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Irish GP14s to Start National Season at Mullingar Sailing Club in Last Weekend of April

18th April 2019
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Close-fought GP 14 action on Lough Owel at Mullingar. The class starts its national programme at this central location on April 27th-28th Close-fought GP 14 action on Lough Owel at Mullingar. The class starts its national programme at this central location on April 27th-28th Photo: GP14 Ireland

The keenly-run GP14 Ireland Association starts its national season in the final weekend of April (27th & 28th) in the central location of Lough Owel at Mullingar Sailing Club with the prestigious O’Tiarnaigh Trophy championship writes W M Nixon. The Class Committee has worked on maximising the racing programme for all competitors, in addition to devising a format which ensures that there will be a result even if one of the two days of racing is lost due to inclement weather.

This vintage but enthusiastic class is notable for the number of young crews from GP14 strongholds all over the country who have joined the fleet in recent years, attracted by the strong ethos of mutual support and encouragement. This was much in evidence at the very special regatta in Skerries on Saturday, January 12th to celebrate the 75th birthday of GP 14 stalwart Curly Morris of Larne, an event which drew a select but very representative fleet of GP 14 fans from all over the country.

The class is now on the long countdown to the GP 14 Worlds due to be staged in Skerries in 2020, for which the 2019 Nationals & Masters at the same venue on August 16th to 18th is planned as something of a taster. But meanwhile, in addition to a season-long countrywide programme which takes in many of the GP 14 Ireland strongholds, the class already has 31 entries finalised for the GP 14 Leinsters in Dun Laoghaire from July 12th to 14th, to be staged as part of the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

Published in GP14
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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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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