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

Complete Results Attached.


Submitted by:  T. Babel


District 19 Championships

June 22-23, 2013

Irish Boat Shop and Little Traverse Yacht Club, Harbor Springs

Here is a link to some photos taken by Gretchen Dorian (click here)



This last weekend, June 22nd and 23rd, Harbor Springs was home to the 2013 District 19 Laser Championship Regatta. This event was hosted by Irish Boat Shop and the Little Traverse Sailors. Top Laser sailors from across the state competed for the district 19 title on Little Traverse Bay. Two days of racing were scored with 3 races on Saturday, 3 races on Sunday and one throw-out. We had a total of 16 boats on the water, a few less than we hoped for, but the talent was high which made for some tight racing around the marks.


In the end, sailing with the Irish Fleet, it was Harbor Springs own Polk Wagner who finished in 1st place and took home top honors. Polk had a low score total of 11 points after the one throw-out was allowed. Another summer resident and Irish Fleet competitor, Mac Jacob, finished in 2nd place with a total of 17 points. 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions were all within one point of each other. With 18 points it was District 19 Manager, Ken Swetka, taking 3rd place and nudging 4th place finisher with 19 points, Aras Karaitis from Kalamazoo off the podium.


The winds were light on Saturday and light to medium on Sunday, but even without heavy winds the competitors enjoyed the venue and were treated to a barbeque and awards ceremony at Irish Boat Shop. Other sponsors we would like to thank and who helped make the event happen were Little Traverse Sailors, Petoskey Brewing, the Bob-In and Shaggy’s Skis.


Laser Racing will continue in Harbor Springs with the IBS/LTS Summer Racing Series starting this Thursday evening. The racing schedule includes a Thursday series and a Saturday series with 14 events over the summer and a possibility of up to 42 races for the competitors. We will also be offering a Sunfish class for anyone interested in getting out and racing on a Sunfish. Again, for more information on this please contact myself or visit Irish’s website at: http://www.irishboatshop.com/laser_racing


The event was so successful and the venue so perfect, that it was decided that next year’s District 19 Championship will be held in Harbor Springs again.


Smooth Sailing,


Boats Only

Tom Trautman

Irish Boat Shop, Inc.


Saturday October 6, 2012



(231) 526-6225 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Hello Laser People,

Here is a re-cap on this weekend’s 6th Annual Frosty Mug Laser Regatta.

We had 7 boats show up to brave the weather, temperatures were in the 50’s and winds were out of the north/west at around 12 to 15 knots gusting up to 20. The breeze was shifty with lots of velocity changes making for some very challenging conditions. There were thrills, spills, equipment failure and even a minor laceration to a head causing a few boats to retire early.

The race committee ran 5 races consisting of Olympic triangle and windward/leeward courses. After the results were tallied with a single throw-out, it was last year’s champion Tom Babel clinching the 1st place mug with a total score of 4 points. Taking home the 2nd place mug and repeating last year’s finish was Mac Jacob with a total of 7 points. Tom Pendergast travelled all the way from Indiana to round out the top 3 earning the 3rd place mug with a score of 14 points.

Complete results are attached along with a photo of this year’s winners. I would like to thank those who attended along with our race committee, Kent Case. A special thanks to Petoskey Brewery for supplying a few growlers of their tasty craft beer.

We look forward to next year and another season of Laser/Sunfish Racing on Little Traverse Bay…




Boats Only 

Tom Trautman


District 19 Championships

June 21-22, 2014

Irish Boat Shop and Little Traverse Yacht Club, Harbor Springs


Story written by Polk Wagner

Twenty-six competitors gamely handled very light and shifty winds on Little Traverse Bay as they battled in the 2014 Laser District 19 Championships, held in Harbor Springs, Michigan on June 21 and 22, 2014. The top Laser class sailors from across Michigan, Ohio, and even Ontario competed in the chilly waters off the Harbor Springs Harbor.  The title came down to the last leg of the last race of the three race series: sailing fast in the best winds of the weekend, Steve Johansen of Ann Arbor, Michigan emerged as the 2014 District Champion.  Ken Swetka of Detroit, Michigan was a close second, and Daniel Barry of Sarnia, Ontario won a tiebreaker on points from Barry Savage of Detroit, Michigan to capture third place.  The top Laser Master Award was given to Leigh Savage of Detroit, Michigan, the top Junior Sailor was Harbor Springs' own Matt Menzi, and the top woman sailor was Suzie Pegel.


The 2014 Laser District 19 Championships were graciously sponsored by Irish Boat Shop and Little Traverse Sailors, with assistance from the Little Traverse Yacht Club.  The organizers were very pleased with the sharp uptick in interest in the event this year, with nearly ten more boats racing.  The extra boats, and the high talent level of this fleet made for exciting starts (with several general recalls), very tight mark roundings, and overall highly competitive racing.


On Saturday the light and variable winds saw the Race Committee struggle to get in one race, and similar conditions on Sunday meant that only two races were possible before the time deadline expired.  But the lack of races was more than made up by the tight racing and camaraderie of the sailors, who were treated to a Saturday night barbeque and Sunday afternoon Awards Ceremony at Irish Boat Shop in Harbor Springs. The organizers would also like to thank Ali Hill of Bayview, Dave Travis of Crooked Lake, and Dan Thompson of Harbor Springs for excellent Race Committee work under very difficult conditions.  The event could not have happened without the support of Irish Boat Shop, Little Traverse Sailors, and the Little Traverse Yacht Club.  We hope to host the 2015 Laser District Championships next June, and look forward to building on this years' momentum.


​For complete resultsclick here to download a PDF


You can download some photos from the event at this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/co4dfni1mppicso/Photos.zip



Annual Pumpkin Head Regatta

October 13, 2011

Grand Rapids Fleet 


Story and Results by Chad Coberly


Despite an ominous weather forecast of cold, rain, thunder and wind, 19 boats registered for this year’s Pumpkinhead on Reeds lake. Fortunately, the storm broke for a 2 hour window allowing 4 races in a fairly consistent 10-15 knot SE breeze down the length of the lake. The top was very tight in all four races ending in a fairly unprecedented 3 way tie for first between Chad Coberly of Grand Rapids, Tom Babel of Traverse City, and Dillon McCormick of Lansing with the tie breaker sorting out in that order. 5 juniors from the East Grand Rapids HS sailing team joined the fun with top Junior going to Michael Madden in 6th place overall. Top Grand Master was Tom Babel in 2nd, and Top Female was Lindsey Gates in 9th overall. Hopefully the weather gods will stop punishing this regatta next year!


Full Results: