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Six Wins for Kearney and Nelson at GP14 'Hot Toddy' at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

7th October 2023
Tight racing among the 27 GP14s during the Hot Toddy at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough
Tight racing among the 27 GP14s during the Hot Toddy at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough Credit: Lindsay Nolan

Last weekend, 27 GP14s gathered at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on the south shore of Belfast Lough for the first of the Hot Toddy meetings of the 23/24 season.

Dominating the competition were the home crew of Ross Kearney and Daniel Nelson, with six firsts. The next three boats were tied on 23 points, and the fifth boat had 24, so it was all very tight at the top of the fleet.

The first of the six scheduled races saw the fleet (including some wooden versions) get off to a gentle start, with Race Officer Sam Lynas trusting that the forecast breeze would fill in and, indeed, light airs did arrive on time.

Race one got underway with Kearney and Nelson (RNIYC) leading the fleet chased by Ross’s wife Jane and Stephen Nelson (Donaghadee and Newtownards) in what was to be a tight opener. Ross and his crew prevailed, with Nelson second and Conor Twohig from Sutton and Howth third. The second race followed a similar pattern with Kearney and Nelson, and this time in a strong showing from the two northwestern clubs, Keith and Mateo Louden from Lough Foyle YC finished second, with John and Donal McGuiness from Moville BC third.

Racing at the GP14 Hot Toddy at RNIYC Photo: Lindsay NolanRacing at the GP14 Hot Toddy at RNIYC Photo: Lindsay Nolan

The last race of the day was shortened as the wind had dropped, and once again, Kearney dominated with another first. Coleman Grimes and Ross Gingles (Skerries YC) were pleased to cross second, with Twohig third.

Going into the second day, Kearney and Nelson were in pole position. The conditions were very different with a strong breeze, but despite the increase in the wind, they yet again led the fleet in Race four and following closely was his wife Jane with Ollie Goodhead as crew.

The Louden brothers finished third. The fifth race followed a similar pattern, Ross being chased down by Jane with Ruan OTiarnaigh and Melanie Morris taking the third slot. Having had five firsts, the Kearney team could have sat the last race out, but being the competitor he is, he wasn’t going to let a clean sweep pass him by, and indeed it was just that. O’Tiarnaigh was second and the Loudens third.

The event was sponsored by Bushmills.

GP14 Hot Toddy prizewinners at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club from left to right Commodore Johnny Miller, Ross Kearney, Daniel Nelson and Gerry Reid, with young Elliot Kearney in front. Photo: Lindsay NolanGP14 Hot Toddy prizewinners at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club from left to right Commodore Johnny Miller, Ross Kearney, Daniel Nelson and Gerry Reid, with young Elliot Kearney in front. Photo: Lindsay Nolan

GP14 Hot Toddy at RNIYC ResultsGP14 Hot Toddy at RNIYC Results

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 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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