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Royal St. George's Owens & Morris Win GP14 Leinsters at Blessington

10th July 2021
Ger Owens and Mel Morris were crowned GP14 Leinster Champions at Blessington Sailing Club
er Owens and Mel Morris were crowned GP14 Leinster Champions at Blessington Sailing Club

Different event, same result. Following their success at the Ulsters two weeks ago, Ger Owens and Mel Morris were crowned GP14 Leinster Champions at Blessington Sailing Club last weekend. (Jul 3/4)

Originally earmarked as part of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, the Leinsters attracted 34 boats to Blessington and Blessington did not disappoint.

On Saturday, tough flukey conditions saw a long delay before racing got underway at 2:15 but our PRO Joe Crilly held his nerve to get in 3 great races.

While Hugh Gill might be waiting for his new GP14 from Alistair Duffin, it certainly doesn't stop him from getting into other boats and making them sail fast. With another loaner for the Leinsters, he led the first race from the start, chased by Ger Owens, Shane MacCarthy, Norman Lee and Colman Grimes, only relinquishing the lead on the last leg into the line. 1, 2 Shane & Ger, with Hugh hanging on for 3rd.

A couple of wind shift induced AP's led to Black Flag start on Race 2 but with everyone away, it didn't take long for Shane and Ger to renew rivalry again with Curly Morris well to the fore. By end of the race Ger was in the ascendancy with Keith Louden coming through to take 3rd. Curly 4th and Colman Grimes taking 5th.

Class President Michael Collander  of (Mullingar SC)Class President Michael Collander of (Mullingar SC)

Race 3 saw Ger, Shane, Curly, Keith and Colman all to the fore from early on. A stronger breeze brought some welcome fast spinnaker reaches. With Keith splitting Shane and Ger, it now looked like some order was taking shape going into Sunday. Not a bit of it! It was still all still to play for.

Sunday saw PRO Joe Crilly out promptly on the water and now aided by the visiting Derek Bothwell from HYC. The day started with fresher and more consistent breeze for the first race. This time Curly Morris with event organiser Richard Street in the front of the boat, split Ger and Shane with the pair now level on points. The 5th race saw a clean start, but with plenty of port-starboard incidents as well as the unusual sight of Ger Owens in the water after losing his footing. An improving David Johnston looked likely to be first to the weather mark, but a windshift saved a nosebleed by letting Shane and Colman nip in ahead. The Class saw Diana Kissane (Sutton Dinghy Club/HYC) back in the fleet for the first time in 10 years and a 4th in Race 5 suggests it won't be long before we see her exert pressure at the top of the fleet. A great recovery saw Ger fight his way back into contention from his early bath but Shane hung on for the bullet with Ger having to settle for 2nd.

Silver fleet was led at this stage by the very consistent Conor Twohig & Meg Tyrrell (Sutton Dinghy Club) who had posted 5 top 10 finishes to lead Steve Nelson (Newtownards SC) and Stuart McCormack (Mullingar SC). The host Clubs Matthew Street led Bronze fleet from Class President Michael Collander (Mullingar SC) going into the 6th and final race.

With dark rain clouds forming and moving down the valley, Joe and Derek got the final race off without a hitch. A ding dong match race ensued between Ger and Shane as they struggled to gain the key advantage. Ever consistent now in 2 events, Skerries Colman Grimes injected himself into the frame and made the outcome even more interesting. A major windshift on the sausage prompted the PRO to shorten the race and with Colman now in 2nd, Shane's 3rd meant Ger & Mel were to take the Championship.

With the rain now starting to lash the fleet, 34 boats made a bee-line for the shore.

Derek Bothwell who will be PRO for GP14 Championship of Ireland in August came down to get acquainted with the Class and with 34 boats, quality racing at all 3 levels of the fleet he must have been impressed and I am sure he will now be looking forward to Lough Erne in August.

A great turnout from the host Club, strong Youth attendance and with 16 Clubs represented across the 34 boat fleet, 2021 has highlighted the interest in competitive, affordable racing within Irelands largest 2 handed Class. With quite a few notable absentees in Blessington and also a no. of new boats on the way an even better turnout may be expected for the Nationals at Lough Erne Yacht Club in August. All preparation for the GP14 Worlds in Skerries in Aug 2022.

Richard Street as Event Organiser with Class President Michael Collander presented the Leinster Championship McDowell Trophy to Ger Owens and Melanie Morris. The Leinster Youth Trophy went to Peter Boyle & Joe Doherty (Sutton Dinghy Club) with the Leinster Junior U19 Trophy going to Sam Street and Rian O'Hailin (Blessington).

Class President Michael Collander thanked Blessington Sailing Club for all their efforts in making it such a great event. Remarking on the no. of event first timers in Blessington he reminded everyone of the Classes ' Adopt a Sailor' campaign and asked regular attendees to help encourage and support someone in their Club to get along to the next GP14 event. Be it issues with trailers, tuning or a crew sometime a little bit of help and support can make the difference in getting someone to their first event. He praised Steven Nelson from Newtownards and Shane MacCarthy for supporting and encouraging Jennifer Bryce/Lara Sunday and Ronan Beirne/Dave Mulvin to make it to Blessington. With nearly 6 weeks to our next event, the Championship of Ireland (August 13-15), Michael encouraged those who can make it to attend the Skerries Regatta on July 24/25 where a GP14 start will be provided.

GP14 Leinsters summary fleet results 

(Full results downloadable below as a PDF file)

Youth (U22)
Peter Boyle & Joe Doherty (Sutton Dinghy Club) 

Junior (U19)
Sam Street & Josh Lloyd (Blessington Lakes SC)

Bronze Fleet
1 Matthew Street & Riain O'Hailin (Blessington Lakes SC)
2 Michael Collender & Brian Walker (Mullingar SC)
3 Des McMahon Pat Biesty (Cullaun SC)

2021 GP14 Leinster Silver Fleet Winners, Conor Twohig & Meg Tyrrell2021 GP14 Leinster Silver Fleet Winners, Conor Twohig & Meg Tyrrell

Silver Fleet
1 Conor Twohig & Meg Tyrrell (Sutton Dinghy Club)
2 Steve & Daniel Nelson (Newtownards SC)
3 Stuart McCormick & Bernie Briody (Mullingar SC)

2021 Leinsters Champions, Mel Morris and Ger Owens2021 GP14 Leinsters Champions, Mel Morris and Ger Owens

Gold Fleet
1 Ger Owens & Mel Morris (RStGYC)
2 Shane MacCarthy & Josh Porter (Greystones SC)
3 Colman Grimes & Ed Coyne (Skerries SC)

Photos courtesy of and John Channin and Ruairi O'Hailin

Published in GP14
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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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