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Royal St. George's Owens and Morris Set the Bar High at GP14 Spring Open at Rosses Point

6th May 2022
Ger Owens & Mel Morris were the GP14 Spring Open winners
Ger Owens & Mel Morris were the GP14 Spring Open winners in Sligo

28 boats, six races, eight OCS’s and a whole lotta racing got the 2022 GP14 Ireland season off to a bang on the waters off Rosses Point in County Sligo over the weekend of 30Apr/1 May writes Ryan Devitt

The forecast was for wind and rain, and the fleet got their fill of both over the two days.

Saturday started in fresh and blustery conditions with the wind from the south west and under the expert eye of RO Michael Conway from Wexford the fleet got away on Race 1. The left hand side seemed to pay and first at the first mark was veteran father and son team of Hugh & Dan Gill (SDC) sailing ‘Yin Tang’ with Ross Kearney & Andrew Vaughan (RNIYC) in ‘Ron’, and Ger Owens & Mel Morris (RStGYC) in ‘Two Belle’ close on their heels. Two Belle was in fact Too Belle and once in the lead, stretched it out for the win with Yin Tang second and Ron third. Fourth went to another son and father team of Peter and Stephen Boyle (SDC) in ‘Further’ and Jane Kearney & Josh Porter (RNIYC/NSC) in ‘Purple Rocket’ 5th followed by another father and son team of Keith and Matteo Louden (LFYC) 6th .

Race 2 started in similar blustery and cold conditions which again favoured the left hand side of the beat. First at the weather mark and returning to the GP14 fleet sailing with his daughter in her first event were Ruan & Rebekah O’Tiarnaigh (BYC/SDC) in ‘Ghost Light’ closely followed by a stalwart GP14 team of Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty (SYC) in ‘Local Yokel’ and also Two Belle in the hunt. Despite best efforts Ghost Light, after 2 laps holding off the persistent threat from Local Yokel in the blustery conditions they finally succumbed and were passed by both Local Yokel and Two Belle before the finish. These three were followed by Colman Grimes & Ross Gingles (SSC/DWSC) in ‘No Surprise’ 4th , and Further in 5th.

Shifting winds required a number of course changes before the fleet again got under way with a slightly reduced fleet due to the cold wind and rain. Race 3 and again the team on Ghost Light rounded the first weather mark in lead position with Yin Tang close second, Two Belle third, Adrian Lee & Gareth Gallagher (YSC/Moville) in ‘Ideal’, Alan Blay & Hugh McNally (SDC) in Wally and the rest of the usual suspects in hot pursuit. A cheeky manoeuvre at the gybe mark allowed Yin Tang through to the lead, only an impromptu swim at the leeward mark required a remarkable recovery for Yin Tang’s helm Hugh and despite it the team remained in first place going into the second lap. The three leaders played the right hand side of the course, but a group that went left early in the beat came through to disrupt the placings by the second weather mark. After another tremendous race, it was Ideal finishing in first, Further second Purple Rocket third, No Surprise fourth and Two Belle in fifth.

Ashore overnight the results were tantalizing. Leading the Gold fleet with a very consistent 1,2,5 was Two Belle: Owens & Morris

Second with 4, 5, 2 : Further : Boyle & Boyle
Third with 5, 8, 3 : Purple Rocket : Kearney & Porter (Jane, wife of Ross ahead overnight)
Fourth with 3, 7, 6 : Ron : Kearney & Vaughan
Fifth with 2, 9, 7 : Yin Tang : Gill & Gill
Sixth with 12, 6, 1 : Ideal : Lee & Gallagher
Seventh with 10, 1, 10 : Local Yokel: Henry & Geraghty

Silver Fleet: ‘Beltraka’, Bill & James Johnson (LFYC), followed by Edward Coyne & Oisinn Brown
(Youghal SC) and ‘Ice and Slice’ Brian Morrison & Noah Canham (LEYC/SYC)

Bronze Fleet: David & Jon Evans (SYC), ‘Surprise’ Darrach Dinneen & Eoin Boylan (Skerries SC) and ‘Southern Wild’ Des McMahon & Pat Blesty (Cillaun SC)

Sunday brought the fleet much of the same in terms of weather but the direction had veered from southwesterly to westerly injecting an element of mystery as to which side might be favoured in terms of tidal flows. After a number of general recalls which the RO patiently handled, he finally got the fleet off under the black flag. Further, Yin Tang and Local Yokel were requested to leave the race by the race committee for being OCS leaving No Surprise somewhat surprised to be leading, Two Belle second and Ghost Light third. These three maintained their positions to the finish while after a grand melee Purple Rocket came
home 4th with Ron 5th Wally 6th and Beltraka a very credible 7th. After more shenanigans at the start of Race 5 again meant that again a number of boats were requested to depart the race track during the first round, this included event leader Two Belle, Ron, No Surprise, Wally and Ideal. Capitalising on this was Ghost Light who led from the pin end uninterrupted to the finish, with Further second, Yin Tang third, The Wrong Trousers, Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter (SDC) foUrth in a 1-4 for Sutton boats. Fifth and Sixth continued the battle of the Kearney’s household with Jane pipping Ross again and holding a commanding lead in the ‘household bragging rights department’ going into the final race.

In slightly moderated winds the final race saw Yin Tang, Ron and Two Belle get ahead of the melee and battle out for first, Ghost Light fought their way into 4th after round 1 and sat rather undisturbed for the remainder of the race. Meanwhile, the battle for 5th was hotting up between Bronze fleet and the youngest helm 15 year old David Evans with father Jon crewing, Further, Ideal, Local Yokel, The wrong Trousers, all in the mix. After some exceptional helming, David Evans held off all comers to clock in a remarkable 5th with Further 6th, Local Yokel 7th, Ideal 8th and The Wrong Trousers 9th. Certainly, David is one to watch for in the future.

So to the final scores…
6 races, 6 different race winning teams. The competition was as tight as a drum.

Gold Fleet:
First, Despite an OCS, Two Belle, Ger Owens & Mel Morris finished on 12 points counting 1 first, 3 x seconds and a fifth. 
Second on 19 points, Further, Peter & Stephen Boyle (Sutton Dinghy Club)
Third with 20 points, Ghost Light, Ruan & Rebekah O’Tiarnaigh (BallyholmeYC/Sutton Dinghy Club)
Fourth with 22 points, Yin Tang, Hugh & Dan Gill, (Sutton Dinghy Club)
Fifth with 24 points, Ron, Ross Kearney & Andrew Vaughan (RNIYC) only just pipping his wife
Sixth with 25 points, Purple Rocket Jane Kearney & Josh Porter (RNIYC/Newtownards SC)
Seventh wit 34 pts, Local Yokel, (and event organisers) Niall Henry & Oissian Gerraghty (Sligo YC)

Silver fleet :
First, Beltraka, Bill & James Johnson (LFYC) (12 th overall),
Second, Edward Coyne & Oisin Brown (Youghal SC).
Third, Chris Clayton & Rory Higgins (RNIYC)

Bronze Fleet:
First, David & Jon Evans (Sligo YC) (15 th overall).
Second, Surprise, Darrach Dinneen & Eoin Boylan (Skerries SC)
Third, ‘Southern Wild’, Des McMahon & Pat Blesty (Cullaun SC)

With over 140 boats registered for the World Championships in Skerries in August the season is very much hotting up.

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.

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

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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