Roy Disney gets soaked as he joins the action in Morning Light crew tryouts

Roy E.Disney, Walt Disney’s salt-loving nephew, found himself playing the slightly embarassing new role of man overboard in Long Beach, California yesterday. 76-year-old Disney fell into trouble whilst transferring from a Catalina 37 to a R.I.B in lumpy seas and 20knots of wind. The sailor/film-buff had been observing crew trials for a new film project when the accident happened, but, fitting with Disney tradition, the story has a happy ending.

John Romanko, 19, one of the crew competing for a place in the project, took advantage of the situation (which was entirely recorded by camera) to indulge in some amateur heroics and prove his mettle. Romanko dived straight into the water to assist Disney, who was in the water for under a minute, and required no more medical attention than a plaster for his hand where it had been cut by a lifeline. ‘I think it’s a first’, said Disney, a cruising and racing sailor for most of his life, about falling into the blue. ‘I was surprised how warm the water was!’

Disney’s Morning Light Project aims to create a ‘reality’ feature film, tracking the youngest crew ever to sail the TransPacific Yacht Race on camera as they make their way from Los Angeles to Hawaii in Transpac 52 yachtMorning Lightnext year. If the project is to be successful, a young crew – mainly late ‘teens – competent enough to take up the challenge must first be established. The 538 applicants who wated to take part in the adventure have been whittled down to a group of 30, of which less than half will make the final selection this Friday.