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GP14 O'Tiarnaigh Challenge Set for Howth Yacht Club on April 4/5

19th February 2020
GP14s will race in Howth on April 4 in their first event of 2020 GP14s will race in Howth on April 4 in their first event of 2020 Photo: Afloat

The GP14 dinghy season kicks off in Howth Yacht Club on April 4/5 with a revised format O’Tiarnaigh Challenge.

The GP14 Committee are anticipating a big turnout for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, its an opportunity to for an early start to preparations for the GP14 World Championships at Skerries in July. With the Ulster Championships (Newtownards) the only other event being held on the sea before the Skerries Worlds in July, the Committee has agreed that this year's O'Tiarnaigh will be run as a standard GP14 event rather than the usual separated fleets, flights and sail-offs.

Secondly, it also marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of GP14 sailor Riocaird O’Tiarnaigh for whom the event honours. O'Tiarnaigh was a huge presence in the fleet both as a sailor (Sutton Dinghy Club) as well as an administrator (President of both GP14 International Class & GP14 Ireland Class as well as Hon. Secretary of the Irish Sailing Association).

Published in GP14, Howth YC
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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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