PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio — It was 5:41 a.m. Saturday and the sun still was waiting to show its face over the harbor at this Lake Erie island oasis, but the skipper and crew aboard Consigliere could have been in a delightfully celebratory mood.
More than 12 hours earlier, near the Toledo Harbor Light, they had punched the 35-foot Santana sailboat across the starting line for the prestigious Mills Trophy Race. Through the night they coaxed everything they could out of the sometimes non-committal breeze, covered without incident the almost 70 miles on the open lake that made up the course for the elite boats in the field, and sailed a good race.
Once the entire field was in and the handicaps calculated, Brad D’Arcangelo of Maumee and his crew had won the Mills Trophy for the third consecutive year.
The three-peat has Consigliere sailing in rare air. Since the first Mills Trophy Race in 1907, consecutive wins have been hard to come by, and taking three Mills trophies in a row is tougher yet, by a magnitude of 10. The next milestone is four straight, accomplished only once in the long history of the race by a boat named Tomahawk from 1986-89.
“This is a difficult race to win since there are so many good sailors and fast boats out there, and for us to win it three times in a row is just a real credit to our crew,” said D’Arcangelo, an attorney with a Toledo-based firm. “We sail with nine people, and we’ve had one new crew member last year and one new [member] this year, but otherwise it’s been pretty consistent, and that makes a big difference. We’re sailing at night and that presents a special set of challenges, so your crew needs to really know the boat.”
D’Arcangelo said most of the race was upwind, with a 10- to 11-knot breeze pushing Consigliere at a brisk pace for one stretch, but later a change in the wind had them moving at just one or two knots.
“At that point, we thought it might turn out to be a really long race,” he said.
But once they sailed past West Sister Island, D’Arcangelo said the wind filled in and they were surging toward Sandusky and around Kelleys Island in the final stages of the race.
“We did really well on the Sandusky to Kelleys Island leg and made up most of our time,” he said. “Most of the other boats had to tack in that part of the race.”
Besides heaping the praise on his crew, D’Arcangelo also said the wind conditions were conducive to his boat performing well.
“There were a lot of fast boats in our class and in our fleet, but those fast boats weren’t able to use their spinakers as much, and that was a positive for us,” he said. “The conditions were definitely favorable for us.”
D’Arcangelo, who races out of North Cape Yacht Club, said the familiarity he and his crew have with all of the subtleties and nuances of Consigliere played a role in again winning one of the most prestigious races on the Great Lakes.
“In sailboat racing, you have to be able to know how to make your boat go fast in all of the different conditions you can face,” he said. “You have to be able to adjust to what you encounter out there and make your boat to go as fast as possible. And you can get tired and stop working the boat hard, and obviously, our crew didn’t do that. It’s all about the crew, and any skipper out there who has been doing this for a while knows that very well.”
The 30-foot Olson Roadkill, sailing out of the LaSalle Mariners Yacht Club in LaSalle, Ont., was second. Pendragon, a Contessa-43 owned by John Trost and Greg Thomas of Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., and the 2004 winner, was third.
The President’s Trophy was won by Bryan Huntley from the Sandusky Sailing Club aboard InfraRed, a 28-foot Kelly. Dan Sadoski of Toledo, racing aboard Hat Trick and representing Monroe Boat Club, was second.
Gary Disbrow from Avon Lake, racing out of the Put-in-Bay Yacht Club, won the Governor’s Cup, piloting the 33-foot Thinkinblue to victory. Keeping it in the family, Kim and Dave Disbrow from Vermilion, sailing out of the Vermilion Boat Club aboard Gotcha, took second. Tim Andrews of Sylvania, sailing out of North Cape Yacht Club aboard the 33-foot Hobie Holy Toledo, was third. Another North Cape based sailor, Steve Attard from Temperance, brought his Hobie-33 Rhumbline in fourth.
The Mills Trophy Race course covered 67.8 nautical miles, while the President’s Trophy course covered 37.6 nautical miles and the Governor’s Cup course covered 52.6 nautical miles. The Mills Trophy Race is sponsored by the Toledo Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Club.
Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: email@example.com, or 419-724-6068.
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