2016-07-23 / Top News

Bayview Sailors Fill Mackinac Island Harbor

French Trimaran Areté Breaks Its Own Record To Reach Finish Line First, Then Storm Rolls In
By Jordyn Hermani


The marina was a jumble of boats, masts, lines, and flags earlier this week as yachts that competed in the 2016 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race filled the slips Monday, July 18, as seen from the Arnold Dock. The boats filled nearly every space at Mackinac Island State Harbor, and many were rafted together at other docks in the bay. The Victory I, a five-deck Great Lakes cruise ship, was among boats diverted to the nearby St. Ignace Marina as a result. The harbor will once again fill with sailboats next week, as the races competing in the 2016 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac arrive. The marina was a jumble of boats, masts, lines, and flags earlier this week as yachts that competed in the 2016 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race filled the slips Monday, July 18, as seen from the Arnold Dock. The boats filled nearly every space at Mackinac Island State Harbor, and many were rafted together at other docks in the bay. The Victory I, a five-deck Great Lakes cruise ship, was among boats diverted to the nearby St. Ignace Marina as a result. The harbor will once again fill with sailboats next week, as the races competing in the 2016 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac arrive. Not only was it a race against time and the other boats, but a race against Mother Nature Sunday, July 17, as ships from the Port Huron area began pulling into the Mackinac Island Marina during the 92nd annual Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race.

The first boat to the Island, the 60-foot long trimaran Areté, set a race record when it crossed the finish at Windermere Point with an elapsed time of 21 hours, 44 minutes, 58 seconds. The crew was just one of 215 boats that left Port Huron at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 16.


The Michigan crew of the French made boat, the Areté (back, from left) Rick Warner, Pat Considine, Ron White, Tim Van Antwerp; (front) Mike McGarry, Donny Massey, Jim Andersen, and Matt Graham stay dry Sunday, July 17, on the porch of the Mackinac Island Yacht Club. Their boat was the first to finish the Bell’s Beer Bayview Yacht Club race with a time of 21 hours, 44 minutes, and 58 seconds beating last year’s record, which was set by the crew set themselves during the 2015 race. In the background their trimaran, a 60-foot long boat, is docked at Arnold Line while the crew tries to stay dry from the oncoming thunderstorm. The Michigan crew of the French made boat, the Areté (back, from left) Rick Warner, Pat Considine, Ron White, Tim Van Antwerp; (front) Mike McGarry, Donny Massey, Jim Andersen, and Matt Graham stay dry Sunday, July 17, on the porch of the Mackinac Island Yacht Club. Their boat was the first to finish the Bell’s Beer Bayview Yacht Club race with a time of 21 hours, 44 minutes, and 58 seconds beating last year’s record, which was set by the crew set themselves during the 2015 race. In the background their trimaran, a 60-foot long boat, is docked at Arnold Line while the crew tries to stay dry from the oncoming thunderstorm. Captain Rick Warner of the Areté said breaking the course record is an amazing feeling, but not one he’s unfamiliar with. The course record he broke was his own record from the previous year on the same boat.


At left: The Mackinac Island harbor is packed with sailboats after the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race Monday, July 18. Crews clean and maintain their boats as they proudly display their brag flags on their boats. At left: The Mackinac Island harbor is packed with sailboats after the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race Monday, July 18. Crews clean and maintain their boats as they proudly display their brag flags on their boats. “We bought the boat last year from France and we hadn’t really learned it yet. There was a lot of work to be done,” he said. “We got a lot of good guys together and we went out and did some shakedown races.”

The boat’s corrected time of 33:02:15 placed the Areté third in the Class 00 Class, just underneath Adagio and Strings.


Above: Saginaw native Cindy Valez photographs her boat the Amante coming in off the shore of Round Island Monday, July 18, on the beach of Windermere Point. The boat placed fourth in its Class G Class, with an elapsed time of 44:56:32 and a corrected time of 38:36:19. It was the vessel’s second time racing in the Port Huron to Mackinac race. Above: Saginaw native Cindy Valez photographs her boat the Amante coming in off the shore of Round Island Monday, July 18, on the beach of Windermere Point. The boat placed fourth in its Class G Class, with an elapsed time of 44:56:32 and a corrected time of 38:36:19. It was the vessel’s second time racing in the Port Huron to Mackinac race. Mr. Warner said his boat was first to finish in both the Mills Trophy race and the Lake Huron 100; the crew almost wasn’t able to participate in the Port Huronto Mackinac race because of an accident that occurred during the Mills Race in Toledo.

The Areté had hit a log during the course that ripped open its hull, needing many hours of manpower to fix the damage. Mr. Warner said he “thought for sure they were done for the season,” but the seven-man crew would not give up so easily.

At left: Bayview Race Committee Member Dan Shack lets loose the canon as the 70-foot ship Evolution crosses the finish line Sunday, July 17, off Winder- mere Point. Evolution would go on to place first in its Class A Class with an elapsed time of 2 8 : 1 0 : 3 1 and a corrected time of 31:23:14.At left: Bayview Race Committee Member Dan Shack lets loose the canon as the 70-foot ship Evolution crosses the finish line Sunday, July 17, off Winder- mere Point. Evolution would go on to place first in its Class A Class with an elapsed time of 2 8 : 1 0 : 3 1 and a corrected time of 31:23:14.“It takes a lot of really good guys to make this possible,” he said.

The boat sailed the longer of the two courses, the Cove Island Course, which took sailors to Canada and then across Lake Huron.

Having beaten the Sunday thunderstorms by a few hours, Mr. Warner said this was “one of the easiest races” he’s ever participated in. Due to wind conditions, he said the Areté only had to tack – or adjust the sails to turn the boat – three times over the course of the 273 nautical miles the boat covered.


The crew of the Caribbean Soul, a Hunter 340 sailboat owned by James Twigg of Macomb, carefully navigates the busy waters of Haldimand Bay Monday afternoon, July 18, shortly after finishing the 2016 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race in the cruising division. Docking at the marina following one of the summer’s yacht races is a delicate task, as sailboats must share the waters with other racers and the ferries that bring passengers to and from Mackinac Island. Another sailboat is seen in the distance to the right, following behind Caribbean Soul to find its place at the marina. The crew of the Caribbean Soul, a Hunter 340 sailboat owned by James Twigg of Macomb, carefully navigates the busy waters of Haldimand Bay Monday afternoon, July 18, shortly after finishing the 2016 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race in the cruising division. Docking at the marina following one of the summer’s yacht races is a delicate task, as sailboats must share the waters with other racers and the ferries that bring passengers to and from Mackinac Island. Another sailboat is seen in the distance to the right, following behind Caribbean Soul to find its place at the marina. Next, he plans to take the boat to compete in the 108th Chicago Race to Mackinac, where the Areté is already being favored to break records during that course as well according to members of the Chicago Yacht Club.

“There’s a number of things which drives me to race,” he said. “It’s the challenge, the people, the great crew members. You don’t win all the time, and this is a rare occasion to pull off a record back to back.


A seagull soars above a bustling Mackinac Island State Harbor Monday, July 18, as the marina was filled with yachts that competed in the 2016 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. Through the tangle of masts and lines, the cottages of the East Bluff are seen in the distance, looking down upon the busy bay. A seagull soars above a bustling Mackinac Island State Harbor Monday, July 18, as the marina was filled with yachts that competed in the 2016 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. Through the tangle of masts and lines, the cottages of the East Bluff are seen in the distance, looking down upon the busy bay. We’re incredibly lucky. It feels damn good.”

Donny Massey, a St. Ignace native and a crewmember of the Areté, said while the race was smooth sailing because of the fine conditions, the real challenge came later in the night as the storms rolled in at Mackinac Island. Around 10 p.m. Sunday night, the Areté broke loose of the dock and started drifting out into the harbor. With help from the crew of the Denali, the boat was moored again. There was no damage.


Husband and wife Gordon and Judy Morlan watch their boat, the 35-foot Avatar, cross the finish online through the help of the boat tracking system Yellow Brick. The Grosse Pointe Park couple’s boat placed second in their Class K Class, with an elapsed time of 36:07:19 and a corrected time of 34:43:57. Husband and wife Gordon and Judy Morlan watch their boat, the 35-foot Avatar, cross the finish online through the help of the boat tracking system Yellow Brick. The Grosse Pointe Park couple’s boat placed second in their Class K Class, with an elapsed time of 36:07:19 and a corrected time of 34:43:57. This, he said, is a relief as the crew plans to sail in next weekend’s Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, with hopes of setting a course record there, as well.

The feeling of setting a record, Mr. Massey said, is unlike anything else.

“It’s an old race, so it’s interesting to have a course record, for sure. Every year you beat your record, it gets harder and harder.”


At left: After a windy and rainy race, sailing crews dry out and fold their sails in Marquette Park on Mackinac Island Monday, July 18. At left: After a windy and rainy race, sailing crews dry out and fold their sails in Marquette Park on Mackinac Island Monday, July 18. More Than Just Racing

While racers are the focal point of the Port Huron-to-Mackinac course, the entire event couldn’t be possible without people like Principal Race Officer Tricia Smotherman.

Having worked with the Port Huron to Mackinac race before, and sailing in it eight times, Ms. Smotherman said the love of both the challenge and sailing brings her back each year to the races.

“There’s only one other freshwater race that’s longer than this one and that’s the Chicago to Mackinac race,” she said. “A lot of it is just families have done it for so many years. You see a lot of families keep racing as a tradition and who like the challenge of it.”

Ms. Smotherman spent much of the day taking shelter from the worst of the rain under the awning of the Bayview Yacht Race judge’s trailer, where she monitored boats with the help of several computers and other members of the Bayview Yacht Club Race Committee.


Three sailboats dock at the Mackinac Island marina and display their brag flags from prior races after completing the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. Three sailboats dock at the Mackinac Island marina and display their brag flags from prior races after completing the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. Each time a boat from one of the 16 classes would cross the finish line, a small cannon would be fired from the shore of Windermere Point.

Divisions are based on size and type of boat, either monohull or multihull, as well as by other features on the boat.

A trimaran like the Areté has an advantage because it displaces so little water, allowing it to move faster than other boats in the water.

“Most boats are displacement types of boats, wider and longer,” said Jeff Kitson, a member of the Bayview Race Committee. “Multihulls – catamarans and trimarans – have very narrow hulls. They can carry a much larger sail, square-footage-wise, than a typical monohull. This allows them to load up a lot more force, and its narrow shape allows for (multihulls) to just slip through the water.”

“Generally speaking, winds usually come from the south and southwest,” she said. “This year, the winds were light at the start, so it was a slower start than in years past.”

These faster winds provided some difficulty for sailors stuck in the midst of the late afternoon storms, with hazardous conditions not as forgiving to many other sailors as they were for the Areté.

Peter Reichelsdorfer, skipper for the Class A Class boat Evolution, won his class with an elapsed time of 28:10:31 and a corrected time of 31:23:14.

He said the storms made the course an uphill battle for he and the crew of his boat, which made for an exciting time.

“We were sailing along happily with the spinnaker up and all of the sudden this little blaster of wind came out of nowhere and I saw us get up to 30 knots at the navigation station,” Mr. Reichelsdorfer said. “There was a little struggle, but the Evolution crew is a seasoned, great crew who’ve all been sailing together for almost 25 years.”

During the course, Mr. Reichelsdorfer’s spinnaker broke, which caused some loss of speed, but the crew was able to take down and put up a new sail “in jig time,” he said, never having the boat drop beneath nine knots.

The wind forced the crew into a zigzag pattern as they fought against the storm, Mr. Reichelsdorfer said, with eastern blowing wind causing the boat to have to tack several times.

Constantly changing conditions are just par for the course, however, and one of the reasons why Mr. Reichelsdorfer said he keeps coming back to compete. Having completed his 31st Portto Mac race, Mr. Reichelsdorfer said there’s just “something that gets in your blood” that keeps him sailing.

“It’s the type of sport that makes you come back every year to see your friends on the race course,” he said. “It’s one of the greatest things you can experience once you get into these sorts of things. It’s the love of the water and the outdoors – there’s nothing like sailing out in the middle of the lake.”

Class Champions and Times

When the waters settled and the times having been corrected for handicaps, more than 40 awards – or “brag flags’ – were given out to boats and their crews. Between the Cove Island Course and the Shore Course, 16 classes of boats battled it out for the title of first, second, and third. The following are the corrected results for both racecourses:

Cove Island Course,

Corrected Times

Class 00

Adagio, 32:40:49

Strings, 32:46:45

Areté, 33:02:15

Class A

Evolution, 31:23:14

Heartbreaker, 31:43:30

Denali2, 31:47:49

Class B

Vortices, 34:06:52

Solution, 35:40:01

Courtesan, 36:12:43

Class C

Scout, 35:11:49

Carinthia, 35:18:52

Hot Ticket, 35:54:38

Class D

Toa, 34:37:09

Chico 2, 36:42:08

Pterodactyl, 37:10:30

Class E

Fast Tango, 36:53:24

Mostly Harmless, 37:02:38

Liberty, 37:54:54

Class F – Cruising Class

Comfortably Numb, 36:35:02

Brandilee, 40:09:01

Mystic 3, 42:26:22

Class G

Mr. Bill’s Wild Ride, 37:23:32

Falcon, 37:30:01

Major Detail, 37:37:59

Class H

As You Wish, 38:01:50

Carrera, 38:06:53

Grizzly, 38:30:32

Shore Course,

Corrected Times

Class I

Eliminator, 32:08:32 50/50, 32:48:16 Knee Deep, 35:02:33 Class J – Cruising Class Freedom, 30:40:14 Wind Toy IV, 30:58:10 Just Chill, 33:38:08

Class K Shape, 34:42:18 Avatar, 34:43:57 Tantrum, 34:49:51

Class L – Doublehanded

Racing Class Wall-E, 32:18:45 Patriot, 34:42:53 TAZ, 36:23:58

Class M Contender, 34:37:27 Siochail, 34:41:15 Bedlam, 34:46:40

Class N Albacore, 33:19:23 Chippewa, 33:46:23 Courage, 33:53:09

Class O – Cruising Class Ariel, 34:17:29 Slainte, 35:14:20 Miriah, 35:14:42

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