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Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club to Host 2026 GP14 Worlds as Championships Returns to Ireland For Second Time in Four Years

15th March 2024
Skerries Sailing Club last hosted the GP14 championship in Ireland 2022 after a number of cancellations caused by COVID
Skerries Sailing Club last hosted the GP14 championship in Ireland 2022 after a number of cancellations caused by COVID Credit: Bob Given

Ireland will stage the GP14 World Championships for the second time in four years following a decision by the International Committee to relocate the 2026 World Championship from Sri Lanka.

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, Belfast, has agreed to host the championships following a review by the GP14 International Committee in early February.

Skerries Sailing Club last hosted the GP14 championship in Ireland 2022 after a number of cancellations caused by COVID.

A decision was made to look to relocate the 2026 World Championship to an alternative venue. "It was with much regret that the Committee had to consider this course of action,"  Irish President Andy Johnston told Afloat.

The Sri Lanka Championship Committee were notified, and the GP14 International President, Charles Saunders, issued an update very recently to the GP14 membership outlining the concerns and challenges that led to this decision.

These were primarily:

  • Container shipping costs estimates suggest that the per boat cost could be in the region of €1,200-1,500 which is 3 to 4 times more expensive than shipping boats to Barbados for 2016 Worlds
  • There still remains serious uncertainty on the future price of shipping with Red Sea being drawn into Middle East conflict, notwithstanding impacts on delivery times and schedules
  • Long haul air fares have also risen considerably and unlikely to drop much in the near to medium future

The outcome of all these factors was that the Committee believed there are very few sailors in Ireland or the UK who could commit to an event in Sri Lanka in two years time and that we would struggle to get more than a couple of containers and the event would not attract sufficient numbers to make a proper World Championships. Having considered the forgoing issues very carefully, it was with much regret that the General Committee decided that it would be sensible as a class to look for an alternative venue for 2026 World Championships.

That process has been underway for several weeks, with the Championship Committee looking beyond the traditional venues, including possible European venues. This is a challenge as many suitable locations will already have locked down their events calendar for 2026.

However, the GP14 International Committee is delighted to announce today that the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, Belfast, has agreed to host the 2026 GP14 World Championships. The Club was already earmarked to host the 2026 UK Nationals, so it was ideally placed to step into the breach. More details and revised dates will follow. 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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