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#gp14 – Following the 'major rescue' incident during the GP14 Worlds at East Down Yacht Club on Monday afternoon, championship organisers issued the following statement to 'reassure' members:

'Today was the first day of the event with race 1 starting at 12.00 in wind speeds of 17 knots. 88 boats were "Tallied Out" (This is a safety system that ensures the event organisers know which boats are on the water and who is in each boat). Towards the finish of the first race the Race Officer decided that due to worsening weather conditions the second race of the day would be cancelled. The signal for race cancellation was displayed and the safety boat crews were informed that racing for the day was finished. The fleet started to head ashore when a strong squall of 31 Knots passed over the race area. The effect of this was that some of the GP14 Boats capsized, this is not an unusual situation and crews are trained on how to "Right" their boat. Unfortunately a further stronger squall registering 37 Knots followed the first, capsizing a further number of the fleet.

Apparent media reports of 80 boats being capsized would be incorrect as there would have been no more than 10-12 Boats capsized at any one time. The capsizes where being successfully handled by the competitors and the team of 13 safety boats that had been accompanying the racing fleet. The Race officer then made the correct decision, as a precaution, to contact the Coast Guard should the weather conditions worsen and in fact the weather conditions improved after 15 minutes.

As regards injuries apart from 2 competitors with suspected broken limbs no one in the event was seriously injured other than minor scratches, cut and bruises, consistent with the sport at this level'.

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#strangfordlough –  There is good news from Strangford Lough after a major incident during the GP14 Dinghy World Sailing Championships this afternoon. More than 200 people have returned to shore after 87 sailing dinghies were hit by stormy weather and gusts of up to 60mph. Apart from a few minor injuries – all crews from the 105 competing boats are safe and well after a squall capsized many of the world championship fleet in the first race of the week long event.

RNLI sources report that up to 20 sailors had been in the water with another 67 clinging to their boats.

The fast response of the emergency services is being widely praised. It is a normal part of dinghy racing in strong winds for capsizes to occur and all racing crews are familiar with righting techniques and in most cases largely capable of self–help. 

BBC report at least ten people have been injured during the incident. 

A major rescue effort was under way after about 80 sailing dinghies were hit by a sudden squall.

It is understood some boats capsized and up to 100 people, including children, may be involved. The Belfast coastguard said they believe all those in the water have been accounted for.

However, rescue units at the scene, including the helicopters and lifeboats, are carrying out further searches.

The injured are being treated by ambulances at the scene.

The Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard rescue teams, the Portaferry and Newcastle RNLI lifeboats, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter along with the helicopter from RAF Valley have been sent to the scene.

Belfast Coastguard was first contacted just before 2pm reporting that some of the boats had capsized, while others were struggling to cope in the strong winds and squally showers.

The Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams, the Portaferry and Newcastle RNLI lifeboats, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter along with the helicopter from RAF Valley were sent to the scene, along with PSNI and ambulance crews.

10 people were injured, with some of them showing signs of hypothermia.

Liam Colquhoun, Watch Manager at Belfast Coastguard, said at 1600 hours:

"We have now been told by our rescue units on scene that everyone has safely returned to shore and that no one is missing.

"We believe 20 people ended up in the water after their boats capsized this afternoon, 10 of them requiring medical attention.

"The weather conditions on scene have been pretty treacherous, with winds gusting up to 60mph. We're very thankful that everyone has now safely returned."

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#gp14 – With the upcoming GP14 World Championships in August, this year's Irish Nationals was shortened to a two day event and held under the burgee of Sligo Yacht Club. A fleet of 41 boats (including 12 boats from the host club) set up camp at Rosses point, just north of Sligo to compete for the 2014 GP14 Championship of Ireland. Despite light & variable conditions, the weekend didn't disappoint and with some masterful sailing, Olympian Ger Owens sailing with Melanie Morris retained the GP14 Championship title they won in Sutton last year.

OD, Gus Henry, took his fleet of rescue and mark boats out on the water early on Saturday despite a forecast of low winds. The fleet were initially held ashore but after a short 30 minute postponement due to the fickle wind, were told to take to the water. Stephen Boyle was unable to make this event but it was great to see crew Eanna Lawless take over the helm of his boat and with Sinead Dickson crewing they had the bragging rights of being first boat to the first weather mark in race 1. However as the wind continued to veer and the first reach turned into run the race officer made the decision to call the fleet back and restart the race.

This time it was Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken who led at the first mark followed by Curly Morris & Laura McFarland. On the second upwind however, places changed with Ger & Melanie taking the lead which they held for the rest of the race. Second were Tim Corcoran & Brendan Brogan who up to now had been taking a year's sabbatical but showed that this hadn't affected any of their boatspeed. Third place went to recent Ulster champions Alan Blay & David Johnston.

Race 2: With the fleet starting under the black flag, there were a number of recalls and subsequent casualties. It seems a combination of over enthusiasm and strong tidal current caught out many crews. After 2 general recalls there were 10 who were deemed to be over and had to sit out and watch the race which eventually got away at the 3rd attempt. Local sailors Damian Mullen & Sam Wray seemed to benefit from the ebbing tide on the left hand side of the beat and came in to the first mark with a big lead. Ultimately they were overhauled by both Ger & Melanie and Sligo pairing Paddy O'Connor & Colm O' Flaherty.

Race 3: Race 3 saw the breeze again move to the west but gain in strength and become more constant. The OD decided to move the course more out to sea. Another black flag start and two more victims included the pairing of Paddy & Colm who were leading at the windward mark before being hauled out of the race. This left Tim & Brendan to take over the lead and they sailed a great race to take the win from Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty.

So after day 1 with three races completed the overnight leaders were Ger & Melanie followed by Alan Blay & David Johnston and John & Donal McGuinness in third. The silver fleet was led by Cathal Sheridan, with Ronan Armstrong leading the bronze fleet.

On Sunday morning the fleet launched to what initially looked like more breeze but which subsequently started to ease off again. Race 4 saw the fleet split upwind, hitting both the left and right corners of the beat. Ultimately boats that went right benefitted hugely from more pressure and a right hand shift. Local sailors Niall & Ossian led at the first mark and were never challenged. They were followed home by Coleman Grimes & David Lapin and Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken.

Race 5 was a close fought race between the lead boats of Ger & Melanie, Tim & Brendan, and Alan & David, and this is the order they finished in. The race win cemented the stranglehold that Ger & Melanie had on the event, as they showed great skill and speed in the prevalent light winds of the weekend.

Race 6 a further wind shift led to yet another resetting of the course for the final race of the event. At which point some crews decided they had had enough of the pernickety winds off Rosses Point and headed ashore. Of the remaining fleet, first around the weather mark was Norman & Ken Lee, who had a good lead over the event leaders Ger & Melanie. Norman was even able to extend his lead over the first two laps. On the upwind leg of the sausage, there was another wind shift which Ger & Melanie made the better use of to emerge around the weather mark in first place, which was maintained to the end of the race. Norman & Ken finished the race in second place with Shane & Damian crossing the line in third. The wind then died completely leaving about half the fleet stranded on the run. The SIs allowed for all to be given their position at the weather mark as their finishing position rather than a DNF. The majority of the fleet having been towed ashore due to the wind dropping anxiously awaited the results of the event although there were to be no surprises as to the overall winner!

After the numbers were crunched the 2014 GP14 Champions of Ireland were Ger Owens & Melanie Morris with a points total of 7. In second place was local sailor and rear-commodore Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty who beat Shane McCarthy & Damian Bracken by virtue of their win in race 4.

Winner of the silver fleet was Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley of Sutton Dinghy Club sailing in their first event together and finishing a very impressive 10th overall. Winner of the bronze fleet was Simon Jeffery crewed by Rebecca Jeffery of East Down Yacht Club.

Winner of the Championship Junior Helm (u19) was Dan Gill from Sutton Sailing club.

At the prize giving Ger Owens said a few words on behalf of the sailors highlighting that all three GP14 events this year have been won by different crews and that with excellent turnouts, the fleet is in good health and should be confident of doing well in a couple of weeks at the World Championships in East Down YC

GP14 Overall Results:

1. Ger Owens & Melanie Morris (7 points)
2. Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty (25 points)
3. Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken (25 points)
4. Alan Blay & David Johnston (30 points)
5. Dan & Mairin O'Connell (36 points)
6. Tim Corcoran & Brendan Brogan (38 points)
7. John McGuinness & Donal McGuinness (38 points)
8. Paddy O'Connor & Colm O'Flaherty (39 points)
9. Alastair Duffin & Brendan McGrenaghan (44 points)
10. Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley (48 points)

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#GP14World – There's less than a month to go before the start of the GP14 World Championships to be held at East Down Yacht Club.

This biennial event will see one of the biggest fleets of single class twin crew dinghies assemble in Northern Ireland this year. With an international following the event has attracted around 200 competitors (Helm and Crew) some from as far away as Australia. Hosted by East Down Yacht Club (EDYC) the event will take place on Strangford Lough with races being held daily over the week-long event. The main sponsor of the event is Down District Council with Exe Sails the title sponsor and to mark their involvement Exe Sails are offering a promotional discount on their GP14 Sails especially for the event.

With previous World Championships being held in locations such as Sri Lanka (2011) and future Championships planned for Barbados (2016) this it is a brilliant opportunity for Northern Ireland to showcase Strangford Lough and the surrounding area. Designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty and an area of special scientific interest, Strangford Lough is one of Northern Ireland lesser known "Hidden Gems" Strangford Lough while almost totally landlocked is completely tidal, providing a sanctuary for seals, porpoises, terns, horse mussels, and many other species of wildlife. With moderate currents and sheltered from ocean swell, the mid-lough provides some of the best waters for dinghy racing anywhere in the world.

The Exe Sails GP14 world Championship event will consist of two races held each day, and with approximately 100 boats jostling for starting position this should make for some fantastic and exciting racing. This will be an amazing spectacle especially when the fleet has hoisted their multi-coloured spinnakers on "a run" between marks. Prizes will be awarded daily and on the final Friday the Grand Prizes will be awarded prior to the Gala Dinner event held at EDYC.

Much preparation has been ongoing behind the scenes with volunteer teams dedicated to logistics, accommodation and catering for both competitors and organisers. A dedicated fleet of around 10 safety boats (RIBs) will also be on the water each day, all of which should provide for a smooth successful safe and enjoyable event.

The good news is it's not too late to enter as the closing deadline has been extended to the 1st August 2014 Application forms are available from the GP14World Face Book or East Down Yacht Club web site. Each Crew will be given a registration pack on arrival and having seen a sneak preview there are some nice goodies in there.

Lying in the shelter of Taggart island, a couple of miles north of Killyleagh at the south end of the lough, East Down Yacht Club provides will provide superb facilities for the expected 100 plus GP14s, with hard standing for 150 dinghies, a wide gentle slip, bar and dining facilities, along with grounds for camping this will be one great event. Contact East Down Yacht Club directly for accommodation availability at the club or at nearby facilities.

The GP14 Dingy was designed by Jack Holt in 1949. The idea behind the design was to build a General Purpose (GP) 14-foot dinghy which could be cruised, raced or rowed, capable of being powered effectively by a small outboard motor and able to be towed behind a small family car and able to be launched and recovered reasonably easily. Such was the effectiveness of the design the GP14 Class has continued to this day with active fleets in the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and parts of north-eastern USA.

For more information and promotional offers, along with daily race results, photographs and video of each day's events you can follow the 2014 GP14 World Championships on twitter @GP14World or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/gp14world

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#gp14 – The GP14 Ulster Championship took place at the weekend, 28-29th June, at Donaghadee Sailing Club. A fleet of 25 boats took to the water on Saturday on a cracking day for sailing - constant strong wind and sunshine greeting the crews for the day's racing.

The event was sponsored by "Stairlift Solutions".

Race officer for the weekend was the well-seasoned James McKee, ably assisted by his own crew of handpicked and experienced helpers. Once the committee boat was finally secured at anchor (we won't go into that one) and a few mark adjustments made due to shifting winds (a task loved and endeared by the safety boat crews with precise positioning instructions provided by the PRO), the first of the day's races got off around 1 o'clock. This was a tight race in many ways and the strong tide caught a few crews off-guard as they approached the leeward mark, only to be "mashed" in close proximity with other crews suffering the same fate.

There were some reports of "rammed boats", "timber splintering" and offenders getting dizzy with 720's. One crew who shall remain nameless apparently will have 3 fleet insignia Bells stencilled on the side of their boat! Escaping from the carnage, Sutton Dinghy Clubs' Alan Blay & David Johnston took line honours in race one.

With the weather conditions remaining steady, PRO James McKee ensured little time was wasted before the start of race 2. This provided more of the same conditions with the winners this time Curly Morris & Laura McFarland from Newtownards Sailing Club.

Race three was accompanied by the onset of fatigue for some teams as crews began to tire due to the prolonged effect of the wind and sailing conditions with one or two boats deciding to call it a day before the race. However for the remaining crews battling for position on the start line, the 3rd and final race of the day began in great conditions and provided for an exciting race that was ultimately won by Niall Henry & Ossian Gerraghty of Sligo Yacht Club.

After the days racing, with all boats and crew safely on shore the fleet retired to the club house for a well-deserved supper and the odd exchange of insurer details.

Sunday again was blessed with glorious sunshine, however the wind had dropped overnight to little more than a light puff and even this was intermittent. James McKee postponed the planned race start as crews and organisers mulled about the club house and the dingy park waiting for a decision. Eventually just before noon it was decided by consent to go for a start and crews set out for the days racing.

A further two races were held with Dan & Hugh Gill from Sutton Dinghy Club taking 1st place honors in race four. The final race of the event was won by John & Donal McGuinness from Moville Boat Club. Once all were safely ashore the final results revealed that overall event winners were Alan Blay & David Johnston from Sutton Dingy Club. Prizes were awarded by the event sponsor Ken Wallace of Stairlift Solutions.

Donaghadee Sailing Club commodore Nick Butler thanked participants and all those whose efforts contributed to a very successful weekend and whose numbers are too many to note here - you know who you are and thank you! The final say went to Lawrence Balham who reminded all about the upcoming Irish championships at Sligo YC and the upcoming GP14 World Championship at East Antrim - if you have not yet registered please do so soon.

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#gp14 – A great weekend event was hosted by East Down Yacht Club (EDYC) ahead of the upcoming GP14 World Championships on Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland writes Shane McCarthy. Olympic sailor Matt McGovern was on hand to share his knowledge and experience. A total of fourteen GP14's took advantage of the prospect of some early gate start practice but were initially uncertain if they would actually get on the water due to poor weather i.e. no wind and that mizzle rain "The sort that really soaks you". The correct call was made at 3pm to "go for it" with wind speed increasing for most of the afternoon. The fleet of 14 sailed out from the club and after a slow multi tack course out of the Dorn reached the practice area some 30 minutes later!

The first gate start was a gentle affair with everyone picking their spot and crossing behind the gate launch without issue. However as the confidence of the fleet grew along with the wind speed and clearing cloud providing welcome sunshine, more aggressive starts took place with individual crews picking their favoured spot. About 10 starts were made giving great practical experience to all involved including the gate launch and the guard boat teams who on this occasion did not have to "plough" through any wayward GP14s, much to the dismay of the guard boat crew! After a wing mark was laid and a few more starts were completed the fleet returned to EDYC for debriefing, with Matt McGovern again giving some expert advice and tips whilst reviewing video footage of the day's events.

The evening finished with a superb BBQ that consisted of a more than healthy portion of burgers, sausages and chicken accompanied by lashings of salad, garlic potatoes and various delicious side dishes all supplied by the hard working catering members of EDYC.

Day two (Sunday): This was a complete contrast to the previous day with wind blowing at a steady 22 knots and gusting well beyond. Some of the previous days crews made the decision not to set sail however a respectable 10 boats made up the fleet and prepared to battle what could only be described as a very disturbed sea within the lough.

Leaving the relative calm of the sheltered north side of the Dorn (even this managed to capsize one boat and its crew on the way out) where the fleet had mustered, the fleet where escorted under the watchful eye of the EDYC safety boats and crew to the designated competition area.
Out on the open Lough the fleet met the full force of the day's weather conditions and a further series of gate start races began. This was in total contrast to the gentlemanly starts of the previous day with the conditions forcing the fleet to hold a line much further back from the gate & guard boats compared to Saturday's starts. The testing conditions claimed several crews, with capsizes not uncommon. However no crews unfortunate enough to experience the clean water of Strangford Lough required actual physical assistance from the safety boats on hand despite the testing conditions - a tribute to the skill and experience of those making up the fleet.

Listening to the crews on return to shore whilst enjoying further hospitality from EDYC in the form of soup, rolls and more burgers (thanks again to the catering members of EDYC) it was obvious that those who made up the fleet on both Saturday & Sunday experienced what Strangford Lough had to offer, both on a calm day and also at the limits of sailing conditions for the class. Sunday proved to be another great days sailing and much appreciated experience was gained by both competitors and EDYC gate start teams. It would be an accurate conclusion to state that of all of those who attended this event no-one left disappointed.

It's only right and fitting that a big thank you goes to all who either participated or assisted in a very successful and enjoyable weekends sailing.

Special thanks to those who helped organise the event including both on- the-water and shore side staff along with EDYC for hosting. 

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#gp14 – The GP14 Leinster's hosted by Mullingar SC on lovely Lough Owel in Co. Westmeath had a great entry of 36 boats from 15 clubs, from Moville in Donegal to Youghal in Cork writes Norman Lee. The tide was in so parking spots were at a premium on Saturday morning when we all rocked up but that meant deeper water for sailing thanks to the rain gods.

Saturday's 3 races in strong gusty winds had 3 different winners from different clubs. The first went to John/Donal Mc Guinness of Donegal the second to Shane Mc Carthy/Damian Bracken of Wicklow and the third to Niall Henry /Ossian Geraghty of Sligo. Large Olympic triangle courses mixed tough tacticle beats with fast planeing reaches and tactical runs and places changed regularly through the fleet with Bronze, Silver and Gold boats mixing it up.

Satisfied and tired after our exertions we all retired to the Park Hotel for a 5 star BBQ and to watch Leinster scrape by Ulster and witness the launch of a great new book on the history of MSC. There was a good band on too but it didn't get many takers from the tired legged sailors discussing the days fun.

Sunday dawned damp and dismal but it dried and the wind picked up as we all went afloat.

Three good light and tactical races were completed with interesting port biased starts and big shifts to catch out the unwary. 2 new winners popped up in search of the trophy, Paddy O Connor/ Colm O Flaherty of Sligo grabbed the first convincingly followed by Ger Owens/Melanie Morris of Dublin and Belfast taking the next 2 seeming to put them in contention but they and others got tripped by the black flag allowing the first race winners, the McGuinness brothers from Moville to be crowned Leinster Champions with their high 15.75 tally showing the competitive nature of the fleet.

GP14Leinstersoverall winners

Donal (left) and John McGuinness (centre) receive their Leinster prizes from the Mullingar Sailing Club Commodore

Tough competition in the Silver fleet say Rob Lee/ Troy Dmc NAmara of Greystones in 19 yr old 13403 triumph over Simon Cully / Libby Tierney of Blessingtonin 0 yr old 14138 - they finished a creditable 7th and 11th overall.

Local man returned fro Canada Andy Van beck won the tussle for Bronze from newbies Simon/ Rebecca Jefferys of East Down and Adrian Lee Arne Edward Coyne of Youghal.

This was a great warm up for tihe Irish fleet in preparation for the Worlds in Strangford Lough in August – roll on the Ulsters in June and the Nationals in July.

Additional reportage from GP14 class:

The Leinster Championships had an early start this year but this didn't put off enthusiasm with 36 boats showing up in Mullingar to contest in the breezy conditions. At the briefing we had a minutes silence to remember Graham Elmes,a life-long sailor and a good friend of many in the fleet who very sadly passed away earlier in the week.

Beautiful sunshine with a solid force 4 gusting 5 made for very exciting sailing and Shane Mac Carthy & Damian Bracken showed their class by taking the opener followed by Sutton pair Alan Blay & David Johnston in second and Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty in their new boat in third.

The second race was won by Niall & Ossian with the McGuinness brothers in second and Shane & Damian in third. The McGuinnesses then won the third race after a tussle up the last leg to beat Shane & Damian with Niall & Ossian in third.

Things were fairly tight after the breezy first day with the 3 boats very tight on points but Shane & Damian had a small advantage, thanks in no small part to 24 months of year round training and dieting. Keith Louden & Alan Thompson were also rumoured to be considering giving up the drink in preparation for the Worlds after watching their performance. Niall & Ossian will also have been happy to put gear failure in Swords behind them and show a real turn of pace in their new boat. As always in Mullingar there was a great social aspect with everyone back to the town and a great bar-b-que with very solid portions appreciated by all.

The following day we all awoke to rain and light winds, a complete contrast to the day before.

This was the day for Ger & Melanie to shine and we all knew it and they didn't disappoint. They had been carrying 2 fourths and a DNF from the windy day and had a lot of ground to make up. The first race had a general recall and subsequent black flag which made the start tense. Paddy O'Connor under instruction from crew Colm O'Flaherty got the favoured pin and then got a shift on the left to get away and won the race from Ger & Melanie and Keith Lauden & Alan Thompson (light wind specialists). The next race was won very easily by Ger & Melanie with Alan & David in second and Colman Grimes & David Lappin in third. Ger & Melanie cruised home in the last also with blistering speed followed again by Alan & David and with the McGuinness brothers in third and Rob Lee & Troy McNamara from the silver fleet in fourth

As we went ashore it was generally considered that Ger &Melanie had done enough as all 3 first day leaders had tripped up at various stages in the light conditions but there was a surprise in store. When the results were posted it showed a black flag DSQ for them and with the first day retiral to count, this took them out of the reckoning.

In the end the trophy went back to the sailors from Donegal in their new boat with Shane & Damian in second and Paddy & Colm in third

Rob Lee & Troy McNamara took the silver fleet with Simon Cully & Libby Tierney in second (despite very thin jib sheets) and Grahame & Rebecca Farrington in third. Andy Vanbeck honoured us with his presence from Canada and won the bronze fleet with rock star crew Nigel Sloan. Simon & Rebecca Jeffery finished second in the bronze fleet and Adrian Lee & Edward Coyne in third.

Overall Results:

Gold Fleet:

1. John & Donal McGuinness
2. Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken
3. Paddy O'Connor & Colm O'Flaherty

Silver Fleet:

1. Rob Lee & Troy McNamara
2. Simon Cully & Libby Tierney
3. Grahame & Rebecca Farrington

Bronze Fleet:

1. Andy VanBeck & Nigel Sloan
2. Simon & Rebecca Jeffery
3. Adrian Lee & Edward Coyne

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#gp14 – The first Irish GP14 event of the 2014 season was the Riocard O' Tiarnaigh Challenge held at Swords Sailing Club on the 26th silver and gold fleets starting separately. Each fleet takes part in up to nine qualifying races spread over Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Following the Qualifying races, the top four boats from each fleet then compete against each other in the Finals, which consists of three races. With the scores from all previous racing now irrelevant, it would all be to play for.

A blustery first day greeted the 21 boats. Racing started a bit later than planned but Race Officer Peter Smyth managed to get 4 races in. The strong winds were unforgiving and there were several early season teething problems for some of the boats, with the number of starters in each consecutive race gradually reducing to 11 in the final race of the day. With a variety of courses laid out, racing was a challenge, particularly identifying the correct pipe buoy to be rounded. The blustery conditions were challenging with many boats across the fleets displaying the telltale mud stains on the mast tip and boom as a result of a capsize in the shallow water of the estuary. Saturday ended with many early season aches and pains, bumps and bruises and the fleet looking forward to the forecasted lighter winds on Sunday....

On Sunday morning the early starters were greeted with almost identical conditions to Saturday, however, by the time racing started the wind had dropped enough to entice even the most reluctant competitors back onto the water.

The Race Officer and his team did a sterling job to fit in 4 races before lunch. Racing was enjoyable and speaking on behalf of the Silver fleet, there was good banter between the boats and every race was nip and tuck with three of the races being decided on the last tack. On one occasion a spinnaker pole was even held to ransom after being thrown overboard by Simon and Richard, it was eventually handed back half way down the reaching leg.

A quick lunch break ashore and the results were tallied up from the Qualifying racing. The 12 finalists were identified:

Gold Fleet Qualifying Positions
1st Shane MacCarthy / Damian Bracken (Greystones SC)
2nd Keith Louden / Alan Thompson (ISA)
3rd Patrick O'Conor / Colm O'Flaherty (Sligo SC)
4th Curly Morris / Laura McFarland (Newtownards SC)

Silver Fleet Qualifying Positions
1st Simon Cully / Richard Street (Blessington)
2nd Graeme Farrington / Rebecca Farrington (East Down YC)
3rd Dan Gallagher / Hugh Gill (MBC / LFYC)
4th Donal Brennan / Tommy Kiernan (Swords SBC)

Bronze Fleet Qualifying Positions
1st Katie Dwyer / Aoife Bourke (Sutton DC)
2nd Pat Savage / Declan O'Brien (Swords SBC)
3rd James Hockney / James Johnson (LFYC)
4th Simon Jeffery / Rebecca Jeffery (East Down YC)

The 12 finalists rigged up and headed out for the three Final races. Race Officer Peter Smyth set a windward/leeward course.
The first race kicked off with the Silver fleet sailors obviously having something to prove, Simon Cully & Richard Street in their brand new Duffin boat battled it out with Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken, but Shane and Damian got the upper hand and finished first, Simon & Richard came in second with Graeme & Rebecca Farrington managing to get third place.
The second race started with the gold fleet sailors now with something to prove and claimed the top three places. Shane MacCarthy & Damien Bracken asserting their dominance and finishing first with Paddy O'Conor & Colm O'Flaherty in second, closely followed by Curly Morris & Laura McFarland.
The final race was worth double points, so a good finish was critical. However, so too was a good start! A recall was signalled but most of the fleet sailed on regardless. For some of the competitors, the results of the third and final race were unknown until the results sheet came out. With 3 of the gold fleet boats being over at the start, the final finishing positions for the last race were Simon Cully & Richard Street finishing first, Shane MacCarthy & Damien Bracken coming in second and much to their surprise Graeme & Rebecca Farrington finishing third.
The overall winners of the Riocard O' Tiarnaigh Challenge, and the Gold Fleet winners were Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken. Silver Fleet winners Simon Cully & Richard Street finished 2nd overall with fellow Silver Fleet sailors Graeme & Rebecca Farrington finishing 3rd overall. Bronze Fleet winners James Hockney & James Johnson finished 4th overall.

Overall Results
1st Shane MacCarthy / Damian Bracken (GOLD)
2nd Simon Cully / Richard Street (SILVER)
3rd Graeme Farrington / Rebecca Farrington (SILVER)
4th James Hockney / James Johnson (BRONZE)
5th Dan Gallagher / Hugh Gill (SILVER)
6th Patrick O'Connor / Colm O'Flaherty (GOLD)
7th Simon Jeffery / Rebecca Jeffery (BRONZE)
8th Curly Morris / Laura McFarland (GOLD)
9th Katie Dwyer / Aoife Bourke (BRONZE)
10th Keith Louden / Alan Thompson (GOLD)
11th Donal Brennan / Tommy Kiernan (SILVER)
12th Pat Savage / Declan O'Brien (BRONZE)

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#GP14 - A fundraising effort at the recent Craftinsure GP14 Championship of Ireland has helped raise more than €4,000 for Make-A-Wish Ireland.

Last Thursday 14 November a cheque for €4,218 was presented to the charity's representative Martina Madden by Sutton Dinghy Club Commodore Andy Johnston at a special evening to thank the club's sponsors and partners.

The donation represents the efforts of competing sailors, their families, visitors and club members alike at the three-day GP14 class competition hosted by Sutton at the end of August, which attracted 50 boats and crews from across Ireland and the UK.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, three-time Irish Olympic sailor Ger Owens and crew Melanie Morris took the event in style amid some exceptionally close competition.

Presenting the cheque, Cmdr Johnston thanked event organiser Hugh Gill and his team for the huge effort in not only staging a successful sailing event but also supporting such a deserving cause as Make-A-Wish Ireland.

Madden, meanwhile, thanked the club and the GP14 Class Association for their decision to select Make-A-Wish Ireland as the events charity of choice and applauded the efforts of sailors, volunteers, members and sponsors in helping raise such a fantastic amount for a worthy cause.

The evening was also attended by Stephen Boyle, representing the GP14 Class Association, and Ciaran Murphy of the ISA, along with representatives of some of the club's sponsors.

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#Gp14 – The forecast for the first day of the Craftinsure GP14 Championship of Ireland at Sutton Dinghy Club did not make for great reading with less than 6 knots from north west. However as boats started arriving and getting set up for launch there was a decent breeze and with plenty of sun it was hoped it might hold on for the day.
The briefing was short, the introduction and welcome of the Classic fleet (same start, shorter course and separate prize for Mark 1 GP14) and reminder that the event was also raising funds for the charity Make a Wish Foundation – Ireland. While briefing was underway, PRO Scorie Walls and the race management team and RIB's were headed out into the bay. With 50 boats entered, 47 launched with some top names and a few great days racing in store.
The first race got away on a black flag at the second time of asking. The race was a close and cagey affair with 7 or 8 boats never far from the lead. Curly Morris and Tim Corcoran shared lead a few times with Shane McCarthy, Ruan O'Tiarnaigh, Graham Elmes, Hugh Gill and Ger Owens never too far away.
The downwind leg and last beat were close thing with Tim Corcoran and Ruan O'Tiarnaigh maintaing their lead all the way to the finish. Alasdair Duffin took 3rd followed by Shane McCarthy with Ger Owens taking 5th. Down the fleet, local junior David Johnston also showed well in top 20 with the Classic fleet having some close racing with Duncan Greenhalgh battling it out with Stephen Parry and former National Champion Pat Murphy back in a GP14 for the first time in 25 years.
Despite the ligthening breeze, the fleet managed to finish within the tight 15 minute deadline. Good racing considering some of the older boats. With the wind due to die away, the PRO didn't waste much time getting second race underway, and went with a black flag from the off.
Again a close race all the way around with Corcoran, Morris, McCarthy and Owen again all to the fore. A wind shift saw a C flag indicating weather mark change the second time around and with it Owens made decisive move out left as wind lightened. Owens never looked back and continued to extend lead with Morris and Corcoran, Gill and McCarthy leading the charge.
At the finish Owens had plenty to spare, over Corcoran and Morris who were then surprised to find themselves black flagged leaving local Hugh Gill to take 2nd ahead of Shane McCarthy. With the wind dying, a good portion of the main fleet failed to make it inside 15minute time limit.
This was not an issue for Classic fleet who all had their finish in the bag at end of round 1. And so at end of day 1 it was Olympian Ger Owens leading from Shane McCarthy with Hugh Gill in 3rd.
With a forecast suggesting a little more breeze than Saturday but locals concerned that the sea breeze might neutralise the northerly 8 knots, cautious optimism was the order of the day as the fleet followed PRO Scorie Walls out into the Bay.
With 3 races scheduled and HW at 3:30, there was not much room for delay, but it was still 3rd attempt under a black flag before the racing got underway. In 8 knots of breeze it was Ger Owens who laid down the first marker and led by 10 lenghts at weather mark and then extended his lead on each rounding. A great battle ensued behind for the minor placings with Morris, Duffin, Elmes, O'Connor, Corcoran and Boyle all in close contention. With 30 boat lenghts to spare it was Ownes ahead of Morris with O'Connor taking 3rd from Duffin, Corcoran and local boat Boyle in 6th.
Race 2 was always going to be a black flag from the start, but with a healthy 10 knot breeze, the fleet saw a few new faces at the top end. Along with Morris, Owens, Corcoran and Duffin , Shane McCarthy and Dan O'Connell were now in the mix. It took till leeward mark for Owens to take the lead and again from their it was a race for minor placings as Owens effortlessly moved clear of the fleet. Up the final beat it was Owens who held off a resurgent Morris, with McCarthy taking 3rd from O'Connell, Corcoran and Elmes in 6th.
With the wind holding PRO wasted no time and had 3rd race underway with black flag from the start. Owens, O'Connell and Morris with local junior Johnston get away to a great start. Not far behind we have Niall Henry, Molloy, and Duffin. This race is far closer with Owens unable to shake off Molloy and O'Connell with Morris and Duffin also in close contention. It was not till final spinnaker leg that Owens got a clear lead of 4-5 boat lengths to stay ahead of O'Connell and Morris. With 3 bullets , Day 2 was a masterclass from Owens and his crew Melanie Morris, with hardly a foot wrong and great to watch.
With 2 races scheduled for Monday, Owens led by 13 points and really only needed a top 10 placing in either race to take the title. However a mark of how close the racing was behind the leading pair, the next 5 boats are separated by 7 points and Corcoran, Morris, McCarthy, Duffin and O'Connell all in with a chance of 2nd.
The forecast, 3 knots gusting 4 is not conducive to getting in 2 races. With the day looking like it would be warm with plenty of sun, the hope was a sea breeze would kick in. Shortly after 2pm, the breeze shifted more easterly and with 10 knots, PRO Scorie Walls soon had the fleet in sequence. Windward leeward course, Black flags and the fleet was away all clear.
All the main contenders were in the mix, and the first separation downwind saw Morris and Owens take a slight advantage. Up the next beat O'Connell joined Owens and put some daylight between themselves and the chasing pack of McCarthy, Morris, Corcoran, Elmes and O'Tiarnaigh.
Both boats were neck and neck, tack for tack down to weather mark with Owens just creeping inside O'Connell. A great rounding and the momentum was now with the event leader. Corcoran had now re-connected with Owens and O'Connell and these 3 headed the fleet with Owens out right and Corcoran and O'Connell down the middle to leeward mark for the last time.
Owens held the short lead to the finish, taking 5 races on the bounce and becoming the new GP14 Champion. In a close finish, Corcoran pipped O'Connell for 2nd with Morris 4th ahead of Elmes and McCarthy 6th. With one race to go, it was still all to play for the minor placings.
Ger Owens lined up on the start line for 7th which got away first time under Black flag and south easterly 6-8knots. Shortly after rounding the weather mark Owens heads home and the race is truly on for the minor placings.
O'Connells showing over last 4 races had put him right in contention for a podium finish, but with Corcoran not in top 10 on final downwind leg, a top 3 or 4 in the final race behind McGuinness would be enough to take a well deserved 2nd overall. John McGuinness took the gun, ahead of O'Connell from Sutton Dinghy Clubs O'Tiarnaigh with Niall Henry 4th and former National Champion Richard Instone in 5th.
The prize giving ceremony introduced by Hugh Gill from Sutton Dinghy Club was attended by Make a Wish Ireland representative Martina Madden who thanked Sutton Dinghy Club and the GP14 Class association for selecting them as charity of choice. With over €3500 raised by the 50 GP14 crews who entered the event, the initiative was a huge success.
Sutton Dinghy Club Commodore Andy Johnston presented the Championship trophies to Ger Owens and Melanie Morris, very worthy Craftinsure GP14 Championship of Ireland winners for 2013. Harry Hermon, CEO of ISA was also in attendance to present the Gold, Silver and Bronze ISA medals to Owens/Morris, O'Connell/O'Connell and Corcoran/Brogan respectively.
The rude health of the GP14 Class in Ireland with 50 entries for its Nationals bodes well for the GP14 Worlds in East Down (Northern Ireland) in 2014.
Gold: 1st - Ger Owens/Melanie Morris (RStGYC), 2nd – DanO'Connell/Mairin O'Connell (Swords), 3rd - Tim Corcoran/Brendan Brogan (Sligo).
Silver: 1st Bill & James Johnson (Lough Foyle), 2nd - David Lappin/C Grimes (Skerries), 3rd with S Sheppard/A Sexton (Skerries).
Bronze: 1st - David Johnston/ Darragh White (Sutton Dinghy Club), 2nd - Tim Davies/T Mawby (Chelmarsh), 3rd - James Ogg/M Rutherford (Donaghadee). An overall 22nd place also gave David Johnston (Sutton Dinghy Club) top Junior and Championship newcomer prize.
Classic fleet was won by Stephen Loton Parry (York RI) from GP14 International President Duncan Greenhalgh (Derwent Resevoir).

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