Cork Week Patron Roy Disney died yesterday aged 79. An avid ocean sailor who won the California-to-Hawaii Transpacific Yacht Race in record time a decade ago and backed programmes to bring youth to the sport including a special bursary at the Royal Cork, named the Pyewacket Award, after Disney's Yacht. He died on Wednesday after a year-long battle with stomach cancer, according to a Walt Disney Company spokesman.
"He was very competitive, but we always had a lot of fun on the boat," said Gregg Hedrick, who managed Disney's boats and sailed 100,000 miles with him over 24 years. "We always had the best sailors on the boat and that was what made it fun 'cause he was such a good sailor and he could hold his own with any of them."
Disney based in California but with a home in Kilbrittain in Co. Cork was a regular backer of Ireland's top fun regatta.
In 2006 sailing faster than the wind became a reality in Cork Harbour when Disney brought his super fast Maxi Z86 to Cork for one of the most enthralling races of all time. Read the full story of that visit here.
Below: Cork Week Chairman, Ian Venner presents the 2006 Notice of Race to Cork Week International Patron Roy Disney, at the Lifeboats fundraising lunch supported by Afloat magazine. Photo: Bob Bateman.