Sailor Roy E. Disney died on Dec. 16, 2009, after a year-long battle with stomach cancer. He was 79.
Son of Roy O. Disney and nephew of Walt Disney, Roy was well known for challenging executives in the Disney empire and helped to lead an investor uprising that eventually ended with the departure of Michael Eisner as the Disney Company’s chief executive and chairman.
But Disney was also well know for his sailing pursuits. He set numerous Pacific Ocean racing records and won the 1999 Transpac race aboard his boat Pyewacket &mdash a 75-foot Reichel-Pugh design &mdash in a little more than seven days. He was also the first person to hold both Transpac and Newport to Bermuda race records simultaneously, completing the 2002 race with a time of 53hrs:39mins: 22secs, a record that has yet to be beaten.
Between 1975 and 2009 Disney skippered 15 Transpac races. He never won overall honors on corrected handicap time, but was a fierce competitor for the fastest elapsed time. Time and again he succeeded in being the fastest to sail from California to Hawaii.
He will be remembered for dedication, commitment and generosity to the sport and to the Transpacific Yacht Club where he served as a director.
Roy E. Disney is survived by his wife Leslie DeMeuse-Disney, former wife of 52 years, Patricia Dailey Disney and four of their children.