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GP14s’ Close-Fought Munster Championship At Cullaun Won By Sutton Crew

15th November 2021
Munster GP14 Champions Hugh McNally (crew) and Alan Blay (helm, Sutton DC) with GP14 Ireland President Michael Collender at Cullaun SC in County Clare
Munster GP14 Champions Hugh McNally (crew) and Alan Blay (helm, Sutton DC) with GP14 Ireland President Michael Collender at Cullaun SC in County Clare

With the GP14 Worlds 2022 at Skerries from 14th to 19th August now firmly on the horizon, GP14 Ireland has been busy using the current Autumn to stage events that were pandemic-postponed from the Spring and early summer. But while it has been generally a late season of relatively moderate winds, the Geeps managed to hit weekends with more than their fair share of breeze for two of their Majors. Afloat.ie has already reported the Hot Toddy series at Larne in late October - won by former World Champion Shane McCarthy and Josh Porter of Greystones – and now we’re obliged to JP & Carolyn McCaldin of Lough Erne for bringing us into November with this account of the Munster Championships at Cullaun SC in County Clare:

Nineteen hardy teams travelled to east Clare in early November for the final event of the 2021 season, the Munsters. Saturday’s forecast did not look promising, and after the battering in Larne two weekends before, there were many nervous competitors in the dinghy park. The first two races were held in shifty, gusty conditions, with the wind maxing out in the high 20mps. Most teams who ventured out on the water took a swim at some stage, with several exploratory visits to the small islands and reed beds.

Lough Erne YC husband and wife team JP & Carolyn McCaldin stayed dry and won the first two races from Colman Grimes/Meg Tyrell of Skerries SC and Alan Blay/Hugh McNally of Sutton DC respectively. Adrian Lee & Connor Flynn, Youghal SC, took third in Race 1, but unfortunately missed the second race with a broken boom. Katie Dwyer (SDC), with guest crew Ger Owens (RStGYC), took third in Race two despite a swim.

The wind slightly moderated for Race 3. Despite having no spinnaker pole, Hugh Gill & Peter Boyle of Sutton DC showed everyone a clean pair of heels to take the race win from clubmates Alan Blay/Hugh McNally and Katie Dwyer/Ger Owens, making for a Sutton sweep.

GP14s in brisk summer sailing at Cullaun. Thanks to its user-friendly characteristics, the East Clare lake proved an ideal location to extend the GP14 Ireland’s Away Season 2021 into November.GP14s in brisk summer sailing at Cullaun. Thanks to its user-friendly characteristics, the East Clare lake proved an ideal location to extend the GP14 Ireland’s Away Season 2021 into November.

The fleet retired tired and weary to Gallagher’s bar in Kilkishen on Saturday evening, where they were entertained by members of the local Hurling club who were celebrating their win. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to get a sing-a-long with Ger Owens or event organiser Des McMahon……….

Sunday was a different day with much lighter and even shiftier winds. Race 4 went to Katie Dwyer & Ger Owens – it was Katie’s first race win at a GP Major, though she does hold a GP14 speed burst title from a wild sprint at the Worlds in Mounts Bay in Cornwall in 2018. Simon Cully & Libby Tierney of Blessington SC led round the first mark and finished in second place, ahead of Richard Street & Lisa Flynn, also from Blessington. After several efforts to start, Race 5 finally got under way. Unfortunately Street & Flynn’s good luck from Race 4 ran out and they were caught out by the black flag. The Gill & Boyle duo won the race, pipping long time leaders Grimes & Tyrell on the line, while Katie Dwyer and Ger Owens kept in touch with third.

With the McCaldin and Blay/McNally teams well down the pack in Race 5, the last race would be a duel between the two Sutton DC teams. Despite leading at almost every mark, Dwyer & Owens were very unlucky when the wind filled in from the opposite side of the course on the final leg, and lost three places. Thus Race 6 and the event was won by Alan Blay & Hugh McNally, while the other top places in the final contest went to Adrian Lee & Conor Flynn of Youghal and Norman Lee & Alan Leddy of Greystones SC, who both stormed through the pack on the final beat.

GP14 Munsters resultsGP14 Munsters results

Sam & Matthew Street of Blessington SC won the Silver Fleet from club mates Simon Cully & Libby Tierney, while the Bronze Fleet was won by Oisin Brown & Max Cully, again from Blessington SC.

In fact, top marks to Blessington SC for bringing so many entries to the event - it is very encouraging to see such a good youth turnout. And a heartfelt thank you to all at Culluan SC for a fabulous event, proving that it is possible to extend the away season until November.

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.

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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

GP14 2022 Irish Fixtures 

Spring Open (Apr 30 May 1)
Sligo YC

Ulsters (May 21-22)
Lough Foyle YC

Nationals (Jul 2-3)
RNIYC

O'Tiarnaigh Pre-Worlds (Jul 30-31)
Skerries SC

GP14 Worlds (Aug 14-19)
Skerries SC

Leinsters (Sep 17-18)
Mullingar SC

Hot Toddy/Youth Championship
(Oct 15-16) - Newtownards SC

Munster Championship
(Nov 5-6) - Cullaun Sailing Club

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