#gp14 – Fresh from their win at the GP14 O'Tiarnaigh challenge two weeks ago Shane McCarthy and Damien Bracken from Greystones Sailing Club took the honours in challenging conditions at Lough Ree Yacht club writes Keith Louden
It had been nearly 20 years since the last time the GP 14 class had visited this beautiful club and jockeyed for position on the Lough Ree Yacht Club start line. Competitors had gathered from all four Provinces displaying the geographical appeal it now has. It was also the first time a GP 14 event had been twinned with the Mirror class and was a resounding success.
After a short delay on Saturday morning to let the wind ease a little, race Officer Liam Maloney assisted by his daughter Nessa lowered the postponement flag to signal his intentions to start the 2015 Purcell Championship. Out on the water he set up triangular courses which included long beats and fast broad reaches in force 4 gusting to force 5 conditions.
In race one Shane McCarthy and Damien Bracken took advantage of the shifting conditions and established an early lead at the weather mark, with the chasing pack rounding close together they were able to extend the lead while the battle behind ensued. With McCarthy and Bracken winning, John and Donal Mc Guinness finished second and Max Treacey and Ronan MacNamara showed good early pace finishing in third.
In the silver fleet Peter fallon and James Peter Hockley who narrowly beat Simon Culley and Libby Tierney, and Bill and James Johnson respectively established an early lead.
The Bronze fleet was won by Peter and Stephen Boyle with Gareth and Richard Gallagher in second place and Adrian Lee and Edward Coyne in third.
Race two began with Keith Louden and Alan Thompson taking an early lead only to relinquish this position towards the end of the second beat to McCarthy and Bracken who had recovered impressively from a poor start to take the win. Louden and Thompson just managed to hold off the McGuinness brothers in a close battle for second place. The silver fleet was won by Cully and Tierney followed by the Johnsons. The Bronze fleet was won with a very impressive fifth overall by the Gallagher brothers followed by Lee and Coyne.
With the wind rising and capsizes increasing in race three, some crews decided to make for the shelter of the club house where soup and rolls were distributed. McCarthy and Bracken must also have smelt this because they didn't hang around long before taking another impressive win. Second was the Mc Guinness brothers and Louden Thompson in third. In the silver fleet it was Fallon and Hockley followed the Johnsons, and in The Bronze fleet the Gallaghers were followed home by Lee and Coyne.
Sunday morning began with lighter winds much appreciated by the crews who survived the Saturday afternoon. Once again the start line and the courses were set impeccably by the race officer and his team. McCarthy and Bracken came through to continue their good form from the Saturday to take the win, with Niall Henry and Ossian Geraghty who didn't make Saturdays racing taking second, third was Fallon and Hockley who also finished first in the Silver, with Culley and Tierney second and Katie Dwyer and Michelle Rowley third. Bronze was Peter and Stephen Boyle from the Gallaghers followed by Lee and Coyne.
Race five began with some large shifts which oscillated from side to side and varied in strength, however, McCarthy and Bracken won the race and with it the Purcell Trophy. McGuinnesses came second and Henry and Geraghty in third.
With McCarthy and Bracken's weekends work done they decided to take an early shower and leave the rest of the fleet to battle it out for the last piece of silverware of the weekend. With the wind dropping away during some heavy showers, then rising to planing conditions just before the next shower this was a race which was never going to be won easily. At the first gybe mark McGuinnesses led, followed closely by Treacey and Macnamara, Cully and Tierney, and Curly Morris and Laura McFarland. After seeing the first three boats sail high on the reach Morris and McFarland steered a low course and rounded the leeward mark in first place. This was a position this pair did not relinquish despite the challenge of the chasing pack and the continually changing conditions. Second was Henry and Geraghty and third was Cully and Tierney.
1st Shane Mc Carthy and Damien Bracken
2nd John Mc Guinness and Donal Mc Guinness
3rd Keith Louden and Alan Thompson
1st Peter Fallon and James Hockley
2nd Simon Cully and Libby Tierney
3rd Bill Johnson and James Johnson
1st Gareth Gallagher and Richard Gallagher
2nd Adrian Lee and Edward Coyne
3rd Peter Boyle and Stephen Boyle