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.
THEN IT WAS TIME FOR RACE NUMBER THREE.
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