography was the best part of the film. It didn't strike me as that.
I would never, ever, have known of Morning Light if I had not been the only other person in an advanced meterology class in Seattle under master weatherman Lee Chesneau. The skipper Jeremy, the navigator Piet, and the back-up navigator Chris, and I, spent a full week together. I ended up feeding them and the instructor a lot of sushi.
These three were a cut above the norm, but one of the things I learned from being with them was just how normal the crew was, and the fact that they were giving up a working position in order to carry a camaraman--in other words, they came in second to a world-class professional crew even though handicapped by one cargo camaraman. I was surprised not to see this mentioned in the film.
As for the film, it had me on the edge of my seat and as mundane as some may find aspects of the film--not exactly a James Bond movie, and certainly not a drama with hotties such as Wind--for anyone who loves sailing, this is absolutely a great film to view alone or as an excuse for a gathering of like-minded folk.
My biggest disappointment in the film is the lack of detail on training--absent my comment and my direct experience, no one would know they got advanced meterology training, or that their initial southern pick went against everything they were taught (the wind rotates counter-clockwise). Nor did I learn anything of other training.
From talking to them I learned far more about the training and the details of equipping the boat, e.g. they were each allowed one small sack of personal items, and as the boat was put together there were furious arguments about the exact weight of the navigation light at the top of the mast, and the weight of the wire from the light to the power source. That is the kind of stuff I was hoping would be in this film.
So a bit disappointing, but a superb contribution and one that I would recommend as a gift to any aspiring sailor from high school onwards.
Other DVDs in my sailing library (see my Amazon List):
Volvo Round the World Race: The SEB Stopover Reports.
Racing To Win with Gary Jobson
The chance to turn back the clock and do this is one most folks I know would be willing to make.