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Sligo crew make most of local knowledge

1st September 2009
Sligo crew make most of local knowledge

Sligo Yacht Club duo Tim Corcoran and Brendan Brogan made the most of their local knowledge to win the ESB sponsored GP14 Championships of Ireland held at Rosses Point on Sligo Bay this weekend. The event received a bumper turnout of 60 crews from all over Ireland including visiting competitors from both England and Wales making it the largest GP14 event in the UK and Ireland in 2009.

The event started with a bang on Saturday with a very unstable westerly breeze, gusting to 30 knots with a considerable swell.  Visiting husband and wife crew Dave and Jackie Gebhard from Derwent Reservoir made a flawless transition from lake to Atlantic conditions to win from fellow visitors Tim Jones and Dale Knowles from Wales, Tim Corcoran and Brendan Brogan were the first of the Irish crews home.  Bronze fleet sailors Robert Murphy and Pat Savage from Swords Boat Club stamped their authority on the Bronze fleet with an outstanding 18th place.  Given the conditions an impressive 50 from 60 crews battled to the finish and were probably more than happy when Race Officer Gus Henry took the decision to send the fleet ashore before the tide turned to generate even more swell on the bay.


Sailors arose on Sunday morning to breezy conditions and three scheduled races.  Although by the time the first race gun went the breeze had dropped to a manageable 15 knots and continued to drop throughout the race.  The Irish crews made up lost ground from Saturday with Corcoran and Brogan leading the way, with the McGuinness brothers from Moville in second and local sailors Niall Henry and Ossian Geraghty in third.  Simon Cully and Libby Tierney from Blessington Sailing Club made their move in the Silver fleet coming home in an impressive seventh place.


After a torrential rain shower, the breeze dropped again for the second race of the day to 8-12 knots.  The Gebhards returned to the front closely followed by ex-Irish Olympian Curly Morris crewed by Laura McFarland from East Antrim Boat Club.  Henry and Geraghty’s challenge stalled after a pre-start collision had a ‘Titanic’ effect on their boat.  


The third race of the day brought some more local delight with Sligo sailors Diarmuid Mullen and James Conlon finding themselves in the right place at the right time when a large right shift brought them to the windward mark with a massive lead over the chasing pack.  Corcoran and Brogan lead the chase but their club mates held on for an emphatic race win.


At the close of play on Sunday there was only 5 points separating the first 4 boats with both the Silver and Bronze fleets still in the balance. With three further races scheduled for Monday the scene was set from a dramatic conclusion.


However Monday was more soap opera than a Hollywood epic, after a few general recalls a race got under way but as the time limit approached the breeze shut off, never to return.  So positions remained as they were on Sunday night – joy for Corcoran and Brogan and anguish for the chasing pack.


In his acceptance speech Tim Corcoran spoke of his delight at winning the Championships of Ireland at the yacht club were he began sailing in 1980 in an Optimist dinghy.  He paid special tribute to his crew of ten years Brendan Brogan but also to Gus Henry and his Dad Tim senior who had inspired him all to begin sailing all those years ago.

Class president Donal McGuinness closed by also paying special thanks to Sligo Yacht club and in particular Gus and Niall Henry who have not only given an immense amount to GP14 sailing in Sligo but have also been major catalyst for the fleet’s success throughout Ireland stating “It is very apt that due to the hard work from Gus and Niall, Sligo has a home crew victory in a 60 boat fleet”


For more information see www.gp14ireland.com

Overall Results

Gold Fleet

Pos    Helm    Crew    Club    Points

1    Tim Corcoran    Brendan Brogan    Sligo Yacht Club    6

2    Dave Gebhard    Jackie Gebhard    Derwent Resevoir Sailing Club    7

3    John McGuinness    Donal McGuinness    Moville Boat Club    11


Silver Fleet

Pos    Helm    Crew    Club    Points

1    Simon Cully    Libby Tierney    Blessington Sailing Club    40

2    Alexander Walsh    Paul McCarthy    Swords Sailing Club    49

3    Cathal Sheridan    Dave Kelly    Skerries Sailing Club    57


Bronze Fleet

Pos    Helm    Crew    Club    Points

1    Robert Murphy    Pat Savage    Swords Sailing Club    68

2    Brian Andrews    John McArthur    Newtownards Sailing Club    88

3    Stuart McCormick    A Kos    Mullingar Sailing Club    90

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