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O'Connor and McHaile Win Sligo's GP14 Open

28th September 2011
O'Connor and McHaile Win Sligo's GP14  Open

As ever Rosses Point in Sligo was a beautiful spot to arrive to bright and early Saturday morning. Some may have been up at an ungodly hour, but it's well worth it to come to the top of the hill and look down on a line of peeling surf, a clear sky and a strong breeze.

Race officer Gus Henry had us out early because he had four races to run off each day, two for the Open in the mornings and two for the Youths in the afternoon.

Once a year owners lend their most precious possession to sailors under the age of 23,  the hope being they might get a gra for what we do. How could you not when it's blowing like that ?!
First race Saturday morning set off in a good breeze, nice square line, and enough room so we could all get away nice and clean. Steven and Jonnie looked to put the gold fleet to the sword and bet on the right hand side in emphatic style,no doubt what they thought would work. Having worked our way up the middle I'd like to think that they made that side look a lot better than it was just because they eat up the beats in a breeze. Those that had heavily split to the left came in looking just as good. As always if you could hook into a gust on the reach, you might just hold on to it and escape, and it seemed to be a feature of the day ,as ever, that a little bit of luck might put you in the path of something the others might not get.

The second beat found the leading boat having to try and cover a heavy right/ left split from the four closest pursuers ( guess which way Steven went ! ). But again, there wasn't much in it.

Some crews struggled a bit on the beats, and some even fell out but if they could hold even a slim gap, they would usually escape down the reach to set themselves a wee cushion. Coming down the final run the leader was going to need it. Paddy and Tania survived a late surge from the chasing pack to record a fine race win. Ah, the sound of gun...such a glorious thing....

Race two and the Race Officer raised the Black Flag, he had no intention of pissing about wasting time. This made some of us a little nervous and I know a bo.at that was very gun shy, Dessie and Keith however happily set off on Port at high speed and only one boat pushed them back into the middle of the course.Dashing their dream of owning the right hand side, and what they belived might have been eternal glory. It wouldn't have been. Niall with Oisin back in the boat, popped around the top in a good position having worked their way up the left late in the beat and set about reminding the fleet how good they can be. But they had the previous race winner and a few others besides to contend with. A fast reach, an exchange of opinions at the gybe, a climb on the next leg, no-one quite brave enough to go straight and risk others coming over the top ,the only real decisions came at the leeward mark. Paddy and Tania went left, and gained massively putting them right in contention, they protected their lead aggresivley down the final run, forcing a penalty on one of the competition, and in the process nearly losing 3, 4,5, and 6 who were nose to tail down the other side of the course and going faster. But they popped around the bottom just ahead and held on to record another bullet. Ha, who needs a six time National Champion in the front of the boat when you've got Tania !

Next up the Youths who were to bear the brunt of a strenghthing breeze, bits started breaking off boats and quite a lot of swimming interspersed a game of follow my leader, when someone took them all off on the wrong course....The RO gamely set them up for another one in the strongest breeze of the day. They all came ashore with grins on their faces , Especially Dan Gill who won the only Race.
A great feed was enjoyed in the Sligo Yacht Club , and a few dice were rolled to decide the fate of a nice new GOACHER spinnaker sponsored by the Grangecon Café in Blessington .
The spinnaker was a reward for those owners who had kindly lent their boats to juniors, thank you to all of you.

Next up the Hot Toddy in Mullingar. Fresh water to wash your boat in and the possibiity of new sails as prizes just by entering the event.

Published in GP14
Afloat.ie 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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