Disneys version av “downsizing”.
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) 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, Calif., 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-fiber mast and a hydraulic keel that retracts from 13 1/2 to 8 1/2 feet “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.”
Thirty-one 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 220 n.m. to Magdalena Bay, famous for its friendly migrating whales; 152 n.m. to lively Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the Baja peninsula, and the last 286 n.m. 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 throwouts.
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.”