Published in Sail World by Laura Muma
Areté sails into history with new Chicago Mackinac course record | It took just 12 hours, 30 minutes and seven seconds for the 60-foot trimaran Areté to sail into the World Sailing history books as the fastest sailboat to navigate the famous 289-nautical mile Chicago to Mackinac course. Owner/Driver Rick Warner and nine crew primarily from Michigan and Chicago, launched from downtown Chicago Monday morning just after 10:30 a.m. CDT, riding a strong southerly breeze up Lake Michigan, to arrive just after midnight to iconic Mackinac Island.
The three-hulled rocket ship averaged just over 23 knots and bested the previous October 2017 record of 17:59:49 set by Il Mostro, a Volvo 70 monohull. Areté’s accomplishment will now be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, placing it into the top 20 of fastest ranked courses in the world.
It’s taken three official tries for Warner, a former Michigander now Charleston, S.C. resident, to complete the speed racing attempt. “It was worth the wait,” said Warner. “Today was the culmination of six years since we first brought Areté into the Great Lakes, and it’s thanks to incredible effort by great friends and teammates. Monday’s conditions were tailor made for this boat and we pushed it to the limit the entire time. What a ride!”
The exhausted yet exhilarated crew arrived to Mackinac Island just after midnight, greeted by friends and family. After putting the boat away, the crew eagerly made their way to Mission Point Resort for hot showers and celebrations, and much needed sleep.
The Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, which is the route this WSSRC record run follows, is known around the world as a “bucket list” race, thanks to Lake Michigan’s unpredictable and challenging conditions. The 112-year-old race takes place every July with 200-300 sailboats of all sizes competing in various classes. There is no official affiliation between the WSSRC and the Chicago Yacht Club’s famous race.
Tri and try again
This was the third official attempt for the powerful three-hulled sailboat, originally designed for ocean racing. The first attempt, in September 2018, Areté made it to within 90 minutes of Mackinac Island, when 40-50 knot northwest winds thwarted their plans to make the final beat up toward the Mackinac Straits.
In 2019 – a planned attempt in mid-summer was aborted just before the start; and then on September 13 just one hour into the attempt and averaging 28 knots, Areté snapped a rudder bearing to end the voyage.Warner has utilized the Covid shut down to complete many refits to the boat, including the new rudder bearings, rebuilt the foil boxes, stiffened the foils, added laminate to the top of the mast, new sails, and transitioned to full B&G navigation.
ABOUT Areté Sails // Areté is proudly powered by Doyle Sails and has been since 2015, when the current set of sails was built. The Doyle inventory includes a Stratis 1100 CI Mainsail, Headsails, and a Code Zero. Built with performance and durability at the forefront, these sails are now entering their sixth season and proving that they are still record setting sails.
Owner Rick Warner, comments: “We are so glad we picked Doyle Stratis ICE sails for Areté. They have allowed us to step our game up, are durable and are easy to trim! When trying to set a WSSRC record, you put it all on the line and need to know every component is contributing! We couldn’t have pulled it off without these sails!”.
ABOUT Areté // Areté is 60 feet long and 62 feet wide with a 100 foot tall mast. She was designed by Marc Lombard and built of carbon with a Nomex core. Warner describes the boat: “As we learned while sailing her through the Straits of Gibraltar with 49 knots on the stern and 20 foot seas against the current, she is one tough boat. She can take it and give it back. The French respectfully call her “la machine folle,” the crazy machine.”Areté (from the Greek “striving for excellence in all things”) joins a very small group of big offshore trimarans that are starting to appear more frequently in the US. Warner said of the upcoming season: “After several years of sailing multihulls on the Great Lakes, I am looking forward to bringing Areté here because we believe this is an excellent venue for her. Racing this boat is going to be a great challenge that we are eager to take on. The crew and I can’t wait to cross our first starting line. ”She will compete in the iconic Great Lakes races, including the Queen’s Cup, the Chicago to Mackinac race, the SuperMac and the Port Huron to Mackinac race.Built in 2002 as Sopra, the boat is now the central asset in a sports sponsorship and experiential marketing company called Shearwater, where she will be paired with an exciting top-tier brand for racing, shore side events and company sailing events. Follow their story here.
ABOUT DOYLE SAILS // Around the world, Doyle Sails has over 500 sailmakers in 46 different locations, all equally passionate about sailing – living and breathing our ethos’ Global Leaders and Local Experts.’
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