Ocean Racing World Mourns Roy Disney

Roy Disney at the Helm of Pyewacket

Roy Disney at the Helm of Pyewacket

Roy Disney, whose family legacy is forever etched in the memories of generations of children, and whose accomplishments as an open ocean sailor were truly remarkable, died last week at the age of 79.  The colorful Disney built and helmed a number of open class racers, all named Pyewacket, the name of the witch’s cat in the 1858 Disney film “Bell, Book & Candle.”  Disney’s boats typically employed cutting-edge technology and set several elapsed time records in races such as the Transpacific Yacht Race, known familiarly as the Transpac, as well as the Newport-Bermuda Race and the Chicago-Mackinac Race.

Roy Disney's Pyewacket Shows its Canting Keel

Roy Disney's Pyewacket Shows its Canting Keel -- Photo by Thierry Martinez

Gary Jobson, president of US SAILING, had this to say about what Disney meant to the sport: “Roy Disney was great for the sport of sailing. He set a high example for all of us, as a top competitor, visionary and philanthropist. Roy has inspired so many young people to follow their dream of life on the water. Our sport will miss him.”

According to U.S. Sailing, Disney’s involvement in the sport goes back decades.  As a long-time, reliable supporter of the sport, his impact has been has been felt across the board: from youth sailing to the Olympic level of the sport and beyond.  In 2008, US SAILING, national governing body of the sport, awarded Disney its prestigious Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy for his outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing in the U.S. over many years. When US SAILING created the medalist donor program to support the athletes of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, Disney was the first donor to jump on board at the highest level.  He was also a top contributor to the California International Sailing Association and several other sailing organizations.

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