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Corcoran and Brogan Best of Irish at GP14 Nationals

31st August 2010
Corcoran and Brogan Best of Irish at GP14 Nationals

Newtownards Sailing Club hosted this year's GP 14 Championship of Ireland. The event attracted 46 boats from throughout Ireland and Great Britain. Race Officer Nigel Kearney set excellent courses in what was some of the most testing conditions in recent years.

Form race one the weather conditions were steadily worsening; average wind speeds were in excess of 20 mph with gusts to 25 mph and occasionally 30 mph. The dark heavy sky laden with squalls added to the drama. As the fleet got underway, boats capsized on and after the starting. The strong wind made tactics of less importance than just sheer boat handling.

Rarely, for the GP fleet, many competitors opted not to fly the spinnaker on the downwind legs and those that did ran the risk of a capsize especially at the gybe mark which got very congested with upturned boats. The windward legs sapped the energy of helm and crew. The race was won by Tim Corcoran from Sligo.

Race two and the weather seemed to deteriorate further. Adding to the problem was the sea state - in an unusual swell for the North end of Strangford Lough and after the gruelling first race gave the competitors even more to contend with. Winner of the second race was Carl Jeffs from Trimley Sailing Club. The second day's sailing was cancelled due even stronger winds.

As a total contrast day three was glorious sunshine but light winds. Tactics came into play here and the English pairing of Andy Tunnicliffe and Chris Robinson reigned supreme, winning both races to give them the Championship overall.

Results: 1st Andy Tunnicliffe and Chris Robinson RWYC; 2nd and top Irish boat Tim Corcoran and Brendan Brogan, SYC; 3rd Carl Jeffs and Steve Parker TSC.

1st Silver Fleet: Cathal Sheriadan and David Cook, Skerries SC; 2nd Lawrence Baalham and Tony Brown, Newtownards Sailing Club 3rd G O'Sullivan and H McNally

1st Bronze Fleet: Maurice Baalham and Gary Brown, Newtownards Sailing Club; 2nd Bill Johnston and Styephen Byrne LFYC; 3rd I Beattie Orr and R Murray SDC.

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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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