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 were Colton Gerber in the Standard Rig – 3rd Overall and Dirk Phelps in the Radial Rig – 4th Overall and Maddie Fink as the top lady sailor..  

This years overall winner for the Babel Cup is a THREE-PEAT Performance. 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


Sept 29, 2012 



The 2012 GTYC LASER Fall Regatta and second leg of the BABEL CUP was held  on Saturday September 29th.  It was a “Chamber of Commerce Day on West Grand Traverse Bay”.

Sixteen boats (12 standard rig, 4 radial) sailed in the 5 race no throw out series.  The breeze filled in at noon and built to the mid teens by race four.  RC/PRO Jordon Owen ran four legs in each race and ended race five with six legs.

Jeff Ragains was hot out of the box and won race one followed by Jamie Stuursma and Frank Reeg. After 3 races Ragains and Stuursma were tied at five points each, with a “shoot out at the OK Corral” in the making. Reeg was holding on to top junior/standard rig and tied with Than Dykstra for third. The breeze built to the low/mid teens for races four and five. The battle was on between Stuursma and Ragains, breeze on, hiking hard up wind and surfing downwind. When the dust settled,  Stuursma was able to hold off Ragains to repeat as Fall Champion and defend his hold on The BABEL CUP. Congrats Jamie. Tom Babel finished 3rd  overall, followed by Dykstra and Reeg.

In the Radial Fleet, GTYC’s Dirk Phelps sailed a strong regatta placing first, seventh over-all with 35 points. Ryan Clulo was second Radial with 45 points followed by Sarah Corder (top female) in third.

After racing the fleet enjoyed some hot dogs from WARES FROSTY TREAT and cool beverages. Thanks to Jim Sorbie and his crew for on the water support and pictures, and to Sally Corder for registration. The fleet is looking forward to the 2013 Spring Regatta next May.

Results:  2012 GTYC Fall Regatta


1st   Jamie Stuursma                  2,1,2,2,2         09    1st BABEL CUP 2nd   Jeff Ragains                       1,3,1,3,3         11
3rd   Tom Babel                          5,6,3,1,1         16
4th   Than Dykstra                      4,2,5,4,4         20
5th   Frank Reeg                         3,4,4,11,5        27   Top Junior 6th   G. Peet                                                     31
7th   D. Phelps                                                  35   Top Radial    8th   R. Clulo                                                    45    Radial
9th   A. Cornwell                                               47    Top Cornwell 10th  S. Corder                                                 53    Radial/woman
11th  S. Cornwell                                              55
12th  S. Corder                                                 57
13th  J.Corder                                                   60
14th  W. Cornwell                                             69
15th  M. Cornwell                                              72
16th  G. Cornwell                                               74 

May 12, 2012    


2012 GTYC Spring Regatta 

The 2012 GTYC Laser Spring Regatta was held on May 12, 2012. The racers were greeted by a light 5-10 mph Northerly breeze under sunny skies. Over a dozen Radial and standard rigs sailed in the five race, no throw-out series. 


The standard rig fleet was dominated by Jamie Stuursma (GTYC) with a total of six points. His boat speed, solid tactics and great starts proved unstoppable by the remainder of the fleet. Jeff Ragains (Chicago) sailed a strong series to finish second. Past spring champion Jon Forton (GTYC) finished third. 


In the radial fleet, Dirk Phelps sailed strong to win the gold medal. He was followed by Ryan Clulo and Colton Gerber in second and third respectively.


Results for the Regatta are here. 


Special thanks to Jordon Owen (PRO), Jim Sorbie & crew (support, pictures), Team Phelps (on the water support) and Bob Clark (on the water support). After racing, the fleet was treated to cold refreshments and hot dogs from WARES FROSTIE TREAT. 


2012 Tuesday Night Sailing Is Back

Come Juniors!  Come Masters! Come beginners! Come Vets! Lets get the numbers back up that we’ve had in years past and have some fun on Tuesday Nights!  IT’S TUESDAY NIGHT! 

START THINKING ABOUT.....The water is still very cold  on May 12th. Have a birthday coming up? ... ask for a DRY SUIT!  

2011 GTYC Fall Laser Regatta & Babel Cup


The GTYC Fall Laser Regatta was held on West Grand Traverse Bay on Saturday September 24. The spring and fall regattas are totaled for the overall winner of the Babel Cup.


Jamie Stuursma - 2011 GTYC Laser Fall Regatta and BABEL CUP Champion


A very shifty southwest 6-12 kt breeze greeted the six participants. The cloudy/rainy sky gave way to a beautiful sunny fall day, with the warm fall waters of west bay in contrast with the frigid temperatures of the spring regatta. PRO/RC Jorden Owen called for a five race/no throw out series with windward-leeward and modified triangle courses. The racing was tight from start to finish with places changing with every puff and shift; a true test of tactics and boat handling. 

The scores entering race five were Jamie Stuursma-9pts, Jon Forton 10pts, Than Dykstra 10pts and Tom Babel 11pts. In race five Stuursma and Forton were able to get off the start line cleanly, play the first shifts and extend on the fleet. Stuursma held off a last run challenge by Forton to win the race and the championship. Forton had to settle for the silver medal with Dykstra taking the bronze. Stuursma was also the overall winner of the Babel Cup with a 2nd in the spring regatta combined with his win in the fall regatta for a total of three points.

Than Dykstra was second in the cup with four points. After racing the fleet enjoyed some Chili Dogs from WARES FROSTY TREAT with college football on the big screen. The fleet looks forward to the 2012 Spring Regatta next May.


Complete Results Fall Regatta:


1) Jamie Stuursma 10 pts - 1st Babel Cup 3pts
2) Jon Forton 12
3) Than Dyksta 13 - 2nd Babel Cup 4pts
4) Tom Babel 16
5) George Peet 24
6) Todd Vigland 30

Submitted by Tom Babel

2011 GTYC Spring Laser Regatta:

The GTYC Spring Laser Regatta was held on West Grand Traverse Bay on May 14, 2011. Nine skippers were greeted with cold air/water temps, 12-18 Northerly wind and a driving rain. Perfect spring Laser Racing conditions in Traverse City.

Jordon Owen (RC/PRO) scheduled a 5 race/no throw out series. Ultimately, four races were sailed as the series was cut short due to thermal issues. A dry suit was the order of the day. The four legged, relatively short courses lead to some very close racing. First at the weather mark was often decided by the right of way vessel.

Than Dykstra (GTYC) was very consistent, sailed strong in all four races and had no big mistakes. He posted finishes of 2,1,1,1 to win the series. Than is a past GTYC Fleet Champion and demonstrated that form to convincingly win this regatta. 

It was a tight race for second place. Jamie Stuursma and Patrick Gerber tied on 13 points. Jamie won the tie-breaker with a 1st in race one leaving Patrick with the bronze for the day. Both skippers sailed hard in the northerly breeze and waves. Jamie came back from an OCS in race two, and later a collision with Pete Comfort, to show a true test of survival.

Three Jr Sailors Participated. Pete Kirby-Miller was the top Jr in sixth place over-all. Elle Rivard was the top female in 7th. Fourteen year old Colton Gerber sailed very well all day, with no hat and no capsizes. Nicely done Colton.

Racers were treated to some warm chili dogs from WARES FROSTY TREAT at the completion of racing.

Special thanks to Jim Sorbie and crew of the safety boat.


  1. T. Dykstra 5 points
  2. J. Stuursma 13
  3. P, Gerber 13
  4. G. Stauber 16
  5. P. Comfort 19
  6. P. Kirby-Miller 22 Top Jr
  7. E. Rivard 28 Top Female/Radial
  8. M. Lyons 33
  9. C. Gerber 33

Submitted by: T. Babel

More Pictures of the 2011 GTYC Spring Laser Regatta

Fleet Contact: Jamie Stuursma -



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