He may not be running the family store, but Roy E. Disney isn’t slowing down. He’s just announced that he will return to competitive sailing for the 2007 Transpacific Yacht Race.
From the Transpacific Yacht Race web site:
Roy E. Disney announced his retirement from sailboat racing at the awards dinner for the 2005 Transpacific Yacht Race a year ago, and now he has another bit of news: his comeback starts with the next Transpac in 2007.
With selection of the crew for his Morning Light documentary film project complete, Disney has confirmed rumors by declaring himself as the first unofficial entry for what will be his 16th Transpac. Now the youngest crew ever to sail the race will have as a counterpoint a 77-year-old skipper.
Disney will charter Pyewacket back from the Orange Coast College of Sailing & Seamanship. He donated the three-year-old maxZ86 to OCC after last year’s race when Pyewacket finished 2 1/2 hours behind Hasso Plattner’s maxZ86, Morning Glory, whose elapsed time of 6 days 16 hours 4 minutes 11 seconds broke Disney’s record of 7:11:41:27 set in 1999 on an earlier Pyewacket.
"The biggest thing is that I really got deeply involved in Transpac again because of the Morning Light project," Disney said, "and the more I was around it the more nostalgic I got about me in the race, and all of sudden I found myself saying, ‘We could probably rent that big boat back and do it again.’ "
And maybe reclaim the record?"
"If the wind blows this time there’s a really good chance we’ll break that record," Disney said.
The Transpacific Yacht Race is an offshore yacht race starting off Point Fermin near Los Angeles and ending off Diamond Head in Honolulu, a distance of around 2,225 nautical miles (4121 km). Started in 1906, it is one of yachting’s premier offshore races and attracts entrants from all over the world.
The Pyewacket is a Max Z 86 Yacht. Considered large, it is just 86 feet long, and 16 feet wide.
From history, Pyewacket was one of the familiar spirits of a witch detected by the "witchfinder general" Matthew Hopkins in March 1644 in the town of Maningtree, Essex, UK. Hopkins claimed he spied on the witches as they held their meeting close by his house, and heard them mention the name of a local woman. She was arrested and deprived of sleep for four nights, at the end of which she confessed and called out the names of her familiars, describing the forms in which they should appear. They were:
- Holt "who came in like a white kittling"
- Farmara "who came in like a fat spaniel without any legs at all"
- Vinegar Tom "who was like a long-legg’d Greyhound, with an head like an Ox"
- Sacke and Sugar "like a black Rabbet"
- Newes "like a Polecat"
- Ilemauzer, Pyewacket, Pecke in the Crowne and Griezzel Greedigutt, described as imps
I personally would have named my yacht "Vinegar Tom" or "Griezzel Greedigutt", but I’m sure Pyewacket is a fine name…