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GP14 world champion Shane MacCarthy is known for his exploits across a number of sailing classes, most recently the Fireball dinghy, (winner of the Munsters in Killaloe) but perhaps less known is his Solo dinghy form.

It turns out the Greystones Sailing Club champion has been the owner of a double-chined Solo for a couple of years for 'messing about in'.

Like the beloved Geep, the Solo was designed by Jack Holt in 1956. The Solo is sailed in the United Kingdom, Holland and Australia....and now Ireland.

Originally designed in wood, competitive boats are now widely available in Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) or composite construction (FRP hull and wood deck) as well as wood.

2006 was the 50th anniversary of the design.

MacCarthy says he has no serious Solo campaign plans but very much enjoys taking the dinghy for an evening spin.

 

Published in GP14
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A challenging GP14 youth championship was held at Sligo YC on 24th and 25th September. The conditions proved difficult for both the sailors and race committee alike. An excellent turnout of 20 boats included sailors who had travelled from as far as England with others driving up to 6 hours to make it to this great event. As people braved the conditions in tents, others struggled to put their mast up.

Race 1 was exciting with the high winds and quick reaches which suited the Youghal/Sligo team of Adrian Lee and Ossian Geraghty. They were followed home by Peter and Stephen Boyle from Sutton with the Gallagher brothers, Gareth and Richard in 3rd.

Race 2 saw Dan and Hugh Gill winning from Peter and Stephen to make it a Sutton 1,2. Adrian and Ossian followed the Sutton boats to take 3rd.

Race 3, the last race of the day had a general recall in worsening conditions. The big squalls suited the heavier sailors. Edward Coyne and Colman Grimes were first around the windward mark but were caught by Adrian and Ossian at the gybe mark when they capsized and threw their first place away. The race changed towards the end with Dan and Hugh Gill taking another race win a from Edward and Colman who had recovered well to 2nd. Gareth and Richard Gallagher were third. Later, with the sailors back ashore, the Saturday afternoon results were amended as Peter and Stephen Boyle were awarded redress giving them another 2nd position to add to the second places they had already scored in races 1 and 2.

Sunday kicked off to less wind in the morning but it increased throughout the day. A pin end bias saw a large congregation of boats at that end. However those that opted to start further up the line in clean air ultimately suffered with the bias being so large. This race was won by Peter and Stephen meaning Peter is the new GP14 youth champion. 2nd place in the last race was Samuel Wray and Alan Thompson with Kevin Martyn and Colin O’Mahoney in third.

Overall apart from the weather it was a great event run in difficult conditions and an excellent level of sailing. Well done to all the youths who have improved since 2015.

Thank you all who attended and special thanks to all the long distance boats who travelled the length of the country - well done all. Many thanks also to those who crewed and lent boats to the youths

Overall Results:
1st place Under 16, Under 18, Under 21 youth champion Peter Boyle crewed by Stephen Boyle
2nd Dan Gill crewed by Hugh Gill
3rd Adrian Lee crewed by Ossian Geraghty

Published in GP14
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GP14 Sailors rolled up to a blustery Rosses Point in Sligo for the GP14 Autumn Open with the possibility of getting little sailing done as strong winds were forecasted for the weekend reports Colman Grimes. With the youth championship been held in conjunction with the autumn open eight races were scheduled altogether – A big task for the race officer and rescue crew.

25 boats got race 1 underway with the wind beginning to ease somewhat. Local talent Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty showed their intentions for the weekend by getting around the windward mark first, followed by Sligo YC adoptees Keith Louden & Alan Thompson in 2nd and Colman Grimes & Eanna Gallagher (Skerries Sailing Club) in 3rd. These positions were maintained for the rest of the race. The fleet beginning to liven up resulted in a general recall in race 2, a black flag ensured a clear start next time round. Newbie to the fleet Shane McLoughlin (Howth YC) with crew Conor Twohig (Sutton Dinghy Club) pipped around the windward mark in 1st place closely followed by Grimes/Gallagher. Grimes/Gallagher over took them on a tight first reach and lead most of the race until finally been overtaken by Mcloughlin / Twohig and National Champions Tim Corcoran & Brendan Brogan (Sligo YC). Corcoran/ Brogan completed their charge by taking the bullet, Mcloughlin / Twohig 2nd & Grimes/ Gallagher 3rd. Henry/ Geraghty, Corcoran/ Brogan & Grimes/Gallagher shared the overnight lead on 6 points apiece.

The evening was marked by a memorable moment for many SYC and GP14 members with a surprise farewell for Tim Corcoran who is emigrating to Spain. Tim, together with crew Brendan Brogan, have notched up an impressive seven national championships in the GP14 fleet, as well as being a strong force in organising of GP14 youth training and events over the years.

Sunday brought the forecasted blustery and wet conditions, ideal for some fast sailing. Race 3 got going with Henry/ Geraghty getting around the windward mark 1st and opened up a good lead on the 1st reach which they held until the finish. JP & Carolyn McCaldin (Sligo Yacht Club) got on track with a 2nd, while Grimes / Gallagher secured another 3rd place.

With 2 firsts in the bag Henry/ Geraghty had the event wrapped up and having done their calculations retired early to leave the others fight for rest of the places.

With some very heavy wind and rain on the horizon, the McCladdins continued their fast pace in the wind and pulled out a good lead to dominate race 4 from start to finish. They could almost touch the race winner’s prize (literally!) but to find out later that they were a bit too far up the beat at the start and scored an OCS. With strong winds and a few capsizes across the fleet, Louden & Thompson capitalised to win race 4 and finish 2nd overall. A good battle ensued behind between Newtownards club members Micheal Cox / Josh Porter and Alistair Duffin / Andy Corkhill, Duffin/Corkhill clinching 2nd place off their clubmates near the end.

Despite a Capsize in the last race Grimes / Gallagher did enough to hold onto 3rd place overall and 1st in the Silver Fleet. Cox & Porter took 2nd in the silver fleet with a solid performance, followed by Ronan Armstrong & Callum McLouglin (Sligo YC) in 3rd.

The Bronze fleet was won by Mcloughlin / Twohig on their first outing with Jon Evans & Una L’Strange (Sligo YC) in 2nd. Youghal S.C. Youths Jack Buttimer & Adam McDonagh continued their progress with a 3rd.
With a further breezy 4 races carried out over the weekend for the youth championship, most headed home battered and bruised. Well done to all involved at Sligo Yacht Club for putting on a great weekends racing despite the adverse weather conditions.

Published in GP14
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Two invitees have declined their invitations to this weekend's Irish Sailing Association (ISA) All Ireland sailing competition at Royal Cork Yacht Club over an entry fee that the ISA says it is forced to charge in the absence of an event sponsor.

GP14 World Champion Shane MacCarthy says the 'entry fee is too expensive and not in line with dinghy entry fees'. 

Fellow GP14 helmsman Hugh Gill goes further and says the €220 charge is 'an indication of how the ISA is out of touch with how the majority of sailors manage their participation in the sport'. 

Neither sailor is attending the Crosshaven event that is to be sailed in National 18 dinghies.

16 sailors, including Rio Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy, have been invited to attend the annual end–of–season event organised by the national governing body.

Sutton Dinghy Club's Gill wrote to Afloat to say he had declined the invitation due to the insistence by the ISA that all entrants, despite being invited to participate, must pay an entry fee of €220. Gill says' Other participants have entered but have sent correspondence expressing their disappointment regarding the entry fee'.  He adds: 'The imposition of an entry fee is a recent change, maybe for the past 5 years, to what was always an invitational event attended by various Class National Champions and other sailors who had achieved success on the international stage. To impose any fee on this event let alone a charge of €220 for an event comprising a number of short races over two days for 16 invited sailors is another indication of how the ISA has lost touch with the reality of how the majority of sailors manage their participation in the sport'. 

In response, ISA Chief Executive Harry Hermon has described the withdrawal of both GP14 helmsmen as 'most unfortunate'. 

In a statement the ISA says: 'the background to the current situation is that up until 2008, the event was sponsored which enabled the host club to run it without an entry fee. Since that date there has been an entry fee paid to the host club, with the average being in the range of €120 - €150. Last year’s event had an entry fee of €130.

Each year, as part of a review following the event, we ask sailors how it can be improved. These questions produce mostly expected answers, namely dinghy sailors prefer the event to be in dinghies, while keelboat sailors prefer keelboats! In recent years the event has been run in J80 Keelboats, and this year we are delighted to be able to return to dinghies using the National 18’s thanks to the generosity of the National 18 Class in loaning their boats.

Last year, the feedback highlighted the fact, that while the on-the-water format was good, the social side was totally lacking, with a very low turnout for the Championship dinner. In fact, many of the sailors indicated in advance that they would be attending, but on the night very few appeared. This left the host club with a lot of uneaten food and a significant loss on the night. This year in response to the feedback received from the competitors, the ISA decided to try to make it a more sociable event and to promote the dinner as something worth attending, hence the cost of the dinner is included in the entry fee. The fee of €220, is made up of three dinners at €30 each and entry fee of €130, the same as last year. As all event organisers will concur, the costs associated with staging an event with only 16 entrants do not differ significantly from staging a larger event with more competitors enabling lower entry fees. It is also worth noting that the ISA sets the entry fee, but does not get any of the funds generated through the staging of the event.

All the other nominees accepted the nomination and the entry fee of €220. The two competitors who were subsequently invited to take up the slots made available by Shane and Hugh were delighted to accept. It is regrettable that two sailors, who should be sailing in the event have declined their invitation, however in the absence of a sponsor, we do not believe it is unreasonable to ask the competitors to pay for the costs associated with staging the event, and buying dinner for the person lending them their boat.

At this late stage it is not possible to change the format or pricing structure for the event, however the ISA will initiate a detailed review of the event following this year’s championship, and in the improving financial environment specific efforts will be made to attract a sponsor for future championships.

In closing I'd like to express our gratitude to Royal Cork Yacht Club for hosting the event and to thank the members of the National 18 class for facilitating this event by lending their boats, their generosity is acknowledged.

We wish all the contestants every success and hope that all the participants have a truly enjoyable event and a sociable evening' – Harry Hermon, ISA.

Published in All Irelands

Last weekend Sutton Dinghy Club ran their Inter-Schools Sailing event. The event in its 41st year attracted 32 schools with 107 boats and 144 youth sailors making the start line last Saturday morning. Well 2 start lines actually with 38 boats in the Optimist Fleet and 69 boats in the Mixed Fleet racing under PY. For each Fleet there is an Individual and Team prize sailed for. The event has been graced by many of Irelands rising stars over the years including Dan O'Grady, Ger Owens, David Burrows, Scott Flanigan, Dougie Elmes and Robert Dickson. Indeed last year's Mixed Fleet winner was none other than Blackrock College's Ewan McMahon World Radial Silver medallist in 2016 and the Optimist winner in 2015 was Tom Higgins who went on to win both the British and Irish Optimist Nationals in 206. A unique event that enables Club sailors team up with future rising stars of Irish sailing.
Day 1 - Optimist – With poor weather forecast for Sunday, PRO Paul ‘PK’ Kavanagh was considering 3 races for the day. Was there even enough wind to get 2 races in? Racing commenced on time at 12.00 in a generally southerly breeze. In the light shifty wind the left side of the beat on an ebb tide was favoured with the fleet favoring a pin-end start. The leading group of 4 or 5 boats took control of the race and put clear air between them and the chasing pack. The race was shortened to two rounds with lightening winds and increasing tides. To ensure interest in the Team event is maintained boats outside the 15 minutes time limit were given a count back based on there position on the water rather than a DNF.
Race 2 was abandoned due to a major wind shift on the first beat and a postponement flag was hoisted while the course was re-configured. Again the conditions were not ideal but the PRO managed to get the fleet away on a shorter course with lightening winds and a strong ebb tide. The race was completed only just following a major wind shift which did not effect the leaders who rounded final leeward mark in a tight bunch with a following wind.
After 2 races St Fintans NS were making the running from Belvedere College and Schoil Mhuire teams with Johnny Flynn, Hugh & Luke Turvey, Luke Groarke Donagh and Leah Rickard all well placed in the Individual event. Young Abby Kinsella was best of the Sutton Dinghy Club sailors in 14th.

Inter Schools Sailing RegattaInter Schools Sailing Regatta at Sutton – As the wind lightened there was a little concern that the fleets may struggle to get round the last lap
Mixed Fleet – PRO Jim Lambkin got Race 1 for both Flight A and Flight B away first time. Flight A included both Laser Radial & 4.7's, GP14, 420 and RS Fevas and started on the same course 5 mins in front of Flight B which included Mirrors, Topper and Topaz. The 30+ boats in either fleet made for a very busy line. However the well behaved sailors ensured a single individual recall in each fleet was as bad as it got .The event is run on Portsmouth Yardstick with each boat timed and recorded for each lap of the course completed. The PY handicap system enables the Schools have teams race each other despite the teams being made up of mixed Classes. Race 1 saw the fleets well spaced along the line. In the light shifty wind the 420's looked like the early pace setters with McDowell/Dix (Loretto College) combination along with a with a few Radials including Olympic Laser aspirant Aoife Hopkins (Santa Sabina). The GP14 of Boyle/Coyne (Belvedere) after a slow start began to make an impression. A number of boats infringed by not coming through their start-finish time for time recording and paid the penalty. Meanwhile a number of the top Mirrors were travelling well and had opened considerable gap on the Topper and other Mirrors. As the wind lightened there was a little concern that the fleets may struggle to get round the last lap. But just when it was needed a short puff of breeze helped many home with some unfortunately time-out.
Race 2 saw a general recall for Flight A while Flight B showed them the way by getting away first time. Under Black flag Flight A got underway with pin end favored this time and an ebb tide adding its own challenge. For most of the first lap the wind was steady with the GP14 well up with the Radials and 420 from the start. As the race progressed the GP14 eked out an on the water lead but the Radials, 4.7 including Rickard (Gonzaga), Hopkins (Santa Sabina), Higgins (Gonzaga) and Hopkins (Mount Temple) and the Mirrors of Croasdel/Harrington (St Alyosius, Athlone) & Graf/Croasdel (Athlone Community College) in Flight B were also going well. However on the start of the second lap the wind became decidedly light. The PRO made a call to shorten the course for the Radials, 420’s and GP14 which meant everybody was finishing on end of lap 2. It was a good job the Committee boat was well stocked with sail number callers and recorders as Flight A and Flight B converged on the finish together. Race 2 was concluded again with a few boats timed out. The PRO went into sequence for a 3rd race, but quickly went to AP as the wind lightened. However with tide now an issue for getting ribs, committee boat and indeed some of the fleet back the PRO abandoned racing for the day to the delighted cheers of the by now tired crews. The fleet of 69 boats sailing back to the Club made for a spectacular sight.
After 2 races, Gonzaga hold a short lead over Belvedere College and Sligo Grammar with the furthest travelers the McCallister brothers from Bandon Grammar holding a small lead over the Athlone boats of Ben Graf and Caolann Croasdel with 4.7 of Tom Higgins and Dan Hopkins next followed by Aoife Hopkins and then Sutton Dinghy Club sailors Peter Boyle & Tim Coyne in the GP14.

Day 2 - Optimist Fleet – Day 2 arrived with great expectations of a little more breeze for the fleet than Saturday. The Fleets took to the water about 10:30 in 10-12 knots but that was really as good as it got. The clouds arrived with persistent mist rain and with it the wind dropped also.
PRO Paul ‘PK’ Kavanagh’s first start was abandoned due to a wind shift and then rain and then no wind. An AP was hoisted and after a lengthy delay the PRO and his team managed to get the Race underway in a light wind. 2 boats were over at the start with both boats returning to start line following individual recall. However in a dying wind PRO made the decision to shorten the race at the leeward mark following round 2. A number of boats did not make the finish due to the time limit, however they were all placed following a count-back to end of Lap 1.
The Opi sailors showed great patience having been on the water a long time with the light wind resulting in a single race for the day. The results were delayed as a Protest was heard that could have had a profound impact on the overall results. In the end the overnight leader Johnny Flynn retained his top position following consistent sailing with the Turvey brothers left to share the 2nd and 3rd spot. With 2 sailors in the top 3 the Team event was retained by St Fintan NS from Belvedere College A with Schoil Mhuire A taking 3rd.
Mixed Fleet – The PRO on the outer fleet, our Commodore Jim Lambkin struggled to get a steady breeze for race 1. Eventually after about 40 minutes both Flights were away but very quickly it became obvious that lightening breeze allied to a flood tide meant half the fleet had difficulties making the weather mark. Race abandoned and the Fleet waited patiently. Eventually around 1:45pm breeze picked having swung to the west and now from the Pigeon House direction. With marks relaid both flights were underway and with a Black Flag in operation 2 boats fell foul. The Radial of Aoife Hopkins and GP14 of local sailors Boyle/Coyne and 420 of McDowell/Dix lead from the front but again with a lightening breeze the PRO had no options but to utilize the times at end of the first lap to ensure a race results for as many of the fleet.
While many had hoped for a bit more breeze, the event had 3 races which of course meant there could be no discards in the Individual event meaning consistency was going to be the key to making the podium. The Individual event saw overnight leaders McAllisters (Rory & Oisin) slip to second place with Ben Graf & Lugaidh Croasdel take 1st. Caolann Croasdell and Dermot Harrington took 3rd a clean sweep for the Mirror. Well handicapped on PY they still need to be sailed well in these difficult conditions to stay ahead of some well sailed Lasers, GP14 and 420. In the Team event the Gonzaga team of Loghlen Rickard and Tom Higgins, both incidentally former winners of the Optimist event here, took 1st place ahead of Sligo Grammar's Mirror team (White/Wray, Wray/VanderGrijn, White/Bamber) with in 3rd Belvedere A (Peter Boyle/Tim Coyne, S Crawford, D O’Grady).

Sutton inter schoolsBen Graf & Luagaidh Croasdel the Individual Mixed Fleet winners with Jim Lambkin Club Commodore and event PRO.With sailors and parents well fed and watered, the packed Clubhouse watched the Croke Park Football final as they waited for the Prize-giving. Club Commodore and main-fleet PRO Jim Lambkin thanked the sailors, their parents and all the volunteers and Club members for making it another superb event. With 107 boats and over 140 sailors from 32 schools it was a tremendous effort. He particularly thanked the help from local Clubs around the bay for providing Ribs and crews to facilitate rescue and mark laying. Here is to next year!

Published in Youth Sailing

The 2016 GP14 Leinster Championships were hosted by Sutton Dinghy Club and there was a super representation from Clubs up and down the country writes Andy Johnston. The strength of the Class comes from the GP14 presence in the likes Moville, Donegal, Donaghadee, Newtownards, East Antrim, East Down, Enniskillen, RSt.GYC, Blessington, Lough Foyle, Sligo, Greystones, Skerries, Clontarf, Mullingar, Swords and the crews being prepared to travel to events like the Leinsters. This year we also saw boats from the emerging fleets of Youghal in Cork and Cullaun in Co. Clare.

It was fitting that the class should be sharing this event with the Mirror Nationals as many of the current GP14 sailors began their sailing careers in this class and indeed the current GP14 fleet boasts more than its fair share of past Mirror National Champions. A number of the GP14 sailors here at the weekend were in Sutton 30 years ago when the Club last hosted the Mirror Nationals in the week of Hurricane Charley. Indeed Des McMahon (Cullaun) and Libby Tierney (Blessington) vividly remembered a race with 105 starters and only 18 finishers such were the conditions that week. With 3 Olympians and a World Champion in the GP14 Leinster Fleet this weekend in Sutton, the Mirror sailors and their parents were seriously interested in the events progress.

Light & shifty winds and three different race winners on Day 1 tells only the beginning of the story. The fickle conditions meant each race was full of twists & turns with corresponding tales of woe & good fortune. Race 1 began in moderate conditions but a dramatic right shift half way up the first beat saw boats that had worked the right hand side gain handsomely. Making the most of the windshift were the McGuinness brothers John & Donal who rounded first followed by Blessington sailors Simon Cully & Libby Tierney. John & Donal comfortably held on to win race 1 from Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken with local GP14 legend Hugh Gill sailing with Tim Coyne taking 3rd. Race 2 saw Keith Louden & Alan Thompson establish a commanding lead before letting victory slip from their grasp at the last moment by sailing to the wrong finish mark. This let local pair, Alan Blay & David Johnson sneak the win from Ger Owens & Phil Lawton. Shane & Damian were 3rd with Keith & Alan realising their error and scrambling back to 4th. In race 3 Keith & Alan’s luck improved. Ger & Phil were race leaders but as the final beat turned into a fetch initially and then a reach, the leading group of boats became becalmed leaving the rest of the fleet to hoist their spinnakers and sail past. Profiting the most from the fickle breeze, Keith & Alan took the win from Shane & Damian with Ger & Phil doing well in the end to salvage 3rd place. The fleet sailed ashore to more scones & cake and bar-b-que with a superb Thai Supper later in the evening. Sutton hospitality is a force to be reckoned with! Overnight leaders in the gold fleet were Shane & Damian despite not winning a single race. Sutton pair Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley led the silver fleet while Blessington sailors Matthew & Richard Street had sailed very consistently in the tricky conditions to lead the bronze fleet.

GP14 Final Race CarnageGP14 final race carnage at the 2016 Leinster Championships as big gusts hit the fleet off Sutton Dinghy Club

The tidal nature of Sutton Creek meant a 13.30 start on Sunday gave the fleet a welcome lie-in. The first race of the day saw Shane & Damian as early race leaders but as the wind died on the last beat, they were overhauled by both local pair Alan & David and Ger & Phil. Alan & David held on for their second win of the weekend with Ger & Phil notching up another 2nd. Race 5 was to provide another sting in the tail. The wind swung 90 degrees on the second lap, letting boats once again hoist spinnakers on the upwind leg and with numerous casualties and benefitters. Keith & Alan crossed the line ahead of Shane & Damian with Katie & Michelle in third. However Keith & Alan were left cursing their misfortune once again as they crossed the line to silence – an OCS putting paid to their chances of overall event victory. This meant race 5 winners were Shane & Damian with Katie & Michelle hanging on superbly to 2nd from Ger & Phil in 3rd.

The wind died and the prospect of a final 6th race was looking remote when the AP was hoisted a number of times. However, one more twist in the weekend’s weather saw the wind fill in and white horses suddenly appear. OOD Scorie Walls promptly got Race 6 underway as the wind started to gust above 20 knots. Shane & Damian established a good lead over the first lap only to capsize at the second windward mark. They were soon joined by Keith & Alan leaving Sutton Dinghy Clubs Alan & Dave to sail on to a third race win and secure 2nd overall. Shane & Damian recovered to 2nd which was sufficient to give them overall victory while the McGuinness brothers took 3rd position & 3rd place overall.
In the Silver fleet, local sailors Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley have been sailing very quickly in their new boat and were convincing winners from Lawrence Balham & Stephen Nelson. Local youth sailor Peter Boyle continues to impress and with his old fella Stephen crewing , finished 3rd in the silver fleet. Bronze fleet winners were Greystones sailors Kevin Gillen & Norman Lee, while Jack Buttimer & Adam McDonagh kept the Youghal flag flying with 2rd overall in the bronze fleet. Fittingly on his return to Sutton, Des McMahon & Pat Biesty, newcomers to the open circuit from Cullaun Sailing Club left with 3rd in bronze fleet.

So to summarise, an event full of twist & turns, conditions to severely test, an OOD team that coped admirably with the GP14 and Mirror fleets and superb racing for competitors from all over the country.

Thanks to Sutton Dinghy Club for their exceptional hospitality and for organising an event to remember.

Published in GP14
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The members of East Down Yacht Club in Strangford Lough welcomed the GP14 fleet back for the 2016 Ulster Championships on the 25th and 26th June with their enthusiastic and warm hospitality. This was the fleet’s first return to EDYC since the Club hosted the successful World Championships in 2014. It was good to be back. Racing was brisk for the 22 strong teams on the first day with the Race Officer pleasing every one by getting the full programme of three races and solid Olympic courses. The black flag was pulled out on a few occasions to keep manners on those pushing the line. The wind picked up in strength as the day progressed with the last race sailed in a spirited 20 knots of breeze. Download results below.

Shane McCarthy and Damian Bracken put in a devastating performance with three convincing wins followed by the McGuinness brothers with three second places. The thirds were shared equally between Curly Morris and LauraMcFarland, Keith Louden and Alan Thompson and the Gallagher brothers.

The second days racing was a little less frantic with the winds having dropped to a more relaxed 9 knots. That said, the lovely clear waters of the Lough have lots of tricky little tidal secrets that took the day for some but not all to unlock. With three more races completed, McCarthy and Bracken held on to their first place lead to become Ulster Champions. Louden and Thompson took second when they won the last race with the McGuinness brothers dropping to third overall. Steven Nelson and Brenda Preston, who also won race 4 in some style, won the silver fleet. Michael Cox and Josh Porter were second in the silver fleet with Gareth and Richard Gallagher taking third. The two Derry lads put in an impressive performance all weekend ending up 7th overall. They were also crowned the Ulster GP14 Champion Youth winners. The Bronze champions were Youghal youth sailors Adrian Lee and Edward Coyne with Thomas and Paul Sexton from Sligo in second and Robson Ogg and James Ogg from Donaghadee taking third bronze.

Finally an impressive new trophy to mark the achievements of ace crew Andy Thompson from Larne was presented for the first time to winning crew, Damian Bracken. Andy has, over the years, notched up title after title in the GP14 and other classes and it is fitting that the GP class in Ireland recognise his unparalleled achievements. Well done Andy!

Published in GP14
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The GP14 Riocard O'Tiarnaigh Challenge was again this year held at Swords Sailing and Boating Club on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of May. It was sailed as a combined event with the Purcell Trophy this year due to the 2016 World championships being held in Barbados at Easter. A warm welcome was given by the club to all competitors and their friendship and hospitality was extended thought the weekend, with their incredible race management on the water and their fantastic catering and ashore.

The results of the Purcell trophy were rolled over from the Saturday and used partly as qualifying for the Riocard O'Tiarnaigh Challenge final. A total of 7 races would be sailed for qualifying purposes with one discard to be used. After the Purcell event results were counted three shorter races with separate fleet starts were scheduled to be sailed on the Sunday morning.

Qualifying positions for the gold and silver fleets were wide open with a number of boats able to fill the four qualifying positions for each fleet.

In the first two races on the Sunday morning in the gold fleet Keith Louden and Alan Thompson took two race wins and Shane McCarthy & Damian Bracken took two second places. John & Donal McGuinness qualified in third place, this left the last place open and to be contested in the final race by three boats. Niall Henry and Ossian Geraghty took the race win and with other results going their way, they grabbed the final place. However they would later choose not to contest the final and pass on the final slot to Hugh Gill and Simon Revill.

The Silver fleet was just as hotly contested with the final places being decided in the final race of qualifying with Michael Cox and Josh Porter, Simon Jeffery and Alan Henry, Katie Dwyer and Michelle Rowley and Simon Cully and Richard Street all making it through.

The bronze fleet sailors Ian Nish and his crew Des, and Keith and Barbara Leonard who had already qualified, went out on Sunday morning to test out the conditions and get some practice in preparation for the final.

At lunch time the wind died away completely but when PRO Peter Smyth blew his whistle to signal end to lunch the wind duly obliged and within half an hour it had settled in to a steady force 3 in strength. However it was still shifting back and forth in direction, as it had done all weekend in preparation for the final.

The first race saw a great start by Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley and when they rounded the windward mark with a sizeable lead they could not be caught by Shane McCarthy & Damian Bracken, a result which would prove significant for the girls by the end of the day. John & Donal McGuinness crossed the line in third place.

Second race saw Shane McCarthy and Damian Bracken take an early lead which they would maintain to the end and with positions changing behind them Keith Louden & Alan Thompson took second and John & Donal McGuinness were third.

In the third and final race points counted double which meant any number of boats could still win the event, Keith Louden & Alan Thompson led at the windward mark and held on to that lead until the final leeward mark when they were passed by Shane Mc Carthy & Damien Bracken. Keith Louden & Alan Thompson finished second and Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley in third.

This result gave Shane McCarthy & Damien Bracken the Riocard O'Tiarnaigh Challenge win, Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley took second in a break of tie with Keith Louden & Alan Thompson in third place.

Published in GP14

The Irish GP 14 fleet returned to domestic competition at the weekend after a very enjoyable World Championship in Barbados over Easter, made all the more enjoyable when we had an Irish winner in Shane McCarthy & Andy Davis. Results are downloadable below.

The Purcell Championship hosted by Swords Sailing Club on Saturday 21st was sailed over four races. The first race saw our newly crowned world champion first at the weather mark and remained there for the rest of the race. With Keith Louden & Alan Thompson taking second and Hugh Gill with his new boat and new crew Simon Revill beginning to find some form in third.

Race 2 saw Shane & Damian round the weather mark in first followed closely by John & Donal McGuinness in second and Keith & Alan in third. On the second beat the wind shifted to right favouring the McGuinness brothers who were first to the weather mark and held it all the way to the finish. Shane & Damian took second followed by Keith & Alan in third.

Race 3 started with significantly less breeze than the morning races and saw the McGuinness Bros get to the weather mark first followed by Shane & Damian. With the breeze slowly dying the world champion showed his superior speed in light airs and passed John & Donal to leeward on the second reach and held the position to the finish. The McGuinness brothers were second with Richard Street & Simon Dickson in third.

Race 4 was sailed in a light-shifting breeze. Curley Morris & Laura McFarland lead at the weather mark with Richard Street & Simon Dickson in second followed by Shane & Damian. At the end of the of the first lap Keith & Alan were at the back end of the fleet but an inspired tack to the left at the start of the second beat paid dividend and put them in the top four at the weather mark. Next time around at the weather mark they had got themselves into second just behind Richard & Simon. With the race shortened and one leg to go it was a drag race to the finish with Keith & Alan coming out on top and finishing first with Curly & Laura in Second and Richard & Simon in third.
Shane & Damian retained the Purcell Championship with two first and a second. Keith & Alan’s dramatic comeback in the last race was enough to wrestle second place from John & Donal who finished third overall.
Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley took first overall in the silver closely followed by Michael Cox & Josh Porter in second and Cathal Sheridan & David Cooke taking third in the silver. Pat Savage and Linda Darby took first overall in the Bronze fleet while Bernie Grogan & Rosena Cuddy finished a credible second.

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The GP14 Ireland fleet kicks off its 2016 season with combined Purcell Trophy 2016 & O’Tiarnaigh Challenge from 21-22 May at Swords Sailing & Boating Club.

The first event will of course be sailed with the new Irish world champion among its numbers. Shane McCarthy, who was just named Afloat's 'Sailor Of The Month' for April, will be in attendance at the North Dublin venue.

The format is as follows:

Saturday 21 May 2016 (Purcell Trophy)
Four Races First Race 12.00noon
Lunches ashore, there will be a briefing before going afloat

Sunday 22 May 2016 (R O'Tiarnaigh Challenge)
Two/Three Races First Race 10.30.
Lunches ashore, there will be a briefing before going afloat
The Finals will as soon as possible after the selection of the 12 Finalist

The NOR is attached.

Published in GP14
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