JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
The sailing vessel Pyewacket was off the Waikiki coast yesterday morning after crossing the finish line at the buoy just off the lighthouse at Diamond Head.
Disney crew still satisfied
Pyewacket comes up short for Transpac record but still wins
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Propelled by brisk tradewinds, Pyewacket crossed the Diamond Head finish line of the Transpac race short of a coveted record yesterday but still snaring the fourth-fastest time in history, at 7 days, 1 hour, 11 minutes and 56 seconds.
The 94-foot sloop headed to Honolulu Harbor and the cheers and embraces of friends and family members.
"The race was frustrating and exhilarating," said co-skipper Roy P. Disney. "The first three days, there was no wind, and the little wind we had was in the wrong direction."
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With his arms outstretched, the little boy with sunburned cheeks shouted, "Daddy! Daddy!" as Pyewacket, a 94-foot boat, neared Pier 9 yesterday. It had been out at sea for a week, the longest Aidan Disney has gone without seeing his father.
As he placed a lei around the neck of Roy Pat Disney, Pyewacket's co-skipper, 3-year-old Aidan said, "Daddy, I missed you."
Though Pyewacket was first to finish this year's biennial Transpacific Yacht Race, many had hoped the modified boat would beat the record for the fastest race time as well.
Still, at 7 days, 1 hour and 11 minutes, the boat achieved the fourth-fastest time in the 101 years of the race and the second-fastest "Barn Door" finish, second only to rival Morning Glory's 6 days, 16 hours and 4 minutes in 2005. That year, Morning Glory and two other boats, including an earlier incarnation of Pyewacket, finished the race in less than 7 days.
The Barn Door prize goes to the boat with the shortest elapsed time in each race.
"It was a good race," said crew member Robbie Haines yesterday as friends and family welcomed them home at Aloha Tower. "We were disappointed. We'd love to have the record, but it wasn't meant to be."
The Pyewacket was modified this year with a longer hull and a taller mast, making it a better yet trickier boat to sail in the 2,225-nautical-mile race.
Before Pyewacket set sail July 15 from San Pedro, Calif., crew members had a special meeting to talk about contingency plans in case the boat sank.
"We talked about some things that we never talked about before," Disney said. "If the keel mechanism failed, as it happens on these boats, there's not a lot of time to debate things."
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
The sailing vessel Pyewacket neared the finishing buoy just off the lighthouse at Diamond Head yesterday morning after seven days at sea for the 2007 Transpacific Yacht Race. Vessels had embarked from San Pedro, Calif., bound for Honolulu July 15.
Roy E. Disney, left, posed with his son, Roy Pat Disney, after the younger Disney co-skippered the 94-foot boat Pyewacket yesterday into Honolulu. Pyewacket was the first to finish in the 44th biennial Transpacific Yacht Race from California to Hawaii.
The Pyewacket also launched without its guiding force. Roy E. Disney, 77, opted out of the race to help with the Disney documentary of another boat of younger crew members, Morning Light.
"It was hard, but a part of it was my own body saying, 'You know, you're getting a bit older. Don't exert yourself and don't get hurt,'" said the elder Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney.
"I appreciate that he had other responsibilities," his son said. "I know he was torn. That's all we talked about. We kept saying, 'Man, I wish Roy was here.'"
After their first three days at sea, their high hopes of crossing the finish line by 2:04 a.m. yesterday drifted away with the wind that came too late.
"The race was frustrating and exhilarating," Roy P. Disney said. "The first three days, there was no wind, and the little wind we had was in the wrong direction.
"We were drifting for quite a few hours out there. It was a minefield and an obstacle course we had to get around."
Pyewacket's crew had a major decision whether to travel north through a high-pressure calm area or south, the more conventional route. They chose to go north.
"It was a pure matter of distance," Disney said. "You either travel south, travel more distance and go faster and make up for that. Or you go north, travel less distance and hope that that works out. This was an 18-hour difference that we couldn't pass up."
The crew does not know if there will be another Transpac for Pyewacket since it was donated to Orange Coast College after the 2005 race.
"We're just glad to be here," Disney said. "It's my 17th trip here on this race, and it never gets old."
Kokopelli 2, which started July 12, three days before Pyewacket, was the second to finish, at 12:53 p.m. Reinrag2 was expected to arrive around 10 last night.