An appropriate title for a GP 14 event to be held (hopefully) in October at the Larne club. The word toddy comes from the toddy drink in India produced by fermenting the sap of palm trees and its earliest known use to mean "a beverage made of alcoholic liquor with hot water, sugar, and spices", is from 1786. The latter will be just the thing to warm up sailors taking part in this widely anticipated meeting.
As entries aren't open yet for the event on 10th/11th October, and no one is confirmed but the Club hopes to have at least some of the following well known GP14 stalwarts competing: the host club's Curly Morris and Robert Gingles, with crews as yet unknown and Ger Owens and Melanie Morris, daughter of Curly.
Committee member Lucy Whitford says that " It would be great to see the former world champion and multiple National champions Shane McCarthy, and Ross and Jane Kearney, former Irish champions who have recently moved back to NI. Welcome too would be regulars on the GP circuit John and Donal McGuiness, Hugh Gill, Colman Grimes, Katie Dwyer and Michelle Rowley, and Bill and James Johnson. We would also hope to see some up and coming youth GP sailors competing, Peter Boyle, David Johnson and Conor Twohig".
East Antrim has a long list and long history of champion GP14 sailors. Johnny McWilliam was among the first to shine when he won the 1957 Northern Ireland championship, with Curly Morris and Tommy Hutcheson taking the same title in 1964 followed the next year by Paul Rowan and Graham Gingles. Jump forward a few years to 1972 and we have Tom Jobling crewing for Ballyholme's Peter Duffy winning the Irish Championship and Des Nixon and Tommy Hutcheson NI Champions; Curly Morris and Bobby Jones Ulster Champions with Curly also on the Irish Olympic Team in Kiel. Into this century among other GP 14 helms to feature prominently are Mark and Paul Fekkes.
This Hot Toddy event first saw the light of day in the early eighties when the then GP14 Assoc of Ireland charged their East Antrim BC based fleet with the creation of a new and suitable end-of-season 'fun' event.
With the baton accepted a team lead by the legendry helmsman Curly Morris set to work and devised a new kind of 'freestyle' format to take advantage of what Larne Lough could offer.
So in October 1982, the mighty GP14 fleet descended on the Larne Lough club to be greeted with a perfect sparkling south easterly. A single windward leg from EABC into the [uncharted] upper Lough! Thereafter the fleet re-assembled for a spinnaker slalom in a freshened breeze, back from whence they came and, ashore for the evening festivities.
The event was superbly serviced with prizes by the 'shop-keepers' of the town and sponsored overall by the coal importer, Howdens Ltd, who also provided the solid silver winner's cup. And it looks like the first winner will be in the frey again for that was Curly Morris. That day as well as the cup, he received a 'bag of coal' to fend off the incoming Co. Antrim winter. Hopefully, a Hot Toddy will do the same!