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McCarthy and Davis Sail to a Win at Skerries GP14 National Championships

30th August 2011
McCarthy and Davis Sail to a Win at Skerries GP14 National Championships

A healthy forty seven dinghies competed for the Irish GP14 National Sailing Championships title last weekend and Greystones sailor Shane McCarthy, now UK based, with crew Andy Davis took the title, winning the last four races. Class president Richard Street gives a blow by blow account of how the title was won.

Skerries was our venue, and a fine spot to host a regatta it is .The GP fleet were really well taken care of by all the members of the club who put aside their own weekend so we could have a lot of fun. Thank you.

Not only were we blessed to have a great turnout, but the calibre of it was pretty impressive too. The top ten counted two World Champions, a European Champion, a two time Olympian, a six time Irish National champion, a multiple English National Champion.  Steven Nelson and his brother Jonny slotted right in amongst them to blow most of the Gold fleet away and take the crown in their division by a huge margin.

Race officer Liam Dineen and his crew spent a long weekend at sea for our enjoyment a massive thank you to him and his team. Sunday, especially can not have been easy.

On day one Mike Senior and Chris White were consistency personified, two races, two bullets, as were Shane Mc Carthy and Andy Davis with two seconds.

Race one paid off beautifully for those who headed straight inshore on the first beat, but if you made the mistake of repeating that on the second beat you got hosed.  Main feature of the weekend was big breeze and some massive shifts. Keith Louden and Dessie Hughes got their result of the weekend with a third skinning their northern rivals  theyoung Mc Guinness boys in the process.cue smiles allround.On one boat.

Race two and a big right shift up the last beat got a few boats that weren’t looking too hot, out of trouble . Curly once had a boat by that name, I think, and he and Laura were chased into third by his daughter Melanie crewing for Ger Owens. Their boat name? True Belle.

Day two Sunday, blowing hard enough that rumour has it the RO wasn’t sending us out. A few launches put paid to that, and we’ve raced in far worse.

The Imperious English pair got their first challenge as Shane and Andy took their first win. They had been led around the first windward mark by Steven and Jonny, as fine a sight as  ever we’d see…until they repeated the feat the following day ! Now if the two boys had popped the kite they might have held on to the lead , but they got swallowed up. Mike and Chris had to work to hold onto the leaders and were chased home by Dave Young and Seonaid Fleming who registered their high point for the series. The effort must have taken its toll as they spent a large portion of the afternoon swimming, which meant utter exhaustion for them by the end of the day.Still smiling though.

Race four looked like it might never happen. 30 and 40 degree windshifts coming down the course with each cloudburst. Rain that was thick as fog and more than one attempt at starting which had to be abandonded with twenty seconds to go. Inevitably when the gun did go, a line that ten seconds earlier had been pin end favoured but congested,suddenly got much more so. A big shift to the left saw the fleet react, but back up the line , with room to move, Niall Henry and James Conlon crossed on port at full tilt to negate much of the advantage those by the pin had. In the lightest breeze of the weekend and heading straight into a short steep chop concentration was essential, lose it and you got spat out the back.

The end of that race saw the score tied at two all as Shane took the win followed by Mike Senior.

With a building breeze and  direction settling, the course swapped to a quickfire windward leeward. The two leading boats at the top mark both missed the wing, the boys behind said thank you very much. A short windward leg meant a hectic pressurised run, nothing settled until halfway up the second beat. There was little time to catch breath, let alone think. At the end the overall result had reversed itself.  While both incredibly consistent, the Irish boat had scored three bullets to Mikes two.

Monday morning, cold and grey. The final denoument. Race five, again a windward leeward and a great breeze, a tight stack at the top mark meant boat handling was at a premium, who popped out in the lead at the top, Shane and  Andy, with a narrow lead over a chasing pack  which had buried in it the challenger , Mike and Chris had to work hard to stay in contention,  those running down the left side of the second run weren’t looking too good until a nice right shift came in making it all look sweeter. At the bottom the Mc Guinness brothers took the stb gate while Shane went to the left, they rounded in exact sequence but someone had picked the wrong side. Shane and Andy took the gun and with it the title. Curly Morris and crew Laura Mc Farland had come around the bottom three or four back but played a beautiful final beat to come away with second.

The new Champions headed for shore and a tepid shower, while a new winner Clive Goodwin and Thomas stepped up onto the podium in race seven.Nigel Sloan and Micheal Cox had a stunning race to fend off an Olympian and grab second place.  Well done boys.

Irish National Champions 2011. Shane Mc Carthy and Andy‘ Taxi ‘ Davis.

Runners up, Mike Senior and Chris White.

Winners in the Silver Fleet Steve Nelson and his brother Johnny.

Winners of the Bronze fleet ,local Skerries crew,Shay McGee and Owen Boylan.

Well done Skerries. And thank you.





Published in GP14
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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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