New Pyewacket for Disney

But the fifth boat in this series won't be a record breaker

Monday August 4th 2008, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United Kingdom
An ocean racer all his adult life, Roy Edward Disney thrived on competition while sailing the seas of North America and Europe. But despite logging several records, 15 Transpacs with three Barn Doors and so many races to Mexico that he says "I wouldn't even know how to count," he felt vague envy for some of his sailing peers.

Not anymore. Now, launching his second life of sailing at 78, he has the perfect boat, a new Reichel/Pugh 60 named, familiarly, Pyewacket V, for Del Rey Yacht Club's PV09 International Race Series consisting of four separate races along the way from Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta starting Jan. 31.

It's a transformation of the 20th biennial event to Puerto Vallarta, presented by Corum Swiss Timepieces. The object of the race's new series format is to provide serious racers (like Disney) with an opportunity to sail hard between laid-back layovers with lively parties at Turtle Bay, Magdalena Bay, Cabo San Lucas and, finally, Puerto Vallarta - or, as many legs as they choose to sail.

It won't be like any of Disney's other Mexican races in which, he said: "The closest [destination] was to Cabo [San Lucas], and you always heard these great stories from people who brought the boat home and stopped in Turtle Bay and other places. And as you're sailing down there you're always thinking: "Gosh, I'd love to see these places and not just sail by 'em and sometimes not even able to even see 'em.' When you get in near the coast it's beautiful going along there."

And Disney's boat, built at Westerly Marine in Santa Ana, CA, isn't like any of his first four Pyewackets named for the mystical cat in the non-Disney film "Bell, Book and Candle." He isn't looking to break any records.

"The boat's kind of racy, but it's not a racing boat," he said. "It's more a cruising boat, and it's sort of a cruising race. It sounded like a nice way to get the most out of the boat in great comfort."

That should not be a problem. Lynn Bowser of Westerly Marine listed some of the amenities as "an all cherry wood veneer interior, three staterooms and three heads, a complete galley with a full stove and granite counter tops, a microwave, stainless steel freezer and refrigerator, a full separate stall shower in the master stateroom, a flat-screen TV that folds down from the overhead for watching Disney movies only, a nice nav station, curved glass windows, a trash compacter, water maker, a heater, full hydraulics, teak decks, a roller furling boom, a dodger…"

There are also a carbon-fibre mast and a hydraulic keel that retracts from 13.5 to 8.5ft "so he can get in and out of harbors," Bowser added.

He and his wife Leslie DeMeuse-Disney will be part of a small crew, with a minimum of professionals.

"This is a friendly race so we want to bring our friends," Disney said. "But I'm also really curious to see how fast the boat is."

Minus the extras, most of which Disney didn't enjoy on his other boats, the 60 footer would probably be significantly faster without one-third of its total displacement of nearly 40,000 pounds. It could have been more. There's no casino, helicopter pad or swimming pool.

Bowser said, "It was originally being built as a cruising boat only, and then we got halfway and [he said], 'Ah, we're probably going to take this in some cruising races.' Now that he doesn't have a race boat, he's got to race something."

31 boats are currently signed up. The entry limit is 40 because of mooring limitations at San Jose del Cabo and Marina Vallarta.

If five or more boats are interested there will still be the traditional non-stop, 1,125-nautical mile format of “the longest and oldest enduring race to Mexico,” so Magnitude 80’s record of 3 days 15 hours 51 minutes 39 seconds that toppled Joss’s durable 22-year-old standard last year is not entirely safe.

The first leg will be 376 n.m. from Marina del Rey to Cedros Island outside of Turtle Bay, then 220nm to Magdalena Bay, famous for its friendly migrating whales; 152nm to lively Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the Baja peninsula, and the last 286nm across the Gulf of California to Puerto Vallarta on the mainland.

The format, divided into spinnaker “performance” boats and non-spinnaker “racer-cruisers,” expands the event’s “Salsa” concept of the last few years into “Hot Salsa” and “Milder Salsa” divisions. The overall winner will be determined not by accumulated time but by combined finishing positions in the four races, as in a regatta - but with no throw-outs.

To ensure that all participants will be able to finish a race in time to enjoy the layover and the start of the next race, they may use motors if the winds become so light that their sailing speeds drop below their designated "crossover" speeds. The crossover speed is defined as "that boat speed at which the application of the motor penalty will have no detrimental effect on the final computed corrected time."

The PHRF handicap is applied only to the distance sailed.

Preparation seminars scheduled 23 Oct and 4 December, plus an SCYA-sponsored "safety at sea" seminar Nov. 2, will serve as tutorials for entries, prospective entries and those just interested in learning what offshore sailing is about.


Preliminary entries

Spinnaker

Amazing Grace (Farr 55), James Puckett, DRYC
Apollo V (Peterson 42), Ned Knight, Point Loma YC
Between the Sheets (Jeanneau 49), Ross Pearlman, DRYC
Colt 45 (Tripp 40), Dan Chepley Jr., Ventura YC
Corsair (Peterson 43), Craig Brown, Long Beach
Endless Summer (Ranger 33), David McMillin, Dana Point YC
Felicita (J/120), Perry Peters, Arizona YC, Phoenix
Friction Loss (J/30), Shawn Ivie/Dan Taron, South Bay Yacht Racing
Geronimo (J/109), Gene Pitkin & Assoc., Cortez Racing Assn.
Jungle Jim (Jeanneau 49), Jim Maslon, DRYC
Locomotion (Andrews 45), Ed Feo, Long Beach YC
MACS (J/35), Evie and Steve McClure, Alamitos Bay YC
Mayhem (Farr 52), Ashley Wolfe, OPYC, Calgary, Canada
Pyewacket V (Reichel/Pugh 60), Roy E. Disney, Newport Harbor YC
Showdown (IMX-38), Michael Luna, American Legion YC
Voice of Reason (Ericson 32-2), Jim McCone/Mike Verla, Redondo Bch YC
X-Rated (IMX-38), Dave Fell, Seal Beach YC
Zamazaan (Farr 52-C), Charles A. Weghorn, St. Francis YC

Non-Spinnaker

Aquarius (Jeanneau 43), Hiroyuki Funaoku, DRYC
Aquavit (Freedom 44SD), Per B.H. Curtiss, South Bay Yacht Racing
Artsea (Grand Soliel 45), Marty Laffer, DRYC
Defiance (Swan 56), Peter Noonan, St. Francis YC
G-Rated (Catalina 42), Sid and Mark Lampert, DRYC
Lady Victoria (Beneteau 57), Mitchell and Victoria Morrin, DRYC
Lumiere (Beneteau 57), Mitchell/Victoria Morris, DRYC
Rhiannon (Peterson 44), Bill/Stacy Tarr, DRYC
Ruffian (Bren Wilson 36), Jonathan Bamer, Single Handed Sailing Assn.
Sweet Angel (Catalina 42), Sandy and Marianne Golden, DRYC
Vianne (Beneteau 47), Sandy Sinclair, DRYC
Wind Dancer (Tartan 38), William Solberg, CYC

Division undetermined

White Wind (Hunter 38), Kevin Harvey, Marina Venice YC

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