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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Comfortable Win for MacCarthy and Thompson at GP14 Nationals at Cultra

5th July 2022
Jane Kearney and Ollie Goodhead from Royal North and South Shields SC (14242) in the mix at a leeward mark
Jane Kearney and Ollie Goodhead from Royal North and South Shields SC (14242) in the mix at a leeward mark

In a warm-up for the 12-day long GP14 Worlds in Skerries in early August, a very competitive 40-strong fleet came to the line for the Ridgeway Irish GP14 Championships hosted by the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on the south shore of Belfast Lough last weekend. The competitors travelled from all over Ireland; from Sligo to Greystones, from Blessington to Youghal and from Lough Foyle to County Down; a great spread of interest throughout the country.

 Sutton Dinghy Club's Conor Twohig and Matthew Cotter (14165) and Keith and Mateo Louden from Lough FoyleSutton Dinghy Club's Conor Twohig and Matthew Cotter (14165) and Keith and Mateo Louden from Lough Foyle

And it was the 2016 World Champion Shane MacCarthy from Greystones teamed up with Andy Thompson, who began the event with a win and went on to dominate the fleet with three more firsts and two seconds, finishing very comfortably in first place 12 points ahead of Ger Owens and Mel Morris from Royal St George and East Antrim. Ger Owens won the event last year at Lough Erne in Fermanagh with Brendan Brogan.

Ruan and Rebekah O'Tiarnaigh (14215)Ruan and Rebekah O'Tiarnaigh (14215) finished 12th. Not long after a busy Bangor Town Regatta in Excession

In third slot were the host club’s Ross Kearney and Andrew Vaughan, a new pairing for this year, who had shown some early form with victory at the Ulsters back in May.

Best placed in the Silver Fleet was another RNIYC crew, Chris Clayton and Rory Higgins who came 13th overall and in the Bronze, it was Kerri-Ann and Megan Boylan from Skerries at 26th.

A 40 strong GP14 fleet on Belfast LoughA 40 strong GP14 fleet on Belfast Lough 

Day 1 saw the fleet very keen to get afloat but like a good Race Officer at a start, the Beachmaster had to be satisfied everyone was complying with the ‘rules’. Hence the grid lock but once they got off, it was an Olympic course. Principal Race Officer Nigel Kearney set gate starts which a 105-strong fleet can expect at the Worlds.

A steady 12- 14 knots with gusts of 17 persisted through Races 1 and 2 with a slight easing for Race 3. With the lull came a shift shortly after the start causing fetch to the windward mark and that race was abandoned. It was restarted but the restart had to be abandoned too and then it was finally off. A long day and the fleet returned ashore around 5.30.

The Sunday brought a stronger breeze resulting in minor gear damage with some crews to shore and then going back to the race area. There were lots of position changes, Ross Kearney and Andrew Vaughan were knocked out of the number 2 slot to finish third overall.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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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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