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O’Tiarnaighs Hold Healthy Lead at GP14 Spring Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

7th March 2023
An 11-boat fleet is contesting the annual GP14 Spring Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough
An 11-boat fleet is contesting the annual GP14 Spring Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough

The second weekend of the annual GP14 Spring Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough kicked off with a pleasant 10-12 knots. The 11-boat fleet relished the longer beats set by PRO Gerry Reid and his team, allowing for good tactical racing and plenty of place-changing.

Race 1 saw the right-hand pay, with Ruan and Natasha O’Tiarniagh round first, closely followed by Patrick Hamilton with crew Hana Stolcova. Unfortunately, the experienced Ruan O’Tiarnaigh didn’t keep his eye out for the O flag signalling an Olympic course, and he led Patrick on a dead run towards the leeward mark. This gave the lead to Jane Kearney and Becca O’Tiarnaigh, with Ross Kearney and Daniel Nelson in close pursuit. Ross and Dan took the win, Steven Nelson and Martin Weatherstone in second and Patrick and Hana in third.

Race two got underway with the fleet working the left of the course; the right side seemed to get slightly more pressure and allowed Ross and Dan to round with a comfortable lead; they managed to hold onto the lead with Steven and Martin with another second and Keith and Matteo Louden in third.

Race three saw the breeze become more variable in strength and direction; with rain clouds building on the far shore, it was difficult to predict. Ruan and Natasha did so superbly and held a healthy lead right to the finish, Michael Cox and Claire Cromie had an excellent second beat and managed to predict the favoured side of the incoming pressure. They held onto second place with Steven and Martin a very consistent third.

This gave Steven and Martin the daily win, with Ruan and Natasha holding a healthy lead in the overall series.

Published in GP14, Belfast Lough Team

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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 Ireland Event Dates 2023

  • O'Tiarnaigh (Apr 22-23) Blessington Sailing Club
  • Ulsters (May 20-21) East Antrim Boat Club
  • Munsters (Jun 17-18) Tralee Bay Sailing Club
  • Leinsters (Jul 7-9) Dun Laoghaire Regatta
  • SOYC (Aug 19-20) Rush Sailing Club
  • Nationals (Sep 1-3) Sutton Dinghy Club
  • Hot Toddy (Sep 30-Oct 1) Royal North of Ireland Yacht 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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