Tom Babel's Two Pair – Aces & Fours” takes the hand at the 2018 GTYC Invitational

Tom Babel's Two Pair – Aces & Fours” takes the hand at the 2018 GTYC Invitational

The Grand Traverse Yacht Club, Traverse City, Mich. hosted it’s 21st Annual Invitational Regatta on August 18-19, 2018. On the beautiful waters of West Grand Traverse Bay, twenty-three teams from across the United States and Canada gathered to be challenged in what would become a predominantly light/medium air regatta. Four races were held on Saturday, with no races Sunday as the bay did not produce it’s usual seasonal thermal wind.

Tom Babel skippered Chris Lamb’s PADAWAN 3 to a score line of 1-4-4-1 (Two Pair – Aces & Fours) to win the regatta. With crew Mike Elcoate (trimmer), Richie Ellis (bow) and Jean Risk (caddie), P3 was able to stay away from “a big number” which was clearly the key to a podium finish. Babel was followed by Canadian Dan Berezin on SURPRISE with a score line of 2-2-7-7 (Two Pair – Deuces and Sevens). Completing the podium was fellow Canadian Mike Gozzard and his crew on RUSH (The Pretty Red Boat) in third with scores 12-3-2-3 (One Pair of Threes). Local favorite and regatta host Mike Dow and his TOASTER TEAM, along with Fred Rozelle on RUSTLER rounded out the top five places.

The sailing conditions were quite challenging to say the least. The light air of the first two races was accompanied by substantial differentials in breeze velocity and direction. The weather mark boat later described it as “two breezes opposing each other” from the top left and the top right. Trying to determine which breeze to set up for was really making some tacticians’ brains swell to an uncomfortable condition. Things settled down later in the afternoon and by race #4 there was a very nice 10-12, full hiking breeze. No wind, No racing on Sunday.

One of the great traditions of The Invitational is the Saturday night prime rib dinner... and it did not disappoint again this year. Many thanks to the GTYC staff, volunteers, race committee and membership for hosting another great event on THE BAY.

Grand Traverse Yacht Club now boasts a fleet of 14 Melges 24s in-house, and regularly sees most of them on the line for Wednesday night racing, for a one-design start. Additionally GTYC is very excited to be awarded the Melges 24 North Americans, Aug 16-18, 2019.


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