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Disney heir rescues friend and rival in Transpac Race

Aug 29, 2019
The Transpac race boat OEX at the start.

The Transpac race boat OEX at the start.

Sharon Green/Transpac Race

The grandnephew of Walt Disney abandoned the 50th running of the Transpac to save the crew of a rival sailboat taking on water 200 miles from land.

Roy Pat Disney, skipper of the Andrews 70 Pyewacket, heard a radio distress call early on July 15 from someone aboard the Santa Cruz 70 OEX. Disney also heard the words “abandon ship,” according to an account published in the Washington Post.

OEX sustained serious rudder damage that caused the yacht to take on water. Disney and his crew rescued all nine people aboard the vessel within an hour of the distress call. They remained aboard the flooding OEX until Pyewacket was within sight. OEX later sank.

OEX was owned by John Sangmeister, an accomplished sailor who sailed with Dennis Connor in the 1986-87 America’s Cup. Disney has a strong sailing record of his own, twice setting Transpac records and winning the Transpac’s Barn Door Trophy three times as the first monohull finisher.

The combined crews of OEX and Pyewacket after returning to Southern California.

Allyson Bunting/Transpac Race

There were 90 entrants in this year’s edition of the Transpac, a 2,225-nm race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. The first wave left Point Fermin on July 10, followed by more starts on July 12 and 13. Eight teams retired en route. The first running of the race, now held every two years, was in 1906.

Jason Caroll’s MOD 70 trimaran Argo was first to finish the race in an elapsed time of 04:11:20:32, with a corrected time of 08:06:34:59. Comanche, a Verdier/VPLP 100 run by Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant, won the Barn Door Trophy with a corrected time of 09:09:44:13.

First overall in the ORR went to Hamachi, a J/125 run by Shawn Dougherty and Jason Andrews, with a corrected time of 08:00:52:37. The Merlin Trophy was awarded to Rio 100, a Bakewell-White 100 skippered by Manouch Moshayedi, with a corrected time of 09:07:49:39. The Storm Trysail Trophy hadn’t yet been awarded as of press time.

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