2013 Laser Fleet


The BABEL CUP is a two regatta series consisting of the Laser Spring Regatta and the Laser Fall Regatta. People often ask me the history of the Spring and Fall Laser Regattas. (Copied from the May 2013 Waterlines)

Sometime in the early 70’s , The Lockwood's got a Laser and we called it “Old Blue”. The Babels had Sunfish Sailboats at that time. You may remember Enid Babel sailing Sunfish 21293 in the Park Place Race. Then, Ned Lockwood proclaimed that the Laser was the best boat going, so Bill Babel got out of the Sunfish class and bought a new Laser we named “Old Maple” and the challenge was on. 

We started sailing the “Bunny Day Regatta” and the “Turkey Day Regatta” at Dick Babel’s cottage located on Long Lake. Both events seemed to have cold conditions, but somebody would always show up. NO RULES, you sail-you win. Snow, ice, Ned with mittens.... Bill won one year by simply sailing his Finn from one side of Elmwood Park to the other in a blizzard with a frozen main sheet. Dick would support all these events and host a summertime Laser Race on Long Lake when the water was warmer, Dick Made trophies, picnic, all fun stuff. At some point in the late 90’s early 2000’s, more Laser enthusiasts got involved and the event became more organized, more racers, people seeing the light, and it became one of the biggest events on the GTYC yearly calendar. Dick would always show up in the later years with true support. I think that is why, because of Dick’s support, that the fleet labeled it the Babel Cup. 

Now, that we are all getting a little bit older and softer, the Bunny Day & Turkey Day Regattas have transformed into the Spring/Fall Laser Regattas. We are seeing the next generation hiking, laughing, and getting out on the water, which is what Dick and Ned are all about. And in the recent years the next generation has been well represented. 

The High School Sailing Teams have been sailing and showing off their talents in boat handling skills and tactics. Leading the way for the juniors in this years Babel Cup Spring Regatta wereColton Gerber in the Standard Rig – 3rd Overall and Dirk Phelps in the Radial Rig – 4th Overall andMaddie Fink as the top lady sailor.   This years overall winner for the Babel Cup is a THREE-PEATPerformance. He has won the cup in 2011, 2012, and now 2013.  His boat speed and solid tactics have proved to be unstoppable. In fact, out of six events sailed over the past three years, only twice has our champion not taken the Gold. He placed second in this past Spring Regatta and then turn the clock back to 2011’s Spring Regatta when Than Dykstra prevailed.  And not only that, JAMIE STUURSMA is one of the nicest guys on the race course you will ever cross tacks with. Congratulations Jamie.


So, to recognize Jamie not only for his performance in the Babel Cup over the past three years, but also for his support in being co-chair of the events, and support of sailing at the GTYC, we would like to present Jamie with a new LASER Standard Rig Sail,,which is signed by The Commodore. Many Thanks To:

  • Sailsport Marine: Support with Laser Sail
  • Bluewater Sail and Canvas
  • On the water support and numbers on Laser Sail Bob Clark, Bill Buchbinder.
  • Wares Frosty Treat; Post Race Hot Dogs
  • Jordon Owen, Commodore Sorbie , David Phelps, The High School Sailing Teams and all who have supported local Laser Racing at the GTYC.  Thank you.

Submitted by: T. Babel > 

Tuesday Night Laser Series 2013 Begins June 4th

First Race, 1800 hrs Start   

2013 GTYC Spring LASER Regatta May 11, 2013

First Leg of the BABEL CUP A three round fight…with a knockout in the third”

The 2013 GTYC Laser Spring Regatta was a memorable event. What started out as a nice afternoon of Laser sailing quickly turned into a quest of survival.

Seventeen skippers were greeted with cold air and water temperatures to West Grand Traverse Bay.  We had a strong representation from our women and men’s High School Sailing Teams from Traverse City.  The standard rig and radial rigs all started together in the scheduled five race/no throw out series.  RC/PRO JORDON OWEN called for windward/leeward courses. This is the first leg of the Babel Cup, which is added to the fall regatta for the over all champion.

Races one and two started in perfect spring time Laser conditions, wind from the southwest at 8-12 kts, flat water, shifty.  JAMIE STUURSMA (GTYC-Defending 2012 Babel Cup Champion) started out where he left off by hitting the first shift in race one and sailing a strong race for the standard rig win. DIRK PHELPS (GTYC-TC Central Sailing Team) came back from an OCS to lead the radial fleet demonstrating his superior tactics and boat handling skills.  In race two, COLTON GERBER (GTYC-TC Central Sailing Team) sailing a full rig, came out “firing on all cylinders”, had a great boat end start and led the fleet for the first lap. Then the fight was on between GERBER and TOM BABEL during the last run to the finish, with BABEL being able to “keep GERBER hooked to the outside” for the win, followed closely by GERBER and STUURSMA.


I’m not sure if any of us (the racers, the crash boats, the people watching from shore) new what was about to hit West Bay. The wind built to the mid to upper teens during the starting sequence with a 40 degree shift to the right, making the first beat a fetch for TED LOCKWOOD (GTYC-Local Laser Sailing Legend) who had won the boat end start.  As the boats converged on the weather mark so did 30kts plus of wind. Because of the right shift, you had to make a 180 degree turn to head back down the reach to the leeward mark. First LOCKWOOD tried the jibe, didn’t get it around, rounded up to weather, ended up tacking which was the move we all should have done. Then BABEL tried the jibe and immediately “crashed and burned to weather”.  As I came up swimming and stood on my centerboard, the fleet was a debris field   getting pummeled by a 30-40 kt blast. The whole scene was reminiscent of  FOREST GUMP, “THEN GOD SHOWED UP”, when Lieutenant DAN was talking to GOD from the crow’s nest, “COME ON, YOU CALL THIS A STORM”!  A couple of boats were able to hang on for the “ride of their lives” back down to the leeward mark. With a TKO declared on the fleet, at some point PRO OWEN hoisted N over H,  All races are abandoned. Further signals ashore.

One of the larger challenges of the day was getting back to the GTYC which was on the windward shore of a 30kt plus gale out of the northwest.  When it was all said and done, all skippers and boats were accounted for. Then the fleet warmed up inside the GTYC while enjoying some hot dogs and refreshments from WARES FROSTY TREAT. The fleet is looking forward to the GTYC FALL REGATTA on September 28.

Special Thanks To:  RC/PRO- Owen,  Crash Boat- Bob Clark & Ned Lockwood,  Support- Commodore Sorbie, Support- David Gerber/High School Sailing Coach,  Support- Crash Boat /David Phelps.


Full Rig - 1) Babel  2)  Stuursma  3)  Colton Gerber

Radial Rig -1)Phelps 2)Maddie Fink  3)Alex Anderson

Top Woman – Maddie Fink

Top Master 45+ with new knee – George Peet

Submitted by:  T. Babel

Complete results here.

Pictures from the regatta are HERE

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