Roy Disney was Newport sailing icon

He was a member of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club and donated his yacht, Pyewacket, to OCC.

December 16, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

Roy Edward Disney, who for decades toiled in the shadow of his famous uncle but put his own stamp on the Walt Disney Co., died Wednesday in Newport Beach. He was 79.

He died at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian after a yearlong fight with stomach cancer, Disney Co. officials said in a news release.

The Burbank resident was a seafaring icon who sailed the waters off Newport Beach, and was a member of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.


Born Jan. 10, 1930, in Los Angeles, he was the only child of Edna and Roy O. Disney, co-founder of Disney Studios.

A graduate of Pomona College, he initially shied away from the studio, instead working as a film editor on the television police series “Dragnet.”

His father arranged a job at the company when Roy Disney was laid off.

In 2005, he donated his prize-winning yacht, the 86-foot Pyewacket, to Orange Coast College’s School of Sailing and Seamanship.

The year before, Disney’s yacht placed third in the Transpac sailing race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. In 1999, he and a 12-member crew won the biannual race in record time. Disney’s gift of the yacht marked his retirement from competitive sailing.

He later went on to serve as honorary chairman of the biennial First Team Real Estate Invitational Regatta for the Hoag Cup. All of the proceeds benefited the Heart and Vascular Institute at Hoag.

“Most of the time we’re just out there because there is a cup and we go to compete, but it’s nice to do this kind of event and have it benefit a really important charity,” Disney said after winning the Class 1 division aboard Pyewacket in 2005.

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