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GP14 World Championships Statement on Monday's 'Major Rescue' on Strangford Lough

13th August 2014
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GP14 World Championships Statement on Monday's 'Major Rescue' on Strangford Lough

#gp14 – Following the 'major rescue' incident during the GP14 Worlds at East Down Yacht Club on Monday afternoon, championship organisers issued the following statement to 'reassure' members:

'Today was the first day of the event with race 1 starting at 12.00 in wind speeds of 17 knots. 88 boats were "Tallied Out" (This is a safety system that ensures the event organisers know which boats are on the water and who is in each boat). Towards the finish of the first race the Race Officer decided that due to worsening weather conditions the second race of the day would be cancelled. The signal for race cancellation was displayed and the safety boat crews were informed that racing for the day was finished. The fleet started to head ashore when a strong squall of 31 Knots passed over the race area. The effect of this was that some of the GP14 Boats capsized, this is not an unusual situation and crews are trained on how to "Right" their boat. Unfortunately a further stronger squall registering 37 Knots followed the first, capsizing a further number of the fleet.

Apparent media reports of 80 boats being capsized would be incorrect as there would have been no more than 10-12 Boats capsized at any one time. The capsizes where being successfully handled by the competitors and the team of 13 safety boats that had been accompanying the racing fleet. The Race officer then made the correct decision, as a precaution, to contact the Coast Guard should the weather conditions worsen and in fact the weather conditions improved after 15 minutes.

As regards injuries apart from 2 competitors with suspected broken limbs no one in the event was seriously injured other than minor scratches, cut and bruises, consistent with the sport at this level'.

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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