Ramping up for the Transpac
Disney has sold the boat to an undisclosed Asian buyer to make room for a maxZ86 - his fourth Pyewacket - currently under construction in New Zealand. That new class will be part of the 2005 Transpac.
The 2003 contest looms as a 2,225-nautical mile match race against Philippe Kahn's own R/P 77, Pegasus, the 2001 Barn Door winner. Barker will play a key role.
Roy Pat Disney, son of the owner, said, "We'll need a bunch of good drivers."
And a first-rate navigator. Replacing Stan Honey, who will be sailing his own Cal 40 in a special revival of the class, is a tall order. Honey has won eight of the 17 races he has navigated from the West Coast to Hawaii. Peter Isler who will be taking this on, said, "It's gigantic shoes to fill. They're more like snowshoes or Shaquille O'Neal's sneakers."
But any doubts were dismissed after last weekend's 56th Tommy Bahama Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race. Isler, aboard Pyewacket for his first tune-up race with the team, called the move that brought Pyewacket from behind the powerful new Alchemy to win the 125-nautical mile California classic to Baja California in record time.
Roy Pat Disney, who took over as skipper in his father's business-related absence, said, "That boat we were racing was easily faster than us."
But Isler said, "We gybed about 32 miles from the finish line, essentially on the lay line. [ Alchemy's] mistake was that they should have gybed first, because by the time they gybed we had been sailing toward the [finish line]."
Isler and Honey attended Yale at the same time. Isler majored in meteorology, Honey in electrical engineering, and they taught wintertime navigation classes together at Yale Corinthian Yacht Club.
Barker's reputation has not suffered despite his team's dismal 0-5 showing against Switzerland's Alinghi in the America's Cup match.
"He's a fine sailor [who] got saddled with a boat that was too thin," Roy Pat Disney said. "Because Philippe spends so bloody much money [hiring world-class crews], we felt we needed a bunch of good drivers. That's one of the edges on a long race."
Two years ago Kahn won with what crew member Zan Drejes called "the best crew money can buy." Drejes is a Pyewacket alumnus who won Transpac's top crew award in successive years on the two boats.
Kahn said, "I think that it's a match race with Pyewacket favoured because they are Pyewacket. We'll just try to keep up with them and see if we can get lucky."
25 Transpac entries, including Pyewacket, tuned up by racing in the 461-boat fleet from Newport Beach to Ensenada last weekend.
Bengal II, Yoshihiko Murase's Ohashi 52 from Nagoya, Japan has re-entered for 2003. In 2001 Bengal II won the Pacific High trophy by venturing farther north of the rhumb line than anyone. Meanwhile, two other entries - Bob Saielli's Santa Cruz 70, Mongoose, San Diego, and Jim Scott's Valiant 40, Scaurend II from Edmonton, Alberta - dropped out. The current total is 59 entries. The entry deadline is May 23. . . .
Philippe Kahn's son Samuel, a.k.a. 'Shark,' was thought to be the youngest Transpac crew member ever when he sailed on Pegasus in 2001 at 11 years of age. Two more candidates have surfaced since. Larry Folsom and Virginia Czarnecki (nee Munsey) were also 11 when they sailed in 1977 and '57, respectively, but apparently a younger 11 than young Kahn. Munsey's birthday is May 23 and Folsom's May 29. Nod to Folsom by six days. Any other candidates? . . .
An early bid for the unofficial oldest crew award in this race is Roger and Brenda Kuske's Aloha Division entry, the Dynamique 52 Lady Bleu II, from San Diego. The average age is 54 but the Transpac experience is extensive. "We should be able to find Oahu," crew member Barry Ault said. "Only problem may be how long it takes us to find it." .
The last Safety at Sea seminar before the race - required of 30 per cent of the crew within the last five years - is scheduled June 28 at the Orange Coast College of Sailing and Seamanship in Newport Beach. The most recent one in March drew a full house of 126 people, most of them Transpac participants, so those interested are urged to sign up by phone at (949) 645-9412, ext. 2.
OFFICIAL ENTRIES (as of April 30, 2003):
(Division assignments provisional)
Division 1 (start July 6)
Pegasus 77 (Reichel/Pugh 77), Philippe Kahn, Honolulu.
Pyewacket (R/P 75), Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles.
Division 2 (start July 6)
Alta Vita (Transpac 52), Bill Turpin, Santa Cruz, Calif.
America's Challenge (Volvo 60M), Neil Barth, Los Angeles---DH.
Beau Geste (Transpac 52), Karl Kwok, Hong Kong.
Grand Illusion (Santa Cruz 70), James McDowell, Lahaina, H.I.
Helsal II (Adams 60), W.E. Rawson, Melbourne, Australia.
Icon (Perry 65), Richard Robbins/Jim Roser, Seattle.
Medicine Man (Andrews 61), Bob Lane, Long Beach, Calif.
Pendragon 4 (Davidson 52), John MacLaurin, Marina del Rey, Calif.
Vicki (Andrews 68), Al and Vicki Schultz, Long Beach.
Division 3 (start July 4)
Bengal II (Ohashi 52 ),Yoshihiko Murase, Nagoya, Japan.
Dasher (Santa Cruz 50), Roger Groh, San Francisco.
Horizon (Santa Cruz 50), Jack Taylor, Dana Point, Calif.
Innocent Merriment (J/160), Myron Lyon, San Diego.
Maitri (J/160), Peter Johnson, San Diego.
Pipe Dream IX (J/160), Scott Piper, Coral Gables, Fla.
Reinrag2 (J/125), Tom Garnier, Portland, Ore.
Division 4 (start July 4)
Bolt (Olson 40), Craig Reynolds, Balboa, Calif.
Bravado (Elliott 46), Charles Breed, Alameda, Calif.
B'Quest (Tripp 40), Challenged America/Urban Miyares, San Diego.
Cool Man Cool2! (Sydney 38), Harrell Jones, Dana Point.
Lawndart (Cape Bay Fast 40), Bill Allan, Nanaimo, B.C.
Paddy Wagon (Ross 40), Richard Mainland, Marina del Rey, Calif.
Swept Away (J/120), Louis Bianco, Seattle.
Tera's XL (ILC 40), Antony and Daniel Barran, Northridge, Calif.
There and Back Again (Tripp 40), Robert Rice, Long Beach.
Uproarious (Olson 40), Robert Bussard, San Diego.
CAL 40 (start July 1)
California Girl (Cal 40), Don and Betty Lesley, Point Richmond, Calif.
Celebrity (Cal 40), Gerald Finnegan, Redondo Beach, Calif.
Flying Cloud (Cal 40), Darrell and Scott Wilson, Long Beach.
Illusion (Cal 40), Stan Honey, Palo Alto.
John B (Cal 40), Greg Boyer, Newport Beach, Calif.
Ralphie (Cal 40), Jack and Taylor Pillsbury/Eleanor and Davis Pillsbury, San
Ranger (Cal 40), William Partridge, Richmond, Calif.
Redhead (Cal 40), Andrew Opple, Ketchum, Idaho.
Willow Wind (Cal 40), Wendy Siegal, Seal Beach, Calif.
Divisions to be determined
Axapac (Wylie 39), Barry Ruff, Vancouver, B.C.
Beach Music (Tayana 52), Kirby Coryell, Lafayette, Calif.---DH.
Beautiful Day (Beneteau 47.7), William Boyd, San Diego---DH.
Krakatoa (Young 32), Rod Skellet, Sydney, Australia.
Lucky Dog (J/125), Peter Putnam, Newport Beach---DH.
Masquerade (Choate 40), Timothy Coker, San Diego.
On Point (Schock 40), Nick Martin, Wilmington, Calif.
Pipe Dream (Choate/Feo 37), John Davis, Long Beach.
Starbuck (Black Soo 31), Greg Nelsen, Piedmont, Calif.---DH.
Tabasco (1D35), John Wylie, San Diego.
Two Guys On the Edge (1D35M), Dan Doyle, Honolulu---DH.
Wild Thing (1D35), Chris and Kara Busch, San Diego.
ALOHA DIVISION (start July 1)
Enchanted Lady (Roberts 55), Andy Sibert, Seal Beach, Calif.
Incredible (Swan 53), Rick Gorman, Los Alamitos, Calif.
Just Imagine (49' cutter), Thomas Camp, Walnut Creek, Calif.
Lady Bleu II (Dynamique 62), Roger and Brenda Kuske, San Diego.
Marla R (Beneteau 50), Jon Richards, Mesa, Ariz.
Windborne (Gulfstar 50), Tom Ryan, Marina del Rey.
Barking Spider (Catalina 38), David Kory, Point Richmond, Calif.
Sea Dancer (Ericson 35), Alvin Wheatman, Marina del Rey.
Tango (Beneteau 40), Howard Raphael, Sausalito, Calif.
Wind Dancer (Catalina 42), Paul Edwards, Wilmington, Del.