MACKINAC ISLAND – Areté and Il Mostro spent much of Saturday morning battling for the top spot in the Port Huron-to-Mackinac Island sailboat race.
Just how close were they? Saying they could see each other would be a bit of an understatement.
“Oh yeah,” Areté owner Rick Warner said when asked if he could see Il Mostro for long stretches of the race. “Their eyeballs.”
While they spent much of the race in close proximity, it was a late move by Areté that sprung the 60-foot trimaran ahead and helped it to first-to-finish honors in the race. Areté crossed the finish line at 12:53 p.m., finishing with an elapsed time of 23 hours, 23 minutes and 51 seconds. Il Mostro finished second at 23:50:54.
“It was close racing – like you were on the buoys, only on a big course,” Areté crewmember Mike McGarry said. “It’s fun to have close competition like that. (Winning) gives us a lot of pride, but we still have a lot to learn about our boat. It’s a great first step. We sailed against them a week ago and they got here first. We’re just proud to have made it here. They’re a great group of highly-qualified sailors, and we just had to work hard to beat them.”
Areté, Il Mostro, Windquest and Equation (which finished third and fourth, respectively), finished well ahead of the rest of the fleet on the Cove Island Course. The remaining boats were projected to finish sometime Sunday night or Monday morning, as were all of the lead boats on the Shore Course.
It was McGarry who played a big role in getting Areté, a 60-foot trimaran that sailed out of the Port Huron Yacht Club, to the line first. After a fast start, the boat was experiencing some issues that had the crew vexed. Rather than bring down the mainsail and lose all steam, they sent McGarry up the mast.
“Our halyard lock that locks the mainsail to the top had malfunctioned,” McGarry, who lives in Palm Bay, Florida, said. “We knew something was wrong with it, but to take the sail down would have slowed the boat too much. It took almost an hour to figure out what was wrong and get the bits and pieces I needed to repair it, so I went up and down a couple times. In the end, it let us put the sail back up to full hoist and power it up again.
“(Il Mostro) actually caught up to us when I was up the rig, and I could see them. I was like, ‘Hurry up, hurry up. Here they come.’ They snuck by us there. We were moving in the right direction, but it wasn’t at full speed.”
Later in the race, as the boats were charging from Cove Island to the island, Areté was able to make another move to finally pull away.
“(Il Mostro) made a really tight maneuver on us over here on the Michigan shore,” Warner said. “They tacked to cover us and we just came over. When they covered us, we ran it into the shore, and I think we lucked out and got the tack that they wanted. From there, there was no room to maneuver and we just piled it on and kept piling it on.”
Areté owes other mulithulls a lot of time based on its handicap, so its final position on corrected time is still to be determined. It gave itself enough of a cushion, though, to likely finish in at least the top three not just in its class, but overall.
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.