From Sailing World Archives: Vol. 9, No. 29 July 16, 1998
"Forget Magellan, Disney now owns the Pacific Ocean
By SEAN McNEILL
KANEOHE, Hawaii--Not content to sit on his laurels, Roy Disney and his turbo-charged Santa Cruz 70 Pyewacket added a third record from mainland North America to the state of Hawaii last week.
Already holder of the Victoria-Maui and Transpac Race records (see below), this year Pyewacket decimated the 2,070-mile course record for the West Marine Pacific Cup with a time of 6d:14h:23m, a 13.07-knot average and 32 hours faster than the previous record set in 1996.
Over the last three years, Pyewacket has sailed a total of 6,603 miles in 24d:01h:23m at an average of 11.43 knots. Explorer Ferdinand Magellan may have named the biggest ocean in the world in 1520, but now, seemingly like everything else in the world, Disney owns it.
"It requires luck in the weather as much as anything," said Disney, referring to his boat's triple crown record feat. "You have to hit the weather windows. We had the right amount of wind the whole way. On the third day, exactly 72 hours into the race, we were within a few miles of the halfway point."
After a rough first night beating with a No. 3 and two reefs, Pyewacket was able to bear off and start blasting toward Hawaii. And blast they did, powered by a 4,000-square-foot asymmetric spinnaker on a 35-foot pole. On the second day, Pyewacket posted a 24-hour run of 345 miles.
"A lot of time we were in winds of 16 to 18 knots, and the boat's just doing 12 to 15 constantly," said Disney. "Then a little puff comes along, and suddenly you're up to 19 to 20 knots boatspeed and chatting with your friends."
At that speed, Disney said the boat handles OK, although he wished the rudder were a little smaller. "The rudder's so big that the boat gets a little twitchy. It's a little like walking on eggs. I thought we may have been over-turboed."
The turbo sleds, which saw four of five starters complete the course (Robert McNiel's Zephyros returned to San Francisco 24 hours after the with a broken mast), were allowed to use water ballast, and here Pyewacket had an edge on its competition.
"We had rubberized plastic bags hanging over the side," said Disney. "Most of the other boats just had water jugs on bunks or on the rail. We added some pad eyes on deck to hang the bags from. It allowed us to carry the equivalent of 18 crew."
The only real problem the crew encountered along the way was a frozen steering cable sheave. It freed after being sprayed with some lubricant, but while frozen the Vectran steering cable flattened where it rubbed against the sheave.
A repair was effected while under full sail. "The guys laid out what had to be done, and then said, 'OK, let's do it.'," said Disney. "We had the emergency tiller out, and it only took a couple minutes to change the Vectran. Luckily, there wasn't much pressure on the tiller."
Most of the crew -- Roy P. Disney, Stan Honey, Robbie Haines, Rick Brent, Gregg Hedrick, Ben Mitchell, Dan Crowley, Zan Drejes, Doug Rastello and Dick Loewy --have sailed all three races.
Since its launching in '91, the Santa Cruz 70 Pyewacket has been a consistent winner.
Despite that, Disney expects to take delivery of a new Reichel/Pugh-designed sled
"It's kind of akin to Zephyros," said Disney. "Zephyros is clearly faster. It just hasn't been able to show it because its rig keeps falling."
With a new boat and the same crew, records just may keep falling for Disney."