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THE BOATING REPORT

THE BOATING REPORT; A Disney Builds a Yacht for Transpacific Race

By Barbara Lloyd

  • June 27, 1999

It would seem that Roy E. Disney, a yachtsman as well as Walt Disney Company executive, would have more in-house choices than Pinocchio had shoes to figure out what to call his racing boats. But the 69-year-old Disney ended up choosing Pyewacket, a name belonging to the fanciful Siamese cat in the 1958 movie ''Bell, Book and Candle,'' which wasn't a Disney film.

''It was the 1958 movie where Kim Novak played a witch,'' Disney said in a recent telephone interview. ''I saw the play on Broadway too, because my father traveled to New York all the time and took me with him. The name Pyewacket was just one of those things in the back of my brain.'' Disney is the nephew of the late Walt Disney, and a son of Walt's brother, Roy O. Disney.

His second of three yachts named Pyewacket, a 70-foot sloop designed by Bill Lee of Santa Cruz, Calif., broke a 20-year-old record in the 1997 Transpacific Yacht Race. The 1999 rendition of the biennial Pacific crossing, its 40th, is scheduled to begin Tuesday in a series of staggered starts. Disney has built a new boat for the competition, a 73-foot version of Pyewacket, which is scheduled to set sail Saturday from Los Angeles.

But duplicating his last boat's performance -- 7 days 15 hours 24 minutes -- might require as much wishful thinking as hard sailing. Any one of the five big boats in Division I could win, according to Lee, who created the regatta's most famous sailboat, the 67-foot Merlin. Built in 1977 in an old chicken coop in Santa Cruz, the sailboat held the Pacific record for two decades.

In the 1977 race, crew members were still using sextants for navigation instead of satellite-based positioning devices. A noon position report was each race boat's only link to shore. Lee, who was sailing on Merlin, said his boat was in a close match with Drifter, a similar design, for first to finish. Merlin won by 17 minutes after a 2,225-mile crossing to Honolulu.

''We never really knew if we were in the lead,'' Lee said. ''On the last day, a Coast Guard plane circled us. We could see clouds over the island of Hawaii. Then the plane turned abaft of our beam to go and find the other boat. That's the first we knew we had won.''

A change in the rules in the 1989 race allowed for taller masts -- from about 73 feet before to 85 feet -- and for deeper keels, from about 9 before to 11 feet now. The change made for faster boats in a competition that is sailed mostly downwind.

Unlike trans-Atlantic races, where upwind conditions, rough seas and squalls are common, the Transpacific Yacht Race tends to offer a pleasant fusion of sunshine, rolling seas and warmth.

''It's a fact that when you start off California, the conditions can be rough and windy,'' said Robbie Haines, a 1984 Olympic sailing gold medalist who is Disney's project manager. ''But as you cross the Pacific, the air gets warmer and warmer, the wind comes up, and you're sailing in perfect weather.''

The largest race boats are known as sleds, turbo-sleds, or maxi-sleds, depending on their vintage. Their wide, flat bottoms surf easily downwind, usually under huge spinnakers.

In a departure from most big Pacific contenders, Pyewacket was built at Eric Goetz Custom Sailboats, a yard in Bristol, R.I., known for its America's Cup contenders. Like Zephyrus, also 73 feet, Pyewacket was developed by Reichel-Pugh, a design firm in San Diego.

Disney is concerned about Zephyrus, a two-year-old boat. The old Pyewacket was about 30 miles behind Zephyrus in 1997 when the leader broke its mast. Pyewacket went on to break the record as Zephyrus fell back. Disney had not been on board Pyewacket that year because of a broken leg from a car accident. But his son, Roy P. Disney, accepted line honors for him.

The decision to build a new boat for 1999 came after seeing the way Zephyrus performed before its dismasting. ''It scared us all witless,'' Disney said. ''I looked at that thing two years ago, and said, 'I think I see the future.' ''

The three other big-boat competitors, Magnitude, Pegasus and Front Runner, are all designed by Alan Andrews of Long Beach, Calif. They are lighter and smaller by a few feet than Pyewacket and Zephyrus. But any one of them can beat their larger siblings if the wind stays light.

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Monohull course record roy p. disney’s pyewacket 70 sets new record.

Like spectators peering over each other to get a glimpse of a racer approaching from far away, the Race Committee studied the YB tracker through the afternoon yesterday trying to anticipate when the first boat would cross the line. That honor went to Pyewacket 70! In fact, both Pyewacket 70 and Rio100 eclipsed the 2016 monohull course record (Rio100); Pyewacket 70 by an hour, Rio100 by 25 mins. 

But, there was another race that evening - for the big boats that needed to med-tie at the PV Naval base for deep draft vessels. Pyewacket 70 finished with enough time to get to the harbor and tie up before the Carnival Panorama departed at 2200 local time. They won that race too. Rio100 waited briefly for the cruise ship to exit the harbor. 

By press time, six out of seven Class 1 boats are finished (pending Artemis) with Fast Exit II holding on to their Overall lead by 93 corrected time minutes. Both teams fought through the ‘transition zone’ of light winds that surrounded the finish area just 10 miles from the finish. Up to that point, there was enough breeze to defend a lead. But once in the zone, at night and unable to see the wind on the water, it is really a blind man’s bluff game to connect the dots of breeze and get to the finish.

For the internationally diverse crew aboard Hollywood Down Under, Aussie crew Nick Davis was glad to be racing, but especially glad to be done because he’s headed home to Western Australia for the first time in 2 years. Although he spent most of his lock down time in eastern Australia (Sydney) he couldn’t travel even just to his home in western Australia (Perth) due to the AUS strict covid guidelines. After his reunion, he’ll be headed right back to Ray Roberts TP52 racing program in Malaysia.

The fourth boat over the finish line was Good Energy. They finished 20 minutes corrected time behind BadPack. Remembering where they might have left 20 minutes on the race course…Doug recalled, ”We struck a sunfish - a big prehistoric looking fish that just floats on the surface of the ocean warming themselves in the sun. We struck one, and it was pinned on the keel strut. We had to go head to wind, stop the boat and completely reverse direction drop the main.”

Doug McLean, GoodEnergy “The race to Cabo was epic, 20-24 knots the whole way. We had kites up within 30 minutes after the start. Put the 2A up and never took it down. Boat speed virtually matches wind speed. And Pyewacket 70 is even exceeding wind speed. But, if it’s blowing 20, we’re doing 18-20. Trim, ease, trim, ease, non-stop. Some good swells, but these boats plane and don’t need the big Hawaii swell. And they’re wet. If you go forward you’re under water. The immigration process was the easiest ever, 30 minutes and you’re done. George Hershmann, the owner, was stoked. He had a dream last year to buy a boat and bring all his buddies and go to Hawaii. We did Hawaii, and this is the full big race #2. It’s pretty cool.”

Ty Reed, BadPak “Favorite freeze dried meal is mac and cheese because it’s the hardest to mess up and most likely to taste like real thing (or ‘least disappointing’).”

Envolee “Doing 5.5 kts in 8 kts of wind. We have under 100 miles to go and can almost taste the tequila. Progress is slow. But we are not giving up yet. Not much has happened, but a crew member was attacked by a squid during the night, both are expected to survive but the squid may require counseling after the traumatic experience.”

TooLoco: “Had a pair of Brown Footed Boobies hitch a ride on top of mast since yesterday afternoon and cause havoc with instruments.”

Artemis: “Had a great sunset last night with jumping dolphins on the horizon. This is a beautiful part of the race.. Looking forward to some tasty tacos and margaritas this afternoon. Thank you for all the hard work hosting this event, its always a blessing to be sailing down Baja.”

Mirage: “Cruelty free face-off between bird and bow guy was a highlight of the early morning hours....just after an amazing pulled pork dinner.”

Katara: “Comin' in like a herd of turtles!”

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Pyewacket Sets New Newport to Cabo San Lucas Yacht Race Record

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NEWPORT BEACH— It was a record-breaking year for the Newport to Cabo San Lucas Yacht Race. Roy Disney’s Volvo 70,  Pyewacket , sailed the course in record time, beating the previous monohull record by 15 hours. Pyewacket had an elapsed time of 1 day, 21 hours, 22 minutes, and 53 seconds. The previous monohull record of 2 days, 13 hours, 25 minutes, and 58 seconds was set in 2005 by Doug Baker’s Magnitude 80. Raymond Paul’s Botin 65 Artemis also beat the previous course record set by Magnitude 80, coming in this year with an elapsed time of 2 days, 13 hours, 3 minutes, and 52 seconds.

The Mighty Merloe is the only multihull verified to have completed the course faster than Pyewacket. In 2015 Mighty Merloe finished the course in 1 day, 16 hours, 14 minutes, and 14 seconds.

The Newport to Cabo San Lucas Yacht Race, hosted by Newport Harbor Yacht Club (NHYC) since 1971, is an 800-mile yacht race from Newport Beach down the Baja Coastline to Cabo San Lucas. The race this year took place March 19 through the 25.

On March 22 the race chair reported the top nine boats were finishing under three days total elapsed time, the first time that has happened in the Cabo Race.

“We are combing prior years for their previous best, but this seems to be the race that all the boats will find hard to beat their times in future editions,” wrote John Curci, the 2021 Cabo Race Chair, on a March 22 post on the Cabo Race blog.

The Pyewacket crew also provided updates throughout the race on the blog .

“ As you know, we have 85 miles to go… back in 20 knots running with the A3 but went through a soft patch that challenged our patience… it got down to 12 knots…. worried there may be some more land based light spots to navigate – so though the layline times say we finish at 10 a.m., I think that could easily be 11 a.m. (PDT),” wrote the Pyewacket crew on the morning of March 22.

Pyewacket swept the 2021 race taking first overall, first in Division 1, and first to finish. Pyewacket averaged greater than 20 knots over the course and had a corrected time of 2 days, 20 hours, 50 minutes, and 21 seconds.

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Puerto Vallarta Race – Roy P. Disney’s PYEWACKET 70 Sets New Record

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As the competitors in the 2022 Puerto Vallarta Race continue south in what is being reported as “great sailing conditions,” it is worth taking a moment to look at how this game has played out in the past.

To start, Rio100 owns the elapsed time record set in 2016 at 3 ds, 5 hrs, 42 min, 43 sec. Both Rio100 and Pyewacket 70 have been rolling through the fleet like they’re in a car chase. The trackers are currently projecting both of them to finish ahead of the record, with Pyewacket 70 edging out Rio100 by about an hour, and knocking a little more than 4 hours off the Elapsed Time Record. In fact, there could be as many as five Class 1 boats and even Fast Exit in Class 2 breaking the tape in record time. Race Time 18:02:42 on Tuesday is the time to beat to be on that podium.

Describing the basic PV race track at the competitors weather and safety brief each morning, Pyewacket 70’s renowned Navigator/Author/Marine University Educator Peter Isler framed it this way: Three legs (310nm, 440nm, and 270nm respectively) separated by three roughly 15 degree left turns. The first leg is about getting clear of any coastal eddy and into the offshore winds from the W/NW. The Pleasant Depart. The second leg is about VMC – getting down the course and balancing temptation to go offshore for more wind vs turning left to follow those gentle 15 degree turns to the finish and winding up stuck in a light wind bay along the coast. And finally, leg three, known as ‘the restart,’ which begins at Cabo San Lucas and runs to the finish line at Punta Mita. The infamous “wind shadow” cast by the landmass of the Baja Peninsula lingers there and can detain the leaders as the back of the fleet roars up to their transom. The “shadow” could be a light patch just a few miles from shore, or it could be a glass off across the entrance to the Sea of Cortez. Sailors can get stuck there for precious hours or even a day or more trying to poke through. Risk averse sailors plan to just end around, and sail cautious extra miles around the shadow but that could take similar amounts of time. It is a race from here to the finish for sure.

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By Tim Queeney

Yachting World

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Pyewacket 70 and Zoulou take line honours in Caribbean 600

  • Toby Heppell
  • February 23, 2023

Zoulou won the multihull line honours by just 11 seconds in the RORC Caribbean 600 while Pyewacket 70 took the monohull spoils

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Roy P. Disney’s Pyewacket 70 (USA) has taken Monohull Line Honours in the 2023 RORC Caribbean 600 in an elapsed time of 42 hours 45 mins 06 secs. Two generations of the Disney family have raced boats under the Pyewacket name. The latest Pyewacket 70 , is a turbo-charged Volvo 70 with a taller mast, lighter hull and deeper keel than the original box-rule. Pyewacket 70 is the fastest of Disney dynasty and the first to take Monohull Line Honours in the RORC Caribbean 600.

The next monohull to finish the RORC Caribbean 600 was Volvo 70 I Love Poland (POL), skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski. Pyewacket 70 has set the bar for the overall win under IRC for the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. The vast majority of the fleet are expected to finish the race over the next two days.

“RP [Roy Pat Disney] thank you for letting us take your toy and racing the Caribbean 600 in a successful manner. We are so disappointed you are not with us to enjoy this spectacular victory,” commented Ben Mitchell the stand-in skipper for Roy Pat Disney who was not on board due to knee surgery. “The real wow factor is that Pyewacket 70 was here for the RORC 600 and this team is so good.

pyewacket sailboat

Pyewacket 70 took the monhull line honours. Photo: Arthur Daniel/RORC

“We had a great mix of crew that know this course very well, and crew like me who experienced this wonderful race for the first time. Each leg is like a race in itself, which keeps everybody going, but on a boat like Pyewacket 70 those legs become very short. Getting any sleep is a challenge as the whole crew is up for every manoeuvre.”

“The name of the game for the navigator is to study the weather and the nuances in this race are so different. When you get out there all your expectations can be blown,” commented crew member Peter Isler. “I had pre-conceptions of what the tactics are at different points in the race and I will say at least half the time I was wrong!

“In this race you have to keep your eyes open and understand the fundamentals of weather and be ready to adjust to the changes. A great example was going through the lee of Guadeloupe; it is the big X-Factor in this race and a total nightmare for navigators. It seems so random as to where you go to get through that wind-hole and this year was unlike any other experience I have had going through the lee.”

pyewacket sailboat

It was a tight battle for the multihulls Zoulou and Maserati. Photo: James Tomlinson

Tight battle for multihull line honours

Earlier a titanic battle for Multihull line honours had seen MOD70 Zoulou sailed by Erik Maris (FRA) triumph by 11 Seconds over Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Multi70 (ITA). After 30 hours of racing at speeds approaching 40 knots, it will have been a tough loss for the Maserati team who were also second last year by just two minutes from Jason Carroll’s record-breaking MOD 70 Argo .

“That was an incredible race with such a close finish,” commented Zoulou ’s Erik Maris. “We were ahead until midnight on the first day but we lost Maserati when they were very fast on their foils going down to Guadeloupe.

“Maserati sailed really well on the second day but on the penultimate leg (Barbuda to Redonda), they lost themselves under a cloud, just as Zoulou had done in the RORC Transatlantic Race. We came back together and the lead changed many times on the leg to Redonda. The last leg was really tough as the wind speed and direction was very unstable, but we managed to pass them on the one that counts.

“It was as close as it gets; an incredible finish and great fun. I decided to get into the MOD70 Class to do all the RORC races, that was the plan and we intend to do the Rolex Fastnet Race later this year.”

You can follow the rest of the fleet via the Caribbean 600 fleet tracker .

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Winners of 2021 Transpac race named after days of sailing the Pacific

Pyewacket was the first to cross the finish line in this year’s Transpac.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After days of sailing the open sea, the first boat in the 2021 Transpacific Yacht Race arrived in Honolulu early Friday morning.

Officials named the crew aboard the Pyewacket as winners of the 51st Transpac competition.

The yacht crossed the finish line at Diamond Head just before 3 a.m. and docked at Aloha Tower.

It took the crew about five days and 17 hours to traverse the Pacific Ocean, having started their journey in California. The Pyewacket clocked in the second fastest monohull time in Transpac history.

For the boat’s owner and skipper, Roy Disney — the great nephew of the iconic Walt Disney — it was his 25th time crossing the pacific for the race. It was also his 4th time winning the Barn Door Trophy.

“I’m fortunate that I’m able to sail with a group very close friends, who are family to me,” said Disney.

“You’ll be surprised when push goes to shove, you find out who people are...well I want to be with these people. And so it’s an extra joy, to do it well and to do it with these group of friends.”

Boaters in the 51st Transpacific Yacht Race set sail to Hawaii

Hawaii boat, Hookolohe, arrived about seven hours after the Pyewacket — winning its division.

The boat led by skipper, Cecil Rossi, spent nine days, 22 hours and 39 minutes racing across the Pacific.

“It was a pretty good feeling, it was great seeing home,” said Travis Foster, a crew member on the Hookolohe. “I’ve seen it coming in on a plane but its a very different experience coming in after nine days on the ocean and not seeing anything.”

This was Foster’s first time competing in Transpac, sailing alongside his father and brother.

He said he’ll compete again next year as long as he can be on a boat as nice as the Hookolohe.

To celebrate the big win, they had steak and lobster for dinner on their last night.

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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Pyewacket Breaks Bermuda Race Record

  • By Stuart Streuli
  • Updated: June 17, 2002

It hasn’t been an easy run for the 182 boats that entered this year’s Newport Bermuda Race. “This is one of toughest ones I’ve tried,” said Sailing World associate editor Tony Bessinger, a veteran ocean racer who’s navigating for George David’s IMS 50 Idler. “It’s a really tight reach and it’s blowing hard. I’d say there’s a lot of people in this fleet who’ve never been seasick who are sea sick.”

Bessigner was about 45 miles from the finish line when he checked in at just before 8:30 a.m. Monday. According to the race website (www.bermudarace.com) Roy Disney’s Pyewacket was the first boat to finish, crossing the line Sunday evening just before 8 p.m. for a total elapsed time of 53h:39m:22s, nearly four hours better than the previous record. George Coumantaros’ Boomerang, which held the former record, also finished inside its former time, coming in 20 minutes or so after Pyewacket.

As might be expected with record breaking conditions, some boats have struggled in the strong southwesterly breeze. No fewer than seven boats have had to drop out. Fred Detwiler’s Trader, an Andrews 70, had its mast break in three different places Sunday night when it fell off the backside of a wave. Two boats have reportedly lost crew members over the side, but both were recovered.

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Pyewacket 70 first to finish 2022 Islands Race

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With a solid result in the Islands Race, an overall victory and course record in the Cabo Race, and missing out on a division win in the recent Ensenada Race by just a handful of minutes, the team and the boat are clearly firing on all cylinders.

With Transpac just around the corner, we wanted to take the opportunity to check in with Pyewacket 70 crewmember and sailmaker Brian Janney, manager of North Sails in San Diego, to learn more about the team’s recent efforts in prepping for the (hopefully) downwind blast to Hawaii. 

Sailing Anarchy : First off, tell us a little bit about the Pyewacket 70 program and the new boat if you could. 

Brian Janney : History-wise, the Pyewacket program started with Roy’s dad, who is Roy E. Disney. But I’m sailing with Roy P. Disney, who’s been racing for many years. The core group of guys on the program have been sailing together for over 20 years, which is kind of cool.

With this boat, I was given the opportunity to take the lead on the sail inventory which has been really fun and exciting. When we got the boat, most of the sails were in pretty good shape. The Black Jack guys (in Australia) didn’t do much sailing with the boat before they got their 100-footer. So we basically just sailed the boat for a year with what we had and as we learned the boat, we upgraded some things and changed some things and just took some evolutionary steps forward. 

SA : So tell us a bit about the boat itself. I always see Pyewacket 70 listed as a ‘modified’ Volvo 70. What’s different on it? Just a taller rig and a different keel, or what?

BJ : Well, partly. Compared to a normal Volvo 70, we’ve got 3 more meters of rig. So where our headstay ends is the normal masthead position for a Volvo 70. The keel is also both deeper and lighter. You know, the further away the weight in the bulb is, the lighter you can go and still get the same righting moment. And the bow sprit is longer too.

The Aussies did all of those modifications. They also took out the grinding pedestals in the cockpit and put the hydraulic winches in. When we got the boat, it was really nice because all of that work was already done. 

SA : Quite a change from the Andrews 70, I imagine. Tell me a bit about the learning curve. 

BJ : Yeah it’s a completely different type of boat, but the more that we sail it, the more that we keep learning. It’s been great this year, because we’ve had Peter Isler sailing with us and he runs a data log for the entire race, and afterwards we take our speed team and analyze all of that data to further refine our sail crossover chart and board up/ down positions. We are still learning the boat and getting faster with it, all the time. 

SA : Earlier in our chat, you mentioned taking some evolutionary steps forward with the boat. What were those steps?

BJ : We added two new sails to the inventory. One was an A2 and one was an A3. The boat didn’t really have a real downwind type sail for the races that they had been doing in Australia. But being on the west coast and with the races that we are doing, which include a lot of running, we opted to build a proper A2. Quite a big sail!

With this type of boat, you basically can’t run a big spinnaker once it starts blowing over about 17 because the boat starts going too fast, the sail shape is too full, and the shape can’t keep up with the boat speed and the apparent wind shift. So the next sail that we built was an A3. That’s the sail that we used all the way to Cabo and it was great.

pyewacket sailboat

BJ : With these modern flying sails we’ve now got what we call Helix load-sharing sails . Some companies call them cable-less sails, but we call them Helix. And so we’ve got one of those for the A3. That’s the sail that we used all the way to Cabo and that was great. Before, when you had a furling sail that depended on a cable, you would design the sail to hang off that cable.

With the old style sails, it was hard to get tension on the cable to furl the sails, and they would always be sagging to leeward. The new style sail sits more centered or even to weather, with less load and it provides more lift. So there’s also more of a fast, bow-up attitude. The sail is lifting the bow up out of the waves more rather than pushing it down into the water, so it’s just a much more efficient and faster sail. The interesting thing here is that it’s not just taking away the cable that’s important, it’s a full change in how you design the sail. So it’s more than just the load sharing on the sail, it’s an entirely different design. 

We have a load cell on the end of our bowsprit and we would sail the old A3 with 10 tons of load. With the new Helix sail, because it doesn’t depend on the cable, we are at 6 tons of load, so that’s a pretty big load reduction just because of a different style sail, and a new sail technology. We can only put 12 tons of load on the mast; that’s adding up the spinnaker tack point, stay sails, and everything else. All of those loads together have to be less than 12 tons. On these big boats, the load-sharing sails mean that things can get lighter, and it just relaxes the whole boat and makes it perform better.

Other companies are doing the same principal, but we are lucky with our 3di technology that we think we have a better solution on how to do it. With other companies, you’ll see like a panel that goes vertically up the luff of the sails and that’s because they’re trying to get the fibers to go straight up the luff. With the 3di, we are able to put more tapes up the luff to take more of the load. 

SA : Very cool to track this progress that’s being made on Grand Prix offshore racing yachts. What is the trickle-down effect for this technology? How does it apply to the every-man and do they have an application for the masses?

BJ : We are doing a cruising version of the Helix load-sharing sails, which is pretty cool. More and more cruisers and club racers are requesting furling spinnakers. When you have a spinnaker or gennaker greater than 60% mid-girth or so, it’s a lot safer to do top down furling, so that’s where the cable starts rotating. The tack stays in place and the furl starts at the head. It sucks up the leech and the middle, deeper part of the sail. 

In the past, cruisers and racers that wanted to furl their spinnaker wanted to have the cable be exterior of the luff. The spinnaker is separate from the cable when it’s unfurled. With this helix gennaker, we can put the cable inside the luff which makes furling so much more simple.

If the breeze comes up all of a sudden, and you weren’t ready for it… if you know you can furl the sail easily every time, you’re far more likely to use it. If you don’t have confidence in your sail handling for whatever reason, you’re probably not going to fly it as often. If it’s complicated or hard to use, they’re probably not going to use it, and that’s where the new Helix load-sharing sails come in; they’re easier to furl quickly and easier to use. 

SA : Very interesting chat Brian, thanks for that! And best of luck in Transpac! 

BJ : My pleasure. Tell Scot to get to work!

Contact [email protected] in San Diego if you have any sail making needs.

– Ronnie Simpson

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Published on July 12th, 2022 | by Editor

Life onboard the fastest boat in the fleet

Published on July 12th, 2022 by Editor -->

Among the 58 teams still on the 2070 nm Pacific Cup course is Pyewacket 70, and after getting underway on the last of the staggered start days (July 4, 5, 7, 8), they are leading the charge from San Francisco, California to Kaneohe, Hawaii. Navigator Peter Isler provides this update from the Pacific Ocean on July 12, 2022:

Its day’s like today that I really think I have the world’s best job.

Sure, I could use a nice long siesta right now (and instead, I’m splitting my time watching clouds on deck and waiting to download the next weather GRIB file that comes in every 3 hours). And, yes I’ll be suffering the rest of the race (about 2 days) with no more creamer to add to my coffee which me and my team mates seem to enjoy every few hours.

And there’s the harsh reality that the race record, set by Rio100 in 2016 (5 days, 2 hours, 41 minutes and 13 seconds) is completely out of reach this year because we have been running downwind in 11 knots of wind for a couple days.

pyewacket sailboat

But these are little peeves.

On the other side of the token, I get to sail on an ultra well-prepared, amazing sailboat – Pyewacket70, a turbo-charged Volvo 70 with some of the best sailors on the planet. The weather, albeit featuring much lighter than average winds, turns this powerful, almost brutal apparent wind machine into an elegant sailing yacht, that slips along downwind sailing three knots faster than the wind speed with hardly any spray on deck.

In last year’s, much windier race to Hawaii (Transpac 2021) the entire on-watch crew, attired in dry tops and full foulies, stood behind the steering wheels – because it was too wet to sit even on the windward deck because of the constant flow of water pouring aft from the bow wave’s spray. The stack of sails on the windward side prevented any sort of view to windward. However, this year, in the much milder conditions – foulweather gear has been optional for most of the race, and in the heat of the day – shorts and t-shirts. And the sails are stacked farther forward – creating a nice seating place for the on-watch crew who have full view of the horizon.

There have been some epic clouds to watch (and interpret), clear night time skies with a huge waxing moon that must be a day or two from complete fullness. Whales, sharks, flying fish, seabirds… it’s all been enjoyed while we try to sail this boat to the island of Oahu as fast as possible.

The extra visibility (and slower speeds) gives everyone a clear view of the ever growing collection of plastic waste floating out here – over a thousand miles from the nearest land. We’ve had to do two back-downs today since daybreak to clear plastic and floating rope that is too tough to cut through with our leading edge knife in the keel fin.

It’s passages like this one that provide further resolve to try and minimize my plastic footprint.

Even in light/moderate winds, Pyewacket70 is so fast, pulling the apparent wind so far forward that our downwind headsail inventory features three jibs…. a triple head rig with the giant masthead genoa-like sail set out at the tip of bowsprit and sheeted off a “stick”/outrigger pole back just in front of the steering wheels.

Inside this MH0 are two staysails, a bigger one that fills in the slot of our fractional jib and a smaller staysail that hoists partway up the mast. The shots taken by our professional drone pilot Kyle Langford ( click here ) give you an idea of the way this boat slices through the wind sailing downwind – our apparent wind is well ahead of the beam – we are simply too fast for the rounder spinnaker/gennaker sails that most of the Pacific Cup fleet will be using now.

We’ve all slotted into the 4-on 4-off watch system by now (day five) and the boat gets pushed hard 24/7 while the crew talks about all the sorts of things crews talk about… from sailing sea stories (we’ve heard lots of those – especially from the around the world veterans that make up a good portion of the crew), to what is the best freeze dried meal available in the day box and how to best prepare it – it turns out you can become quite a connoisseur of these lightweight meals.

The mild conditions have also provided an opportunity for a sunset fellowship hour, where the sea stories get even more plentiful, replete with some gourmet snacks that must be hidden very well to last this long on a boat where a meal is a bag of freeze dried something or other that gets reconstituted by a cup or two of boiling water. The kettle is almost always warm on the Pyewacket.

Lying ahead, our destination is Oahu, an island that is no stranger to boats named Pyewacket and skippered by men named Roy Disney. Our skipper Roy Pat, and his dad Roy, have been sailing (and often winning) in ocean races from the west coast to the Hawaiian Islands for decades and we on the crew our proud to be part of that continuing tradition.

Although the race record is out of touch, we still have a shot at doing very well on handicap but with the withdrawal of our near sister ship Wizard (due to structural issues identified a few days before the start), our closest competitor is over 200 miles astern and dropping back.

So we are playing the “handicap” game, and hoping we get better conditions than the fleet of boats that trails behind us – some by almost 600 miles. We can only control where we go and how we sail the boat and let Mother Nature decide who gets the best winds.

Two days to go and the weather models are showing that we will “finally” be getting into some decent trade winds as we close in on the islands… that will give us a chance to play with our steed in her favored conditions – fresh 20+ knots of winds going downwind. We’ll have to put our foulweather gear back on – but we will gladly do so to get to see some consistent over 20 knot boat speeds that this boat can do without breaking a sweat.

Well time for me to get back to the best job in the world – downloading GRIB files and working with the crew to figure out the fastest way to get to the finish line – that is, as I wrap up this, exactly 783.9 nautical miles from our present position.

pyewacket sailboat

Tags: Pacific Cup , Peter Isler , Pyewacket , Roy Pat Disney

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pyewacket sailboat

pyewacket sailboat

Well, according to early race results you can't lose. The first race for Pyewacket was the Ô99 Miami-Montego Bay Classic in which Pyewacket placed first in class and first overall on IMS corrected time. It averaged 10.5 knots over the entire course, missing the record by only two hours. In the Newport-to-Ensenada race last month Pyewacket was first to finish and first in the sled division. Second place in that class was one of my own designs Stealth Chicken. (Yeah Bob!) Clearly Pyewacket will be the boat to beat for some time to come on the West Coast.

While in San Diego I got to have a good look at her, up close, and this is probably the most spectacularly good-looking race boat I have ever seen. It's perfect in every way. To begin with, it's beautiful. The hull lines are sensuous and svelte. The entry is long and hollow. The forefoot knuckle is well out of the water with about 24 inches of overhang showing below the knuckle. The sheerline is dead straight. But blended with the hull lines, it still looks great.

Note how far aft max beam is on this design and how fine the deck line is forward. The half angle at the deck is only 11.25 degrees. This boat is a needle. The D/L of this design is 48.54. Pyewacket's hull lines are a product of exhaustive performance simulation computer analysis combined with tank testing. L/B is minimal at 4.71.

On deck this boat is very clean. Crew weight is kept well forward in the long cockpit. There are two coffee grinders, one oriented fore and aft and one oriented athwartships. I presume the fore and aft grinder is used for trimming the headsails and the athwartships grinder trims the mainsail. The deck is totally Òeroded" aft of the twin wheels to reduce weight. Sheeting angles for the small jibs are 8 degrees and 10.5 degrees for the genoas.

The SA/D is 36.94. Spreaders are in line. The spar is carbon fiber by Hall Spars. There is modest mainsail overlap on the backstay.

The interior is all business. The big nav station is aft of the companionway, under the low bridge deck and faces aft. The galley is adequate and uses the engine box for the sink counter. There is an enclosed head forward. That's one head for at least 20 crewmembers. ÒTake a number please." There are dedicated crew bins to port of the companionway where the crew can stow their personal items like Chap Stick and crash helmets. The forward third of the hull is all sail stowage.

Pyewacket is primarily designed as a Transpac record beater. This race is near and dear to Roy Disney. In his old Santa Cruz 70 Pyewacket, Mr. Disney broke the 20-year-old course record. If all goes according to plan the new Pyewacket will make short work of the new course record.

This is an amazing project. I doubt we will see another race boat effort soon that will match the intensity and thoroughness of this project. Congrats to all involved.

Also in Perry on Design

  • Full Circle 30
  • Tanton No. 309
  • Dragonfly 40
  • Wallyrocket 51

Also from Robert H. Perry

pyewacket sailboat

IMAGES

  1. Delivery for Roy Disney's 'Pyewacket' Is Usually Across an Ocean

    pyewacket sailboat

  2. Pyewacket

    pyewacket sailboat

  3. Pyewacket wins overall Vallarta Race >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

    pyewacket sailboat

  4. Pyewacket Destroys Newport Cabo Record

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  5. easy as pye

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  6. PYEWACKET Yacht Photos

    pyewacket sailboat

VIDEO

  1. Movie: Pyewacket #shorts

  2. Sonicwake V2 DURABILITY Review w/ RC Boat CRASH Compilation

  3. Kayacat sailing test (PTC Drone Short)

  4. Pyewacket

  5. SOFT PADEYE

  6. Installing Pypilot (an autopilot based on Raspberry pi) on a sailboat

COMMENTS

  1. Delivery for Roy Disney's 'Pyewacket' Is Usually Across an Ocean

    After Roy Disney's modified Volvo 70 Pyewacket took first in its division in the PV Race in March, the sailing world suddenly hit the world's largest wind hole. There isn't a regatta on the horizon for months. The highly-anticipated Tahiti Transpac — which Pyewacket was keen to sail in — suddenly vaporized, and all crews were stuck in ...

  2. Pyewacket's Barn Door Burner

    Pyewacket 70 boat captain Mark Callahan keeps an eye on the horizon while 11th Hour Racing co-skipper Mark ­Towill keeps the turbocharged Volvo 70 at pace. Peter Isler. Close your eyes and ...

  3. Pyewacket wins Barn Door Trophy and sets 24 hour record in Transpac

    Pyewacket wins Barn Door Trophy and sets 24 hour record in Transpac by Transpacific Yacht Club 24 Jul 2021 01:13 PDT From July 13 ... This boat is a beast, but a fun beast." As Telefonica, this boat participated in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, but has since been turbo-charged with a spar 3 meters taller and a keel 2 meters deeper than VO 70 ...

  4. Pyewacket Sails to a Win in the Puerto Vallarta Race

    Roy Pat Disney's San Diego-based Andrews 68 Pyewacket is on a roll. The sled won San Diego Yacht Club's Islands Race (Point Fermin to San Diego) overall on February 9-10. Now they've won the Puerto Vallarta International Yacht Race overall too. Race starts began on Thursday, February 22, and the early-starting boats enjoyed a fresh westerly.

  5. SDYC's Puerto Vallarta Race

    In fact, it's the same number of miles sailed by the same Andrews 68 Pyewacket in 2018, the last time Roy P. Disney won this race. Disney is now a record 4-time PV Race Overall winner (1992, 1998, 2018, and 2024). Roy Disney: "PV 1992 was our first race on our new Santa Cruz 70, where we finished in front of the hotels, with a harrowing finish.

  6. THE BOATING REPORT; A Disney Builds a Yacht for Transpacific Race

    Disney has built a new boat for the competition, a 73-foot version of Pyewacket, which is scheduled to set sail Saturday from Los Angeles. But duplicating his last boat's performance -- 7 days 15 ...

  7. Transpac: Pyewacket wins Barn Door

    Transpac: Pyewacket wins Barn Door. (July 23, 2021) - Five days, 16 hours, 53 minutes and 20 seconds since starting off San Pedro in Los Angeles last Saturday, the team on Roy Disney's turbo ...

  8. SDYC's Puerto Vallarta Race

    That honor went to Pyewacket 70! In fact, both Pyewacket 70 and Rio100 eclipsed the 2016 monohull course record (Rio100); Pyewacket 70 by an hour, Rio100 by 25 mins. But, there was another race that evening - for the big boats that needed to med-tie at the PV Naval base for deep draft vessels.

  9. Pyewacket Sets New Newport to Cabo San Lucas Yacht Race Record

    NEWPORT BEACH— It was a record-breaking year for the Newport to Cabo San Lucas Yacht Race. Roy Disney's Volvo 70, Pyewacket, sailed the course in record time, beating the previous monohull record by 15 hours.Pyewacket had an elapsed time of 1 day, 21 hours, 22 minutes, and 53 seconds.The previous monohull record of 2 days, 13 hours, 25 minutes, and 58 seconds was set in 2005 by Doug Baker ...

  10. Roy P. Disney's PYEWACKET 70 Sets New Record

    The trackers are currently projecting both of them to finish ahead of the record, with Pyewacket 70 edging out Rio100 by about an hour, and knocking a little more than 4 hours off the Elapsed Time Record. In fact, there could be as many as five Class 1 boats and even Fast Exit in Class 2 breaking the tape in record time.

  11. Pyewacket 70 and Zoulou take line honours in Caribbean 600

    Two generations of the Disney family have raced boats under the Pyewacket name. The latest Pyewacket 70 , is a turbo-charged Volvo 70 with a taller mast, lighter hull and deeper keel than the ...

  12. Pyewacket 70 takes Monohull Line Honours in the RORC Caribbean 600

    Roy P. Disney's Pyewacket 70 (USA) has taken Monohull Line Honours in the 2023 RORC Caribbean 600 in an elapsed time of 42 hours 45 mins 06 secs. Two generations of the Disney family have raced boats under the Pyewacket name. The latest Pyewacket 70 is a turbo-charged Volvo 70 with a taller mast, lighter hull and deeper keel than the original ...

  13. Pyewacket wins Puerto Vallarta Race >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

    ORR 2. Pyewacket sailed the least number of miles to complete the course (1092 nm, 25 miles fewer than the race average). In fact, it's the same number of miles sailed by the same Andrews 68 ...

  14. Roy Disney's Pyewacket Big Boat Winner

    Roy Disney's Pyewacket Big Boat Winner. by Regatta Press Officer on 4 Mar 2002. Wind and sea conditions at the 22nd annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta were perfect for the first day of racing with 12 to 15 knots of northeast breeze and flat-to-moderate seas. Two hundred and thirty boats participated in 16 classes with skippers from 31 countries.

  15. Winners of 2021 Transpac race named after days of sailing the Pacific

    The Pyewacket clocked in the second fastest monohull time in Transpac history. For the boat's owner and skipper, Roy Disney — the great nephew of the iconic Walt Disney — it was his 25th ...

  16. PDF Record-time sailboat slips into marina Boat that finished first

    boat. WINNING BOAT: (L-R) Hogan Beatie, 32, of Sausalito California and Willie Peavis, 25, of Lymington, U.K, unload equipment, Tuesday from the sailboat Pyewacket.The Pyewacket won the Chicago to Mackinac sailboat race with the record time of 23 hours and thirty minutes. The boat was at Eldean marina being readied for the trip back to California

  17. Hotseat Interview: Roy Disney

    Hotseat Interview: Roy Disney. Anyone who follows high-end sailing will be familiar with Roy Disney s long line of Pyewacket s, boats that have defined state-of-the-art sailing for more than a decade. But few people know the true extent of Disney s love affair with the Transpac Race, an event that he has been active in for the past four decades ...

  18. Pyewacket Breaks Bermuda Race Record

    According to the race website (www.bermudarace.com) Roy Disney s Pyewacket was the first boat to finish, crossing the line Sunday evening just before 8 p.m. for a total elapsed time of 53h:39m:22s ...

  19. Pyewacket 70 first to finish 2022 Islands Race

    The 2022 Islands Race, co-hosted by San Diego Yacht Club and Newport Harbor Yacht Club, has been a known for a decade as the start to the offshore sailing season. The 142 nautical mile race around Catalina and San Clemente Islands featured 42 boats this year — the biggest turn out in its 13 year history. One boat in particular, Pyewacket 70 ...

  20. Pyewacket 70 sweeps Islands Race

    Right from the start of the race, Pyewacket 70 gained a solid lead on the rest of the fleet. In fact, the team finished in San Diego three hours before the next boat, with an elapsed time of 12 ...

  21. why pye flies

    why pye flies. Leading into this summer's Transpac race, Roy P. Disney's modified Volvo 70 Pyewacket 70 has been absolutely killing it this spring in the waters off of Southern California and the Baja Peninsula. While a turboed Volvo 70 being first to finish a yacht race isn't necessarily impressive, what is impressive is the team's ...

  22. Life onboard the fastest boat in the fleet

    Among the 58 teams still on the 2070 nm Pacific Cup course is Pyewacket 70, and after getting underway on the last of the staggered start days (July 4, 5, 7, 8), they are leading the charge from ...

  23. Pyewacket

    Pyewacket's hull lines are a product of exhaustive performance simulation computer analysis combined with tank testing. L/B is minimal at 4.71. On deck this boat is very clean. Crew weight is kept well forward in the long cockpit. There are two coffee grinders, one oriented fore and aft and one oriented athwartships.