GP14 Sailors rolled up to a blustery Rosses Point in Sligo for the GP14 Autumn Open with the possibility of getting little sailing done as strong winds were forecasted for the weekend reports Colman Grimes. With the youth championship been held in conjunction with the autumn open eight races were scheduled altogether – A big task for the race officer and rescue crew.
25 boats got race 1 underway with the wind beginning to ease somewhat. Local talent Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty showed their intentions for the weekend by getting around the windward mark first, followed by Sligo YC adoptees Keith Louden & Alan Thompson in 2nd and Colman Grimes & Eanna Gallagher (Skerries Sailing Club) in 3rd. These positions were maintained for the rest of the race. The fleet beginning to liven up resulted in a general recall in race 2, a black flag ensured a clear start next time round. Newbie to the fleet Shane McLoughlin (Howth YC) with crew Conor Twohig (Sutton Dinghy Club) pipped around the windward mark in 1st place closely followed by Grimes/Gallagher. Grimes/Gallagher over took them on a tight first reach and lead most of the race until finally been overtaken by Mcloughlin / Twohig and National Champions Tim Corcoran & Brendan Brogan (Sligo YC). Corcoran/ Brogan completed their charge by taking the bullet, Mcloughlin / Twohig 2nd & Grimes/ Gallagher 3rd. Henry/ Geraghty, Corcoran/ Brogan & Grimes/Gallagher shared the overnight lead on 6 points apiece.
The evening was marked by a memorable moment for many SYC and GP14 members with a surprise farewell for Tim Corcoran who is emigrating to Spain. Tim, together with crew Brendan Brogan, have notched up an impressive seven national championships in the GP14 fleet, as well as being a strong force in organising of GP14 youth training and events over the years.
Sunday brought the forecasted blustery and wet conditions, ideal for some fast sailing. Race 3 got going with Henry/ Geraghty getting around the windward mark 1st and opened up a good lead on the 1st reach which they held until the finish. JP & Carolyn McCaldin (Sligo Yacht Club) got on track with a 2nd, while Grimes / Gallagher secured another 3rd place.
With 2 firsts in the bag Henry/ Geraghty had the event wrapped up and having done their calculations retired early to leave the others fight for rest of the places.
With some very heavy wind and rain on the horizon, the McCladdins continued their fast pace in the wind and pulled out a good lead to dominate race 4 from start to finish. They could almost touch the race winner’s prize (literally!) but to find out later that they were a bit too far up the beat at the start and scored an OCS. With strong winds and a few capsizes across the fleet, Louden & Thompson capitalised to win race 4 and finish 2nd overall. A good battle ensued behind between Newtownards club members Micheal Cox / Josh Porter and Alistair Duffin / Andy Corkhill, Duffin/Corkhill clinching 2nd place off their clubmates near the end.
Despite a Capsize in the last race Grimes / Gallagher did enough to hold onto 3rd place overall and 1st in the Silver Fleet. Cox & Porter took 2nd in the silver fleet with a solid performance, followed by Ronan Armstrong & Callum McLouglin (Sligo YC) in 3rd.
The Bronze fleet was won by Mcloughlin / Twohig on their first outing with Jon Evans & Una L’Strange (Sligo YC) in 2nd. Youghal S.C. Youths Jack Buttimer & Adam McDonagh continued their progress with a 3rd.
With a further breezy 4 races carried out over the weekend for the youth championship, most headed home battered and bruised. Well done to all involved at Sligo Yacht Club for putting on a great weekends racing despite the adverse weather conditions.