Wind at Their Backs

URI students Robbie Kane and Jesse Fielding will board a 52-foot yacht in Los Angeles this month and spend the next 8 to 10 days racing to Honolulu.

The two were among 15 students selected by Roy Disney from 500 applicants nationwide to become members of the youngest crew in the TransPac Yacht Race.

Disney, an avid yacht racer, is the nephew of the legendary Walt Disney and a longtime executive for Walt Disney Co. He is producing a feature length film of the selection process, training, and race that will be released nationwide next year.

Kane and Fielding took the spring semester off to train for the race. “This is one of the oldest running long distance ocean races in the world on the Porsche of race boats,” enthused Fielding, a 20-year-old sophomore from North Kingstown. “Our boat can exceed 25 knots while sailing with the trade winds and planing down the Pacific Ocean swells.”

Both students plan to return to the University to complete their education.

“All this sailing is really cool and an unbelievable opportunity, but it’s a short-term guarantee,” says Kane, a 21-year-old junior in landscape architecture.

Additional details about the race and Morning Light Productions can be found at