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There is no shortage of GP14 expertise in Sutton on Dublin Bay this weekend when the Helmsmans Championships, formerly the 'Champion of Champions' and 'All Ireland' Sailing Championships now to be known as the 'Champions' Cup' gets underway in the two-man dinghy. 

The event sees sixteen competitors from different classes compete to find sailing’s “champion of champions”. Despite coming from a wide range of one design classes, the competitors race against each other in a selected boat type that will see the GP14 in action this year. 

GP14 ace Ger Owens will look to retain his title, won at Crosshaven last year. He will be joined by Shane MacCarthy, the current GP14 National Champion and Jane Kearney, GP14 leading Female Helm in 2022.

The GP14 interest doesn't end there, with Michelle Rowley crewing for SB20 representative Michael O'Connor and Dan Gill crewing for Darragh Sheridan representing the RS Aero Class. 

Each of the 16 competitors (below) has been nominated as a result of their achievements and rankings for the year.

Racing will consist of two “flights” or heats. The top three from each flight go straight into the final. The remaining competitors who placed 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th compete in a 2-race qualifier or “repêchage”, and the top two also enter the Final. The final race on Sunday, therefore, has eight teams competing.

The full list of competitors are: 

2022 Champions’ Cup invitees at Sutton Dinghy Club2022 Champions’ Cup invitees at Sutton Dinghy Club

The 75th Champions’ Cup will be hosted by Sutton Dinghy Club this weekend, October 8th & 9th, but doubts are already expressed over Sunday's schedule due to weather

Published in All Irelands
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There can have been few things more dispiriting in recent years than being in the key role in organising a major international sporting event in Ireland as it hung in the balance in the face of changing pandemic restrictions. Yet Colman Grimes, the central figure in staging the GP14 Worlds in Skerries, kept everyone’s sprits up despite uncertainties and changes of date from pre-2020 onwards. And when the dates were finally set for the latter half of the 2022 season, he was first to step up to the plate, putting in his own boat in as Entry #1.

It’s not unknown for an organiser to take part in the racing, but it’s very rare with a fleet of 106 boats putting pressure on venue and organisers alike. Yet he had great support in his crew Ross Gingles, and this big event not only dealt successfully with some difficult racing days, but the Grimes-Gingle combo worked so well afloat that they came in fifth overall, first of all the Irish boats and ahead of other impressive opposition up to Olympic standard. It was a remarkable performance afloat and ashore.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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With the GP14 World Championships less than a month behind us, many of the Irish sailors would be forgiven for taking their foot off the gas writes Andy Johnston.

But with the arrival of autumn, the GP14 Ireland fleet moved to Mullingar Sailing Club and Lough Owel last weekend for their Leinster Championships. And while not en-masse, a turnout of 35 boats is not to sneeze at. The event did see plenty of changed crew lineups with also the return of some past regulars. Great to see at this end of the season.

Last year's winners Ger Owens & Mel Morris were here having missed a couple of events this season but surely wouldn't have it all their own way with a stellar fleet that included 3 Olympians and the top Irish helms from the recent GP14 and Fireball World Championships.

Curly Morris and Ger Owens were joined on the start line by 2021 Olympian Rob Dickson. It was a bit of a busman's holiday away from the busy 49er circuit for Rob, who was catching up with his buddies and GP14 regulars Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter. The GP14 is not wholly unfamiliar, as Rob has done a number of GP14 events in the last couple of years.

Top Fireball duo Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella from the Royal St. George Yacht Club at the GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing ClubTop Fireball duo Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella from the Royal St. George Yacht Club at the GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing Club

With next month's Champions Cup in Sutton Dinghy Club being sailed in GP14, two of the GP14 Classes representatives were hoping to get much-needed time on the water. Ger Owens and Jane Kearney will be joined next month by Shane MacCarthy in what is the 75th Anniversary of the event.

Robert Dickson and Matthew Runswick from Howth at GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing ClubRobert Dickson and Matthew Runswick from Howth at GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing Club

Colman Grimes, who finished 5th at the recent GP14 Worlds in Skerries, is joined by another star Worlds performer in Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella, who finished on the podium at the Lough Derg Fireball Worlds last month. Barry is a nominee for the Champions Cup, so having never sailed a GP14, the Mullingar event is a chance to get some time on the water.

The forecast was for very light conditions and particularly on the Saturday so PRO Jim Lambkin had the fleet on the water promptly with expectations that the best chance for racing was early in the day and getting 35 boats to the race course was in itself a challenge.

Race 1 got underway in 5-6knotss, the fleet away cleanly. The first leg saw a number of boats, including Jane Kearney, Niall Henry, local Alan Pinder & Ross Kearney, all crossing closely on the first beat, but it was Blessingtons Simon Cully & Libby Tierney who were first to weather mark. A massive shout could be heard, the pair delighting in the feat but then showed great skill and patience in continuing to lead through the triangle and sausage and, with a shortened course held off Ger Owens & Mel Morris to take their first ever race win. The celebration was epic with the famous Lough Owel trout joined by the Blessington helm.

"A stellar fleet included three Olympians and the top Irish helms from the recent GP14 and Fireball World Championships"

Race 2 saw an initial abandonment when a big wind shift caused a surge on the line with 10 seconds to go. Our PRO had the fleet back in sequence in very quick time and the race was finally underway with Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty showing early ahead of Ross KearneKearney & Katie Dwyer. With the wind gone very light again, the PRO shortened the courses after the sausage, however, an OCS meant Ross & Katie get the gun with John & Donal McGuinness taking 2nd ahead of Colman Grimes & Samuel Wray. At that stage it certainly looked like no more racing for the day.

Patience is a virtue and having moved the Committee boat a little further down the lake, the PRO had the fleet under starter orders for Race 3. With the wind very light now but still holding direction, the fleet were away first time. Up the first beat, and its like buses..none for hours and then 2 together. Simon Cully & Libby Tierney with blue spinnaker lead at the weather mark again. Closely followed by son Max Cully & Tighe Wardell with Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella 3rd, Owens & Morris 4th, Jane Kearney & Rebekkah O’Tiarnaigh 5th and Kearney & O’Dwyer 6th. Down to the leeward mark, Blessington's father and son swap places a number of times with Max Cully retaking the lead at the next weather mark and holding it to the end of the sausage ahead of Kearney & O'Tiarnaigh, Kearney & Dwyer and McCartin & Kinsella.

Light wind concentration at the GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing ClubLight wind concentration at the GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing Club

Cully & Wardell, the GP14 nominees for the Junior Champions Cup in Schull this weekend, are enjoying the moment, and the youngsters are singing down the leg. However, on the short beat to shortened finish experience and some neat tacking in a diminishing breeze sees Kearney & Dwyer take the gun just, from Kearney & O’Tiarnaigh with McCartin & Kinsella squeezing out our long-time leaders young Max Cully & Tighe Wardell. Great effort from the young guys.

Day 2 dawned with a little more breeze and a different look to the leader board with Cully & Tierney separating Kearney & Dwyer and Owens & Morris, with Kearney & O’Tiarnaigh and McCartin & Kinsella making up the top 5.

Race 4 got underway promptly in about 8 knots breeze. Owens & Morris lead at the end of the sausage with McCartin & Kinsella and Dan Gill & Mark Bolger a good 10 boat lengths behind. By the finish of the second triangle, Owens & Morris had opened a massive lead. However, big changes were taking place behind with now Kearney & Dwyer up to 2nd ahead of Kearney & O'Tiarnaigh 3rd with Gill & Bolger head to head with Keith & Matteo Louden for 4th with the former just getting there.

Max Cully and Tighe Wardell (Blessington Sailing Club)Max Cully and Tighe Wardell (Blessington Sailing Club)

Race 5 saw a general recall with PRO resisting the temptation to go to the Black flag but getting them away quickly as he sought to ensure 6 races. By the bottom of the first triangle, Colman Grimes & Sam Wray lead Gill & Bolger, Owens & Morris and Paddy O’Connor & Adrian Lee. Having gone out right Curly Morris & Meg Tyrrell make big gains and are up to 5th. By the end of the sausage, Owens & Morris have taken the lead from Grimes & Wray with Alistair Duffin & Steven Nelson up to 3rd and Gill & Bolger 4th ahead of Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty and Morris & Tyrrell. A broken tiller sees O’Connor & Lee drop to 6th. With wind holding steady, PRO opts to let the race run its course and on the final downwind leg Kearney & Dwyer and McCartin & Kinsella make some moves to recover ground. Owens & O’Dwyer take the gun followed by Grimes & Wray with Kearney & Dwyer 3rd to keep the event in the balance till the last race. McCartin & Kinsell show they are getting to grips with the GP14 take 4th on the nod from the father and son Louden pairing.

Race 6 got underway under Black Flag after the 2nd General Recall of the day. That late push in Race 5 by Kearney & Dwyer meant the Championship was still on the line with the pressure on Owens & Morris to beat them by more than 4 places. The wind is down to 6 knots as Owens & Morris lead around the weather mark, now looking for a hat-trick of wins for the day and to heap the pressure back on Kearney & Dwyer. Adding to the pressure were O’Connor & Lee with repaired tiller now a clear second ahead of Henry & Geraghty with Grimes & Wray and Duffin & Nelson also ahead of Kearney & Dwyer. The PRO lets the fleet complete the set course with Owens & Morris taking their 3rd gun of the day. All eyes were now behind to see if Kearney & Dwyer could make any inroads to the deficit. A recurrence of the tiller problem dropped O’Connor & Lee back to 6th, with Duffin & Nelson passing Grimes & Wray for 3rd behind Henry & Geraghty. 5th was the best Kearney & Dwyer could do and just not enough to take the title from the holders Ger Owens & Mel Morris.

A super event hosted by Mullingar Sailing Club under the stewardship of event coordinator and Club Commodore David Maxwell. A super dinner in the Annabrook Hotel was preceded by the Class's first face-to-face AGM in a few years.

Outgoing President and Mullingar club man Michael Collender thanked the sailors and his Committee for their support throughout his tenure and particularly in this GP14 World Championship year which had been such a success. Michael also extended best wishes to Ger Owens, Jane Kearney, Shane MacCarthy and Max Cully, who would be representing the GP14 Class in the re-badged Irish Sailing Champions Cup, reflecting that the GP14 Class are honoured to have been asked, in its 75th anniversary year, to host the event, formerly known as the Helmsman's Championship. It will be held in Sutton Dinghy Club in early October and has been graced down the years by a number of GP14 winners, including a couple who sailed in Mullingar this past weekend.

The prize-giving on Sunday saw Club Commodore David Maxwell & GP14 President Andy Johnson present prizes to Youth, Junior as well as Bronze, Silver and Gold fleet winners. Ger Owens in receiving the Leinster Championship trophy thanked everyone for traveling in such numbers and again demonstrating the appeal of the Class to both the young and the more experienced(!) who want close and competitive racing in a friendly fleet and looked forward to all catching up again later in October for our Hot Toddy & Youth Championships.

GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing Club results

GP14 Leinster TrophiesGP14 Leinster Trophies

Gold Ger Owens & Mel Morris (Royal St.George Yacht Club & East Antrim Boat Club)
Ross Kearney & Katie Dwyer (Royal North of Ireland YC & Sutton Dinghy Club)
Colman Grimes & Sam Wrays (Skerries Sailing Club & Sligo Yacht Club)

Silver Simon Cully & Libby Tierney (Blessington Sailing Club)
Alan Pinder & Jack Hayes (Mullingar Sailing Club)
Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter (Sutton Dinghy Club)

Bronze David Evans & Jon Evans (Sligo Yacht Club)
Max Cully & Tighe Wardell (Blessington Sailing Club)
Denis Cully & Ollie Lloyd (Blessington Sailing Club)

Youth Champion (U22) Peter Boyle & Hugh McNally (Sutton Dinghy Club)

Junior Champion (U16) David Evans & Jon Evans (Sligo Yacht Club)

GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing ClubGP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing Club results - download pdf below

Published in GP14
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Following on from successful training weekend events this season, the Irish GP 14 class has announced a free youth training weekend at Mullingar Sailing Club over the weekend of 24th and 25th September 2022.

The GP14 class held two training weekends in April and June at Skerries Sailing club in the run-up to the successful staging of the class World Championships in August.

Eighteen crews from all over Ireland took part over the two weekends sharpening their skills in general boat handling and especially gate starts which would be used in the World Championships.

Everyone who attended enjoyed the practice, time on the water and improving aspects of their sport.

The events are organised by coach Graeme Grant and guest coaches Stephen Boyle and Coleman Grimes.

Interested parties should contact class youth training co-ordinator Des MacMahon on [email protected]

Published in GP14
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The top Irish boat at last week's GP14 World Championships in Skerries was the host club's Colman Grimes & Ross Gingles, who finished fifth in the 106-boat fleet.

As Afloat previously reported, there were three Irish in the Top 10, with Ross Kearney & Andrew Vaughan ( RNIYC) finishing in seventh and Hugh & Dan Gill (Sutton Dinghy Club) 10th.

Ireland's Blay & McNally lead overall champions Dobson & Mee to the mark at the GP14 Worlds in SkerriesIreland's Blay & McNally lead overall champions Dobson & Mee to the mark at the GP14 Worlds in Skerries

Another eight Irish crews in the Top 20 made for a strong showing and highlights the strength of the Irish fleet.

Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter finished 21st overall and took Silver Fleet from Doire Shiels & Lewis Coppinger in 23rd and Sam Street & Josh Lloyd (Blessington) in 27th.

Conor Byrne & Emer McNally (Darwin SC) and 22nd overall took Bronze Fleet from Kerri-Ann & Megan Boylan (Skerries SC) in 34th and Frankie Brown & Dave Lappin (Skerries SC) in 40th.

World Championship Medals

Curly Morris, the outgoing GP14 International President and a great supporter and facilitator for Youth and Female engagement and involvement in the Irish GP14 Class, announced a major surprise when additional World Sailing Championship medals were to be presented possibly for the first time at a World Championship in Ireland.

World Sailing medalsThe World Sailing medals presented at Skerries

The GP14 International organisation would normally present trophies at the GP14 World Championships to categories such as leading Female Helm, leading all-Female crew and leading Youth, but this was the first year that World Sailing has permitted World Sailing medals to be presented to these categories as well as the Overall World Championship top 3.

To major cheers and emotional scenes, the Skerries prize-giving ceremony concluded with the following presentations:

World Sailing GP14 Youth PodiumWorld Sailing GP14 Youth Podium

World Sailing Youth Championship Medals:

  • Gold: Robert Richardson & Steven Wilson (Royal Windemere SC)
  • Silver: Sam Stree & Josh Lloyd (Blessington Sailing Club)
  • Bronze: Ciaran Keogh & Adam Leddy (Greystones Sailing Club)

World Sailing GP14 All Female CrewsWorld Sailing GP14 All Female Crews

World Sailing All Female Championship Medals:

  • Gold: Kerri-Ann & Megan Boylan (Skerries Sailing Club)
  • Silver: Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley (Sutton Dinghy Club)
  • Bronze: Meg Tyrrell & Sorcha Donnelly (Royal Irish YC/ Skerries SC) 

World Sailing Mixed GP14 CrewsWorld Sailing Mixed GP14 Crews

World Sailing Mixed-Crews Championship Medals:

  • Gold: Ger Owens & Mel Morris (RoyalSt. George YC & East Antrim Boat Club
  • Silver: Jane Kearney & Ollie Goodhead (Royal North of Ireland)
  • Bronze: Ruan & Rebekkah O’Tiarnaigh (Ballyholme YC & Sutton Dinghy Club)
Published in GP14
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The GP 14 Sailing World Championship at Skerries Sailing Club has been won for the fifth time by Englishmen Ian Dobson and Andy Tunnicliffe of Burwain Sailing Club.

Dobson had led the series from the outset until his winning streak almost disappeared during the seventh race of the championship today, Friday, when he was hounded into fourth place by arch-rival and fellow Englishman Matt Mee.

The result was that Mee and Dobson were on equal points, and Dobson only carried off the Worlds by dint of the discard rule.

Final GP14 World Championship Overall Standings are below

Neil Marsden and Derek Hill of Blackpool & Fleetwood Yacht Club complete a tack at the GP14 Worlds Photo: Bob GivensNeil Marsden and Derek Hill of Blackpool & Fleetwood Yacht Club complete a tack at the GP14 Worlds Photo: Bob Givens

Ireland's hopeful, Corkman Colman Grimes of the host club, had climbed to fourth overall, a position he held for several days until Friday's tricky windy conditions caused him to slip a place to fifth.

Three times Olympian, Ger Owens, of Royal St George Yacht Club was Ireland's other great hope but, despite winning a race outright (the only one of the Irish to do so) he finished fourth of the Irish behind Grimes, Ross Kearney of Royal North of Ireland YC (7th), Hugh Gill of Sutton Dinghy Club and Jane Kearney of Royal North of Ireland.

A total of 212 sailors sailed 106 boats and represented five countries in the six-day Skerries event.

Final GP14 World Championship Overall Standings are below

Published in GP14
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So where are they? The hurricanes, we mean. Or more accurately, the “decaying tropical storms” which occasionally make their ominous and often unpredictable way towards Ireland as the Summer progresses and morphs into Autumn. For as it happens, back in May the more pessimistic among us were led to believe we could expect quite a raft of them this summer.

Certainly it’s some time now since news-room reports appeared suggesting that the “acknowledged international agencies” were agreed that all the signs indicated that the approaching summer of 2022 had the makings of a particularly busy year for hurricanes in the western sub-tropical Atlantic, with some of the usual subsequent fall-out adversely affecting Europe’s weather, of which Ireland is the frontier outpost.

But thus far, on the cusp of the final full week of August, we’ve had a decidedly odd summer, with the European weather machine grinding itself into sufficient high pressure action to keep the temperate Atlantic westerlies at bay. While most of us found the virtually windless heatwave weather from North Africa far too much of a good thing – if it was a good thing at any stage – we dreamt of those typical classic Irish days of perfect-sailing temperate westerlies, which in truth are so rare that we remember each one individually.

A decent breeze with some west in it, a generous portion of sunshine, and you’ve Irish sailing perfection – Squibs in action at Kinsale. Photo: Robert BatemanA decent breeze with some west in it, a generous portion of sunshine, and you’ve Irish sailing perfection – Squibs in action at Kinsale. Photo: Robert Bateman

Thus our header photo is there because it is the beau ideal of our sailing weather. When we try to sell Ireland as a sailing venue of the best international standard – indeed, as a sailing venue of better than international standard - then that scene aboard the race-winning J/99 Snapshot is exactly the kind of image that speaks volumes in support of our case.

PERFECTION IS RARE

Yet such perfect days in 2022 have been conspicuous by their rarity. Tedious flat calms have never been far away. And when we do get a breeze, the wind likely as not comes from the nor’east, which is good for neither man nor beast. Recently, it has been sending in lumpy grey seas which meant that at this week’s GP 14 Worlds at Skerries, photographer Bob Givens found himself recording images of disembodied heads and sails in which we’ve to assume that people and boats are attached.

Disembodied experience…..GP14s racing in this week’s Worlds at SkerriesDisembodied experience…..GP14s racing in this week’s Worlds at Skerries Photo: Bob Givens

But whatever has caused it, it certainly hasn’t been any follow-on effect from the very few minor hurricanes which have so far reached the Caribbean this year. For it seems that instead of curving north and then northeast, they simply continued heading on west and have gone clean across Central America to make nuisances of themselves in the Pacific.

Hurricane Katrina on August 23rd 2005, through the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico, and headed for New Orleans. As Katrina made landfall west of Florida, the chances of a later effect on Irish weather were greatly reduced.Hurricane Katrina on August 23rd 2005, through the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico, and headed for New Orleans. As Katrina made landfall west of Florida, the chances of a later effect on Irish weather were greatly reduced.

However, it would be a big mistake to start to feel complacent. The old Caribbean hands are always ready to give out their bit of hurricane-period passage-making warning doggerel, which goes:

July: Stand By;
August: Only If You Must;
September: Remember;
October: All Over.

It used to be preceded by “June: Too Soon”, but there has been a marked tendency in recent years for the season to start earlier, which means that June is no longer too soon to expect tropical storms. Either way, there’s still quite a bit of potential poke left in 2022’s slow-to-start Caribbean hurricane programme, which affects us directly in Ireland in 2022 as the latter part of our season has us hosting an unprecedented number of international and world championships, all of which – when the weather is volatile - place an extra burden on that mysterious group, the International Race Officers.

They are mysterious simply because they are not as other people. If they are worried by the fact that their decisions on any particular day will directly affect the quality of the sport of sometimes hundreds of people, then somehow they don’t show it, whereas ordinary mortals would worry themselves into dithering incompetence.

Broad shoulders. Bill O’Hara of Ballyholme – currently running the GP14 Worlds at Skerries – has an impressive CV which includes being the Main Man in running the Volvo Ocean RaceBroad shoulders. Bill O’Hara of Ballyholme – currently running the GP14 Worlds at Skerries – has an impressive CV which includes being the Main Man in running the Volvo Ocean Race

But the top Race Officers, they have extremely broad shoulders. And it’s quite something to see the effect their arrival has at the venue for some major event. There, the Organising Committee will have been working at an accelerating pace for months or even years, and nerves are becoming frayed. There will have been increasing contact with the Race Officer. But then he or she arrives in person, on time and cool as a cucumber, and the atmosphere changes or the better. The Main Man or the Top Woman is here. The show will go on.

IRELAND’S MANY RACE OFFICERS

It may well be something to do with the fact that, from 1870 onwards, Irish sailing played a disproportionately important role is the development and codification of the International Races of Yacht Racing. But the reality is that we have an elite group of star Irish race officers who can put on a plethora of majors at much the same time without drawing on talent from outside the island. For although the demanding final weekend of the Shannon One Design Centenary at Lough Ree did bring in the services of Suffolk-based Owen Delany for a weekend of difficult decisions, he is of course of Shannon and Dublin Bay origins.

Assessing the situation. David Lovegrove at Race Officer duties. Photo: Judith Malcolm

Thus in a season which has already seen Scorie Walls put in an exemplary performance in her administration of the Mermaid Championship at Foynes while David Lovegrove had to make some difficult but ultimately right decisions in Wave Regatta at Howth, we’re now into a new phase which sees Con Murphy of Dun Laoghaire in charge of the Fireball Worlds on Lough Derg, while back on the east coast, Derek Bothwell will soon be facing up to the J/24 Europeans at Howth after a masterful management of the Squib Easterns there.

Across the bay in Dun Laoghaire, they’ll be looking for the calming presence of David Lovegrove for the SB20 Worlds at the RIYC in September, while the highly-experienced Harry Gallagher of Sutton and Neil Murphy of Howth are no strangers to the hot seat on the Dublin Bay SC Committee Boats.

Con Murphy – currently running the Fireball Worlds on Lough Derg, earlier in the year he called the shots at Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough. Meanwhile, his sailing experience includes holding the Round Ireland Open Sailing Record from 1993 to 2016.Con Murphy – currently running the Fireball Worlds on Lough Derg, earlier in the year he called the shots at Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough. Meanwhile, his sailing experience includes holding the Round Ireland Open Sailing Record from 1993 to 2016.

All the top racing administrators are keen sailors themselves in addition to their multi-tasking abilities as Race Officers. In fact so keen are they in their general enthusiasm to help our sport in a voluntary capacity that they’ll use their unique locations to take the occasional well-judged photograph. Having opened with a photo of the Fastnet Rock being raced round on a glorious day, we’ll close with one taken this week by Con Murphy on Lough Derg as Chris Bateman of Cork Harbour and Thomas Chaix of Tralee Bay win the third race in the preliminaries of the Fireball Worlds, an image which perfectly captures the vision of the absurdly beautiful Lough Derg at its sailing best.

 Lough Derg at its sailing best, with Fireball winners Chris Bateman and Thomas Chaix getting into their stride. Photo: Con Murphy Lough Derg at its sailing best, with Fireball winners Chris Bateman and Thomas Chaix getting into their stride. Photo: Con Murphy

Published in W M Nixon
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Ireland secured its first race win on the penultimate day of the GP14 World Championships at Skerries Sailing Club when three times Olympian Ger Owens and crew Melanie Morris stormed to victory in Thursday's first race of three.

GP14 Worlds Overall Standings after six Races Post Hearings are downloadable below

But Owens, from the Royal St George Yacht Club, and Morris, from East Antrim Boat Club, are still only third of the Irish ranking behind skipper Colman Grimes from the host club, who is lying fourth overall, and Sutton Dinghy Club's Hugh Gill in ninth.

Leading UK helms Ian Dobson (first) and Matt Mee (second) are just two points apart with 8 and 10 points respectively compared to Grimes' 29 points and the 21 points of third placed Nick Craig from UK club
Burghfield Frensham. But Grimes says he is still determined to upset Craig and gain a podium position for Ireland in tomorrow's last two races of the series.

The series is one race behind schedule thanks to calms which led to the cancellation of all races on three days so far of the six-day series.

Wednesday's lay day was pulled into service in a bid to catch up and three races were run in increasingly heavy seas and strong winds.

Conditions were so challenging in Wednesday's third race that dozens capsized and less than half the 106 entries finished.

The final two races are to be run on Friday and most bets favour Mee and/or Dobson in the top two places, while the success of Grime's plucky challenge for third place remains to be seen.

GP14 Worlds Overall Standings after six Races Post Hearings are downloadable below

Additional reporting by Andrew Jonhston:

Thursday dawned with well over a hundred pairs of fingers crossed. Racing lost on Wednesday meant with only 3 races completed the PRO was under pressure. Thursday morning didn't disappoint. With the breeze from south or south west and steady, things looked good from the start. The changed direction also provided a flat sea which was another pleasure for the sailors after Tuesday's confused seas state.

Race 1 got off on time, with a beautiful 12-knot breeze. From the get-go Ger Owens was to the fore on the left side. Others showing early were Jane Kearney, Peter Boyle with Ian Dobson and Matt Mee not far away. Curly Morris had a cracking start and was probably in top 10 as they neared the weather mark. By the time they reached the gybe mark, Ger Owens had 3 or 4 boat length lead from Matt Mee, with Neil Marsden now up in contention.

This quartet then battled it to the finish. With a tacking duel all the way up the last leg between Ger Owens and Matt Mee, with Ger Owens just holding on to take the gun. A similar battle was ensuing behind with Neil Marsden just pipping Ian Dobson for the 3rd spot. Nick Devereux in 5th with one of the older boats, 12654. The next best Irish boat was Ross Kearney in 8th and Adrian Lee in 10th. Colman Grimes, the leading Irish boat in the event coming in 18th. Silver fleet leader Conor Twohig added another strong finish when he came across the line in 24th.

Race 2 got underway with the breeze freshening up to 14knots. The Pathfinder for this race was Youghals Adrian Lee. First to show were Matt Mee, Colman Grimes, Hugh Gill, all gone early out of the gate and started up left. At the weather mark, it was Matt Mee followed a few boat lengths by Ruan O’Tiarnaigh, Ian Dobson and Hugh Gill. As the wind increased, Matt Mee had extended his lead over Ruan O Tiarnaigh 2nd and Hugh Gill in 3rd at the gybe mark. The reaching legs were super fast, with a few capsizes through the fleet, including Ger Owens, winner of the first race of the day.

By the end of the sausage, Matt Mee had extended his lead quite considerably Ruan O’Tiarnaigh was still holding onto 2nd, but Colman Grimes had made huge inroads and now putting Ian Dobson under pressure for 3rd on the water. Hugh Gill was in 5th with Jane Kearney up into eighth spot. Ger Owens showed how to recover from a capsize and was back up into 13th spot.

Matt Mee took the gun under no pressure. However, a thrilling finish was unfolding with local sailor and event coordinator Colman Grimes just taking 2nd from Ian Dobson on the line. Hugh Gill made another good Irish finish with 4th, John Hayes 5th and Ruan O Tiarnaigh in 6th, Nick Devereux 7th, Jane Kearney 8th and Peter Boyle in 9th.

Having lost 3 race days, PRO Bill O’Hara had scheduled 3 races to try and catch up. A third race on Thursday meant 2 races on Friday would give him 8 races, and the fleet would have 2 discards.

Race 3 got underway, with Pathfinder Graham Flynn leading around the weather mark. Followed by Tim Jones, Jane Kearney, Alan Blay, Ian Dobson and Peter Boyle. At this stage, leading Irish contender Colman Grimes was in 15th just behind Matt Mee the event leader.

Wind was still 15 to 18 knots but with a grey sky and some rain. The reaches were again fast with a few capsizes through the fleet. At the top mark second time around, Jane Kearney (RNIYC) had moved into the lead from Alan Blay with a small gap to Ian Dobson in 3rd. Matt Mee had recovered somewhat and was now up into 6th with Peter Boyle 7th and Colman Grimes up to 10th. The local man is having a storming event in all respects.

Showing his class under pressure, Ian Dobson worked himself into contention with a couple of hundred meters to the finish. Tack for tack, he diced with Alan Blay with Ian Dobson taking the gun by less than a boat length. Jane Kearney finished a superb day by holding off the title contender Matt Mee. Peter Boyle took 10th and will be pathfinder for Race 7 on Friday morning. Leading Irish contender Colman Grimes finished 11th.

A great day's racing meant the event was very much back on track, and with no clear leader, Friday's racing will be intense. Ian Dobson leads Matt Mee by 2 points with Nick Craig and Colman Grimes battling for 3rd spot. Beyond Colman, Hugh Gill is the next Irish boat in 9th, with Ger Owens in 10th. Conor Twohig retains his lead in Silver Fleet ahead of Ciaran Keogh and Skerries sailor Doire Shiels in 3rd. In Bronze fleet, Conor Byrne leads Frankie Browne and Meg Tyrrell.

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After two days with no racing, day 3 arrived, and the 106-boat GP14 World Championship fleet at Skerries in County Dublin knew they were in for a busy day. The fleet launched early off the sand in the harbour into a northerly breeze that picked up and settled at 15-20 knots for race 1.

The wind direction also made for a very big sea which became an even more confused sea state as the day went on. Considering the strong breeze, the gate starts were well behaved with few incidents across the day.

Matt Mee & Chis Robinson led Race 1 for most of the race, though he had 'finished' only to discover another leg. Reacting quickly, he recovered to take 4th behind event favourite Ian Dobson & Andy Tunnicliffe, Nick Craig & Toby Lewis and Ciaron Jones & Sam Platt.

Fleet leaders Ian Dobson and Andy Tunihill of Burwain SC (boat on right)  tack onto starboard in rough conditions alongside second-placed Matt Mee and Chris Robsinson of B&F YC in the first full day of racing (Tuesday)  during the Progressive Credit Union GP 14 World Championship at Skerries Sailing Club Photo: Bob GivensFleet leaders Ian Dobson and Andy Tunihill of Burwain SC (boat on right)  tack onto starboard in rough conditions alongside second-placed Matt Mee and Chris Robsinson of B&F YC in the first full day of racing (Tuesday) during the GP 14 World Championship at Skerries Sailing Club Photo: Bob Givens

The best of the Irish boats was Colman Grimes & Ross Gingles in 5th with Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty 6th and Hugh and Dan Gill in 9th. There were 20+ retirals in Race 1 as the freshening breeze started to take its toll on some of the younger and smaller crews.

Race 2 got away clean, with Mee & Robinson again leading at the weather mark, closely followed by Ruan & Rebekkah O’Tiarnaigh. The downwind leg saw Neil Marsden & Derek Hill, Craig & Lewis along, with Dobson & Tunnicliffe back in contention.

The Irish contingent was there in numbers, with Grimes & Gingles well to the fore along with Alan Blay & Hugh McNally, Ross Kearney & Andrew Vaughan and Ger Owens and Mel Morris also showing. With gusts now well over 20+ knots and the confused sea, there were plenty of capsizes, particularly around the gybe mark. Mee & Robinson held and extended their lead, with Dobson & Tunnicliffe and Craig & Lewis completing the top 3. the O’Tiarniagh held on for a great 4th ahead of former World Champions Marsden & Hill. Grimes & Gingles continued their great form with a 7th, with Owens & Morris taking 8th.

At this stage, the sea state had worsened, and with stronger gusts, only 69 boats finished.

There were gusts well over 20+ knots and a confused sea at the GP14 World Championships in Skerries Photo: Bob GivensThere were gusts well over 20+ knots and a confused sea at the GP14 World Championships in Skerries Photo: Bob Givens

Race 3 again got underway, and it was Mee & Robinson who led to the weather mark ahead of Dobson & Tunnicliffe. Irish pair Grimes & Gingles, Marsden & Hill, Craig & Lewis, and the O’Tiarnaigh were all again challenging. With a far smaller fleet still on the water, Dobson & Tunnicliffe came through to take victory ahead of Mee & Robinson and Craig & Lewis.

Grimes & Gingle confirmed their place as the top Irish boat with a 4th with Henry & Geraghty in 7th. With only 49 finishers in race 3, the fleet headed ashore exhausted but the event is now back on track.

Going into Day 4, with two races expected, Ian Dobson leads from Matt Mee & Derek Hill, with Nick Craig & Toby Lewis 3rd. Colman Grimes & Ross Gingles (Skerries Sailing Club lead the Irish in 4th with Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty (Sligo Yacht Club) in 6th. Ruan & Rebekkah O’Tianaighs (Sutton Dinghy Club) lie 9th with Hugh & Dan Gill (Sutton Dinghy Club) in 10th.

Leading the Silver fleet and 13th overall, with 3 top 20 finishes, Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter (Sutton Dinghy Club), ahead of Ciaran Keogh & Adam Leddy (Greystones Sailing Club), who also had a super day and finished 19th overall. The Bronze fleet is led by Australian entry Conor Byrne & Emer McNally (Darwin Sailing Club).

Overall results are downloadable below.

GP14 World Championships 2022 -Day Three Photo Gallery By Bob Givens

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Skerries Sailing Club has waited four years to host the GP14 World Championships, so another two days to get the first race is tolerable as Monday's race schedule was upset due to lack of wind.

The wind didn't play ball, and Monday morning saw two postponements before racing was finally abandoned for the day around midday.

Another amendment saw the lay-day lost and racing now scheduled for Wed with an earlier start this morning (Tuesday).

Race Officer Bill O'Hara will try and get three races in today to get the schedule back on track by the end of Wednesday. The forecast does look promising.

Practice Race

Despite the great weather in Skerries the last few days and the apparent delight to be around a large gathering of crews once more, you can sense nervous tension and the desire to get on the water. Sunday was to be a practice race followed by the first race of the Championship proper.

In the end, the best that can be said was the fleet got to practice two more gate starts. And with very little wind and an ebb tide, the first attempt was mayhem. With the tide pushing the Pathfinder and the guard boat downwind, many of the 104 boats struggled to keep clear. The PRO had no option to abandon the race, having probably got no more than a quarter way down the fleet.

The second start was far better, with a fraction more breeze. Pathfinder John Hayes & Joel James tacked out to the left and were always looking in contention coming to the weather mark. It was hard work, however, with the tide and a pretty light breeze all having their effect. The first 8 or 10 were an even mix of boats that either went well left, right or up the middle. Best from the right was Keith & Matteo Louden (Lough Foyle), who came around the top mark a boat length or two behind the Pathfinder, with Ross Kearney & Andrew Vaughan (RNIYC) also from the right. Adrian Lee & Gareth Gallagher (Youghal) were next from up the middle, followed by Neil Marsden & Derek HilI, who seemed to come out of the left. Alan Blay & Hugh McNally (Sutton Dinghy Club) were next, and another came up the middle.

Keith & Matteo Louden - Keith has teamed up with his youngest son has been great to see, a very light pairing who could cause some serious trouble if the conditions go in their favour. One of the youngest in the fleet at 14, Matteo has taken to the front of the boat like a duck to water and despite their weight have shown they can handle windy conditions as well. The pair have race wins and a no. of top 3 finishes in races throughout this seasons eventsKeith & Matteo Louden - Keith has teamed up with his youngest son, a very light pairing who could cause some serious trouble if the conditions go in their favour. One of the youngest in the fleet at 14, Matteo has taken to the front of the boat like a duck to water and, despite their weight, has shown they can handle windy conditions as well. The pair have race wins and a no. of top three finishes in races throughout this season's events Photo: Bob Givens

Kearney & Vaughan had overtaken the Loudens by the gybe mark, with Lee & Gallagher closing in. Marsden & Bell were in 5th, just ahead of Blay & McNally. However, Hayes & James were in complete control of the dropping breeze. Others in the top 10 as they made their way to the gybe mark were Sam Street & Josh Lloyd from Blessington and Ruan & Rebekkah O'Tiarnaigh (Sutton Dinghy Club)

Back in the fleet, big gains were to be made in staying high to the gybe mark and saw Hugh & Dan Gill, Ian Dobson & Andy Tunnicliffe, amongst others, make big moves. However, the signs started to look ominous as the breeze dropped. As the leader approached the leeward mark, with a couple of boats still to make the weather mark, the PRO sounded horns to abandon the race and, very quickly after that, racing for the day. It takes a bit of time and effort to tow 104 boats home, but effectively and efficiently handled by the safety and shore crews from Skerries.

Rarely is the practice race taken as anything more than a practice race, but the post-race discussions on the effect of the tide, wind shifts and gate boat protocols were somewhat animated and extensive. Talk turned to Monday, but even on Sunday, there was a sense it might not happen.

As mentioned above, PRO Bill O'Hara will try and get three races in on Tuesday and hope to get back on track by the end of Wednesday. 

See GP14 World Championships preview and runners and riders profiles by Andy Johnston here

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