Shores resident to try for fourth Bayview win

By: Jason Carmel Davis | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 19, 2017

 St. Clair Shores resident Bill Alcott will once again race his boat, Equation, pictured, in the Bell’s Bayview Mackinac Race. Alcott has won the race three times.

St. Clair Shores resident Bill Alcott will once again race his boat, Equation, pictured, in the Bell’s Bayview Mackinac Race. Alcott has won the race three times.

Photo provided by Bill Alcott

ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores resident Bill Alcott has competed in 45 boat races in the last 50 years, but he said it feels new every time he and his crew hit the water.

“I really do,” the 80-year-old said.

Come July 22, Alcott and his crew will board Equation once again for the Bell’s Bayview Mackinac Race.

“Being that these are somewhat my senior years, I couldn’t imagine not having this to look forward to,” he said.

Alcott — who owns the boat with Bloomfield Hills resident Tom Anderson — and his crew have done well. The 68-foot-long Class A boat, representing Detroit’s Bayview Yacht Club, has won its class seven times, Alcott said. His team has won the overall race three times. Equation has also performed very well in races in the Caribbean.

The Equation crew comprises residents of Grosse Pointe, Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores, Royal Oak, Birmingham, Rochester Hills, Warren, Bloomfield Hills and Grosse Ile.

The crew will race on the Division 1 Cove Island Course, where competitors take a wider, longer route to the Mackinac Island finish. 

Alcott recognizes the success he’s had in the race, but said failure is what keeps him coming back.

“Put it this way: I’ve been in 45 races and performed really well in a handful of them,” Alcott said. “If it were baseball, I’d be sent down to (the minor leagues). You learn from your mistakes. Most of all, you have to have a good crew if you want to do well. I’m very lucky. I’ve sailed with many of the same guys for 15 or 20 years. We work well together.”

Alcott said the race has changed over the years.

“The boats are so much faster than they were 50 years ago. It’s a sprint. There’s no such thing as mental lapses. You have to take advantage of every wind shift,” Alcott said.

“In the old days, guys would sit back, have a beer and hope the wind hits. It’s not like that anymore. You have to have the best-equipped boat, the sails have to be new, and maintenance is critical. Every little detail pays off in the end,” he continued.

The end is not in sight for Alcott. He said he’d like to race for as long as he can.

“I’d like to get to 50 (races). I don’t know if I can get to that,” Alcott said. “Even though I don’t do much now on the boat, it’s still a thrill to me.”