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Dan Gill Becomes Youngest Ever GP Youth Champion

10th August 2010
Dan Gill Becomes Youngest Ever GP Youth Champion

The GP14 Youth Championship 2010 was held at Sligo Yacht Club on Saturday 24th & 25th July in fresh Force 3 to 4 westerly winds with young sailors from six different clubs vying for honours. Senior sailors within the fleet loaned their boats to promising junior sailors from their home clubs in a bid to demonstrate the appeal of the class.

Don McCormack from Sligo Yacht Club led the fleet around the first weather mark followed closely by Cian Gallagher & Cathal Leigh Doyle also of Sligo Yacht Club in second and third respectively. With spinnakers flying in the strong breeze, the joy of sailing these boats on the reach quickly became apparent. However it was young Dan Gill from Sutton Dinghy Club who revelled in the conditions and quickly moved to the front of the fleet by the gybe mark. The race progressed and approaching the penultimate leeward mark it was Gill with a comfortable lead followed by McCormack and Leigh Doyle fighting it out for second place. Difficulties with the spinnaker in McCormack's boat ensured that Leigh Doyle had an easy second followed home in 3rd place by Conor Byrne & Pamela Lee of Royal St George Yacht Club.

Race 2 saw determined sailors Adam Scott and Eamonn Bourke of Skerries Sailing Club & Sutton Dinghy Club stake their claim on proceedings by sailing a great first beat to arrive at the windward mark in first place. Dave Reddy from Royal St George YC and crewed by stalwart of the class in Ireland Norman Lee arrived next followed closely by Dan Gill with his dad Hugh in the unfamiliar position of pulling the strings in the front for a change. Gill again showed his downwind prowess by moving into second but there was to be no getting past Scott & Bourke who went on to take the gun with the Gills holding onto second and Reddy & Lee taking third.

Race 3 on Sunday again saw the juniors having to hike hard to sail flat with Race Officer Gus Henry changing to a windward leeward course to give some variety. Racing was very close with the fleet bunched at the weather mark. But with a bow in front it was Byrne & Lee around first, then Reddy & Lee followed by the pack. The downwind leg presented lots of options and many were taken. Rounding onto the windward leg it was Byrne, then Reddy and again, young 14 year old Dan Gill not letting go, coming round in third. A tough windward battle ensued with Dan Gill showing perseverance and determination by rounding in first followed by Reddy and then Byrne. Gill led the fleet home with Reddy in second and getting more comfortable with the conditions were Eoin Duggan & Brendan Brogan of Sligo Yacht Club who sailed into third. This result saw Dan Gill become the youngest ever winner of the GP14 Youth Championship of Ireland with a race to spare.


Dan and Hugh Gill, Sutton Dinghy Club with the winning trophies. Photo: Donal McGuinness

Race 4 was again very keen with the fleet tightly bunched all the way round. Duggan & Brogan, getting better all the time, bagged a win followed by Reddy & Lee showing good consistency by again taking second with Cathal Leigh Doyle & James Conlon getting back into the frame with a third. All racers finished within twenty seconds showing remarkable competitiveness.

Final Placings
1. Dan & Hugh Gill, Sutton Dinghy Club
2. Dave Reddy & Norman Lee, Royal St George YC/ Greystones S
3. Eoin Duggan & Brendan Brogan, Sligo Yacht Club

Published in GP14 Team

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The GP14 is a popular sailing dinghy, with well over 14,000 boats built.

The class is active in the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and parts of north-eastern USA, and the GP14 can be used for both racing and cruising. 

Designed by Jack Holt in 1949, with the assistance of the Dovey Yacht Club in Aberdyfi. The idea behind the design was to build a General Purpose (GP) 14-foot dinghy which could be sailed or rowed, capable of also being powered effectively by a small outboard motor, able to be towed behind a small family car and able to be launched and recovered reasonably easily, and stable enough to be able to lie to moorings or anchor when required. Racing soon followed, initially with some degree of opposition from Yachting World, who had commissioned the design, and the boat soon turned out to be an outstanding racing design also.

The boat was initially designed with a main and small jib as a comfortable family dinghy. In a design philosophy that is both practical and highly redolent of social attitudes of the day the intention was that she should accommodate a family comprising parents plus two children, and specifically that the jib should be modest enough for "Mum" or older children to handle, while she should perform well enough to give "Dad" some excitement when not taking the family out. While this rig is still available, and can be useful when using the boat to teach sailing, or for family sailing, and has some popularity for cruising, the boat is more commonly seen with the full modern rig of a mainsail, genoa and spinnaker. Australian boats also routinely use trapezes.

At A Glance – GP14 Dinghy Specifications

Crew 2
Draft 1,200 mm (47 in)
Hull weight 132.9 kg
LOA 4.27 m (14 ft)
Beam 1.54 m
Spinnaker area 8.4 m2
Upwind sail area 12.85 m2

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