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Ross & Jane Kearney Win Irish GP14 Nationals at Sligo Yacht Club

21st August 2018
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Ding-dong in yesterday’s final race in the GP 14 Nationals at Sligo – Ger Owens & Mel Morris (RStGYC) narrowly lead Curly Morris (East Antrim BC) & Laura McFarlane (Newtownards SC) Ding-dong in yesterday’s final race in the GP 14 Nationals at Sligo – Ger Owens & Mel Morris (RStGYC) narrowly lead Curly Morris (East Antrim BC) & Laura McFarlane (Newtownards SC) Photo: David Wray/Sligo YC

Ross and Jane Kearney may be based in England these days, but the former Mirror multiple champion and sail-maker is always happy to reaffirm his connections with the Royal North of Ireland YC at Cultra on Belfast Lough as he competes among the fleet leaders in the GP 14 class writes W M Nixon. And when he came second in the GP 14 Worlds in Cornwall at the beginning of the month, there indeed was RNIYC up on the leaderboard.

He promised at the time that he and his wife Jane would be racing the three day Irish GP Nationals 2018 which concluded yesterday at Sligo. While the amount of foul weather circulating in the days beforehand may have been instrumental in keeping numbers down to a fleet of 37 boats, they were well representative of every leading centre of GP 14 racing in Ireland. And as for Ross & Jane making the journey, it was well worth it - they won overall.

Ironically, the gales had settled down so quickly as former Subtropical Storm Ernesto lost its power that the problem at Sligo was light winds on Saturday and Sunday. But while Monday at first brought no wind at all, a lovely sailing breeze eventually settled in to conclude the 6-race championship on a high.

The Kearney challenge got off to a shaky start with a 7th, the winner being visiting English helm Sam Watson crewed by James Peter Hockley of Lough Foyle YC. And in second there was a real blast from the past – former Sligo GP 14 stars Tim Corcoran and Brendan Brogan persuaded each other out of retirement, they borrowed Liam O’Donnell’s boat, and they started their series with a 2nd which then became a first in the second race.

corcoran and brogan2The senior team reunited. Tim Corcoran and Brendan Brogan re-joined the GP 14 scene after many years, and showed they’d lost none of their edge as they race along well-placed under a cloud-capped Ben Bulben. Photo: David Wray/Sligo YC
The competition was decidedly cut and trust, but having moved up to 3rd for Race 2, the Kearneys were in the groove, and their scoreline for the remainder of the series was 1,1,4, and 3, giving them 12 nett points to the 21 of Sam Watson and the shared 23 of Tim Corcoran and Ger Owens, which the former won on count back, though he would have been second overall but for an OCS in Race 3. As for defending champion Shane MacCarthy of Greystones, he was off form, for after a 3rd in the first race, his best result was a second in Race 4, but his other results saw him finishing in 14th overall.

gpnats fleet3Fleet portrait - the final race, with Curly Morris and Laura McFarlane (right) leading the first round. Photo: David Wray/Sligo YC

Ger Owens (RStGYC) was to figure significantly in the final race, for as it progressed veteran skipper Curly Morris of Larne, crewed by Laura McFarlane of Newtownards, led at the end of the first round. But Ger Owens and Melanie Morris were waiting to pounce, and they were in the lead at the finish, with Curly second. However, the Kearney crew secured their popular overall win with a third to round out a championship which reinforced the image of GP 14 Ireland as a class and its all-island organisation in good heart.

International GP 14 Irish Nationals 2018 - Sligo YC Results

1st Purple Rocket (Ross & Jane Kearney, RNIYC & South Staffs SC) 12pts; 2nd The Drip (Sam Watson & JP Hockley, Nantwich SC & Lough Foyle YC) 21; 3rd 14055 Tim Corcoran & Brendan Brogan Sligo YC) 23; 4th True Belle (Ger Owens & Mel Morris, Royal St George YC) 23; 5th Trouble on the Way (Curly Morris and Laura McFarlane, East Antrim BC & Newtownards SC) 33; 6th 14214 (Keith Luden & Alan Thompson, RYA) 37; 7th Wally (Alan Blay & David Johnston, Sutton DC) 40; 8th Kalaco (Hugh & Dan Gill, SDC) 43; 9th 13247 (John & Donal McGuinness, Movillle BC) 50; 10th Speranza (Gareth & Richard Gallagher, LFYC) 51.

ross and jane4Ross & Jane Kearney, Irish GP 14 National Champions 2018. Photo: David Wray/Sligo YC

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