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Sutton Dinghy Club Hosts Impressive GP14 Championship of Ireland with Olympians and Rising Stars

8th September 2023
Overall winner Ger Owens leads Rob Dickson at a leeward gate buoy during the GP14 National Championships at Sutton Dinghy Club on Dublin Bay
Overall winner Ger Owens leads Rob Dickson at a leeward gate buoy during the GP14 National Championships at Sutton Dinghy Club on Dublin Bay

Sutton Dinghy Club, located on Dublin Bay, proudly hosted the GP14 Championship of Ireland. This year, the club put on an impressive show for the class, attracting 37 boats from across the country, including some of the biggest names in Irish Sailing. The event featured three Olympians, including local boy Rob Dickson (Tokyo 2020), who has started to appear for the odd GP14 event, Curly Morris (Munich 1972) and multiple winners and Champions Cup holder Ger Owens (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 & London 2012).

Fireball sailor Chris Bateman from Monkstown Bay, a former Junior Champions Cup winner, also appeared at the event, returning to Sutton, where he won the 2022 Fireball Ulsters to try his hand at the GP14 fleet. Moreover, European Laser Master Champion Sean Craig returned to partner Stephen Boyle again, the pair taking the Munster Championship in early June. The event promised to attract over 40 boats, but back-to-school and college pressures, along with Electric Picnic and illness, ultimately meant the expected number didn't materialize.

Despite this, the three-day Championship took place over a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the race officer (Jim Lambkin) and his team doing an impressive job, dealing with significant tides and fog, managing to complete eight races over the three days in what looked set to be a very light wind event.

Ruan O'Tiarnaigh leads Sean Craig (centre) and Curly Morris Ruan O'Tiarnaigh (right) leads Sean Craig (centre) and Curly Morris 

The event started on Friday with little hope of sailing, but the fleet was sent out to a building thermal breeze after keeping the fleet onshore for an hour postponement. After a few General recalls and the threat of a black flag, the fleet got underway in the 7-9 knot breeze. The light winds and interesting tides made for some difficult sailing throughout the day.

The 37-boat GP14 fleet approaches a leeward gate at the national championships off Sutton Dinghy ClubThe 37-boat GP14 fleet approaches a leeward gate at the national championships off Sutton Dinghy Club

On Saturday, the non-existent wind first thing allowed the fleet to wait patiently, knowing that, most likely, the warm weather and blue skies would bring more of the same sea breeze. Three races were completed in lovely conditions, with the race course a little further out in Dublin Bay, allowing for great racing conditions.

GP14s reach to Martello Tower at Red Rock on Dublin BayGP14s reach to Martello Tower at Red Rock on Dublin Bay

By Sunday, the fleet launched into a stronger sea breeze, to the delight of the slightly heavier crews. The last race of the championship saw Ger/Mel rounding 1st, Ross/Daniel in 2nd, and Jane/Rebekah in 3rd. With the win already secured for Ger/Mel overall, the fight for the podium places was very open. Despite a RET in race 8, Ruan and Charlotte’s consistency earned them a spot on the podium.

Overall, the event was a huge success, with the Sutton Dinghy Club proving to be an excellent host and the GP14 community putting on an impressive show. The Championship showcased the best of Irish sailing, with Olympians and rising stars competing alongside one another. 

2023 GP14 Championship winners Ger Owens and Melanie Morris of the Royal St. George Yacht Club2023 GP14 Championship winners Ger Owens and Melanie Morris of the Royal St. George Yacht Club

GP14 Championship Ruan and Charlotte O'Tiarnaight Runner-up & Masters ChampionsGP14 Championship Ruan and Charlotte O'Tiarnaight Runner-up & Masters Champions 

GP14 Championship Ross Kearney Race 8 Winner & third place overallGP14 Championship Ross Kearney Race 8 Winner & third place overall

GP14 Championship Sean Craig and Stephen Boyle - Race 5 winnersGP14 Championship Sean Craig and Stephen Boyle - Race 5 winners

Race Results

You may need to scroll vertically and horizontally within the box to view the full results

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 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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