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19 GP14s set sail on St Patrick's Day for the fifth weekend of the spring series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough

The sailors were greeted with a light 4-5 knots from the south, with a balmy 12 degrees! Race Officer Gerry Reid and his team managed the light shifty breeze excellently, setting 3 races away in what was a building offshore breeze.

This series, and in particular this weekend, saw some new faces entering the fleet for the first time: Ross Nolan helming with his daughter Ellie crewing and Lucy Anderson swapping her Feva for the front of Jane Kearney’s GP14. Peter Todd of RNIYC and Craig Troughton are new to the fleet and are showing some great promise. GP14 stalwarts, Sam Street/Josh Lloyd and Conor Twohig/Matthew Cotter made the effort to travel from Dublin and have definitely increased the intensity at the pointy end of the fleet. A testament to the great racing during this series, four boats travelled from the West: Keith and Matteo Louden from Lough Foyle Yacht Club and three boats from Lough Erne Yacht Club: Michael and Emma Brines, Peter Brines and Charlie Valentine, and Brian Morrison sailing with local Steven Nelson.

Downwind racing at the 19-boat GP14 Spring Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Photo: Zac DalzellDownwind racing at the 19-boat GP14 Spring Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Photo: Zac Dalzell

The collective mix of age, experience, and personalities is what the GP14 is renowned for, and it is fantastic to see, especially so early in the season.

Following a general recall, the black flag was out for the remainder of the day. In Race 1, the fleet battled the oscillating wind and bands of pressure with the wind building to 7-10 knots. The fleet stayed very compact throughout the two lap windward/leeward course with plenty of place changing and great competitive racing. Ross Kearney and Daniel Nelson came in 1st, closely followed by Keith and Matteo Louden, with Adam and Emily Torrens in 3rd. Robbie Richardson, new to GP14 sailing Nathan Telford, came in a credible fourth.

There was plenty of shifty upwind work at the GP14 Spring Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Photo: Zac DalzellThere was plenty of shifty upwind work at the GP14 Spring Series at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Photo: Zac Dalzell

The wind had increased a little in race 2, now gusting 11 knots, which allowed some crews to stretch their legs. Again a very shifty beat followed by a patchy run saw plenty of place changing. The first leeward gate provided a spectacle for the race team watching from afar with a 10-boat pile-up, sailors gently asking for a room, or so they say, and huge gains and losses to be made. Ross Nolan and Ellie, using Ellie’s experience, dropped the spinnaker early and waited for a lovely gap to appear, then glided on in and around for a huge gain!

Ross and Daniel managed to stay out of trouble, and crossed in 1st place, with Sam and Josh coming in 2nd, Josh Porter and Sara Gowdy in 3rd place.

With the wind starting to drop for the third race, the fleet got away cleanly, apart from Jane and Lucy, who were black-flagged (not part of the training plan!).

Ross and Daniel had a tight battle with Sutton Dinghy Clubs Conor and Matty and East Down’s Patrick Hamilton and Hana Stolcova. Having stolen the lead up the second beat, Patrick and Hana, unfortunately, lost out at the windward mark rounding, with Ross and Daniel and Conor and Matty sneaking past to finish in that order.

The overall standings are listed below, with next Sunday being the final day of the series. Rumours of more Dublin-based boats set to make the journey up would jump the fleet over the 20-boat mark, which is excellent in the third season of the RNIYC GP14 Spring Series.

GP14 Spring Series 2024 at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Results.  Sailed: 11, Discards: 2, To count: 9, Entries: 18.GP14 Spring Series 2024 at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Results.  Sailed: 11, Discards: 2, To count: 9, Entries: 18

A results pdf is downloadable below

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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.

Published in GP14
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More than thirty boats hit the water for Week 2 of the post-Christmas Howth YC Dinghy Frostbite series on Sunday morning writes Conor Murphy, when they were met with perfect breezes of 10 knots with some gusts and lulls either side of it, combined with bright sunny skies and a fun-seeking tide switching direction halfway through the day's racing. Race Officer Ronan McDonnell of HYC got the racing underway on time, sending all fleets around windward-leeward courses for both races.

That said, the first attempt at an ILCA start fell foul to a general recall, thanks to both over-eager ILCAs in their growing fleet, and the initial flood tide pushing everyone over the start line. A U flag for subsequent ILCA starts ensured all were much better behaved.

With 2024 being their Golden Jubilee Year at Howth, it is expected the ILCA/Laser fleet will continue to increaseWith 2024 being their Golden Jubilee Year at Howth, it is expected the ILCA/Laser fleet will continue to increase

A museum of Dinghy Racing – GP 14 leader Alan Blay (Howth/Sutton) battling it out with Ryan Cairns (Clontarf) in the 1946 & 1938-originating IDRA 14A museum of Dinghy Racing – GP 14 leader Alan Blay (Howth/Sutton) battling it out with Ryan Cairns (Clontarf) in the 1946 & 1938-originating IDRA 14

The ILCA 7s had 10 sailors on the water, and competition was fierce all across the fleet, with every spot hard fought for. Rory Lynch of Baltimore SC took an early lead in Race 1 and maintained it around the 3 laps, however the remaining 2nd-6th place spots swapped hands multiple times throughout the 40 minute race.

The ILCA in its various forms continues to be the most numerous boat-type – Stan O’Rourke (left, of Malahide) showed why he leads the 4.7s by being up with clubmate Alex Deasy in his ILCA 6The ILCA in its various forms continues to be the most numerous boat-type – Stan O’Rourke (left, of Malahide) showed why he leads the 4.7s by being up with clubmate Alex Deasy in his ILCA 6

Conor Murphy (Howth) ultimately claimed 2nd, while Daragh Kelleher (Skerries) just pipped Dan O'Connell (Monkstown Bay) to take 3rd on the finish line. In Race 2, Dan O'Connell (sporting an interesting video rig on his transom) led from the first windward mark and extended his lead from there, followed by Rory Lynch and Conor Murphy. Rory Lynch leads the fleet in the series, but with 14 more races scheduled and the fleet growing, the leaderboards will no doubt see many changes before the end.

Carla Fegan (Howth) racing in the ILCA6 class.Carla Fegan (Howth) racing in the ILCA6 class

PY FLEET A MARITIME MUSEUM OF DINGHY RACING

The eclectic PY fleet saw yet another new addition this week in the form of the blue-sailed Enterprise, sailed by Kay Cornally of HYC. GP14s continue to dominate the podium places of the PY fleet, claiming 2 of 3 spots in each race. In Race 1, however, Daragh Sheridan's RS Aero of the home fleet claimed victory, closely followed by Sam Street's GP14 down from the Wicklow mountains at Blessington, and in third came Matthew Cotter of Sutton DC, helming The Wrong Trousers after taking a stepping backwards in the boat, as he’s usually crews for Conor Twohig.

Once upon a time, many of us raced Enterprise dinghies. Kay Cornally of Howth keeps the torch aloft, albeit in a glassfibre versionOnce upon a time, many of us raced Enterprise dinghies. Kay Cornally of Howth keeps the torch aloft, albeit in a glassfibre version

Continuing GP14 ding-dong between Sam Street of Blessington (left) and Matthew Cotter of SuttonContinuing GP14 ding-dong between Sam Street of Blessington (left) and Matthew Cotter of Sutton

In Race 2, the GP14s made their way to the front of the fleet, with HYC & Sutton's Alan Blay taking first, followed by the consistent Sam Street, and then Daragh Sheridan. The fleet continues to have a variety of other boats including B14, Melges 15 and IDRA 14 - time will tell which boat and sailors will master the variety of conditions that the series will throw at them over the nine week series, but currently Alan Blay & Hugh McNally's GP14 of Sutton & Howth leads the fleet with 3 points after counting 3 races.

Charlie Robertson’s RS Feva against the classic background of Ireland Eye in its winter coatCharlie Robertson’s RS Feva against the classic background of Ireland Eye in its winter coat

The ILCA 6s had a strong turnout, with eight boats on the water. Viktor Samoilovs (Malahide & Howth 1, 3), Tom Fox (Rush SC, 3,1) and Peter Hassett (Dublin Bay SC:2, 2) were the podium finishers in the two races, but each spot was closely ought for, with Ciara McMahon and Darragh Peelo fighting every inch of the way.

Tom Fox leads the fleet by one point over Viktor Samoilovs. In the ILCA 4s, Stan O'Rourke (Malahide & Howth) continued his run of form with back to back wins, followed by Connor O'Sullivan and Charlie Power in that order in each race. Stan leads the series with 3 points from 3 races counted.

How’s the local economy? Try counting the active tower cranes. Jeremy Beshoff and Declan McManus in the B14 speeding towards the re-development of Howth’s old Techrete site to become the new up-market Claremont Apartments.How’s the local economy? Try counting the active tower cranes. Jeremy Beshoff and Declan McManus in the B14 speeding towards the re-development of Howth’s old Techrete site to become the new up-market Claremont Apartments

Full results are available below, there are 7 weekends left in the series, followed by the annual Round the Island Race and prize-giving lunch in March 9th.

BRASS MONKEYS

The Cruiser-Racers, having poked their noses out into the ocean on New Year’s Day, are taking most of January off in order to allow their very varied personnel the time to go ski-ing or head down to South Africa to check out their vineyards and diamond mines, nevertheless we’re assured they’ll be resuming their Brass Monkeys series on January 28th to continue until March 2nd, and the entry list is still open.

Published in Howth YC

Those intrepid spirits who venture westward on the road from the Most Serene Republic of Howth through Sutton Cross, and on into the wilds of nearby Ireland, always used to look forward to the first glimmering glimpse of Sutton Creek and Dublin Bay on their left.

This comes with the long panorama of the Wicklow Hills blending into the Dublin Mountains beyond, book-ended by the distinctive peak of the Sugarloaf Mountain to the east, while westward the stopper is the double exclamation mark (“screamers” as we call them in the verbiage business) of the two Poolbeg Smokestacks. They smoke no longer, but sentimental Dubs won’t let them go, as they see them as essential to the scene, even if they did make mighty objections when their construction started in 1974

Whither, O splendid ship? Outward bound with all flowers set towards the Poolbeg Smokestacks. The Poolbeg Twins don’t make smoke any more, but Dubliners, having furiously objected when they were built in 1974, now object with equal fury to any plan to demolish them. Photo: W M NixonWhither, O splendid ship? Outward bound with all flowers set towards the Poolbeg Smokestacks. The Poolbeg Twins don’t make smoke any more, but Dubliners, having furiously objected when they were built in 1974, now object with equal fury to any plan to demolish them. Photo: W M Nixon

This up-lifting wide-screen vista appears as you emerge from behind the shoreside line of properties now known as Millionaires’ Row. It wasn’t always thus, as the location close along a southwest-facing shoreline made older properties very sad-looking indeed if maintenance slackened.

But since Rainfall Radar and its various accessories arrived, the Sutton Cross area has emerged as the driest place in all Ireland, something previously unknown when the only statistics came from official mechanical gauges in relatively rain-swept places like the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire.

THE DRYEST PLACE IN IRELAND

Sutton Cross - the Howth Peninsula’s isthmus or tombolo - is not Ireland’s sunniest place, for that’s still Wexford. But as news spread on the grapevine about scientific recognition of the lack of rain along Sutton’s south shore, the cute ones started buying up the properties, many of which were in the tired state of a house that’s been in one family for several generations.

Renovations and re-buildings got under way, while sensible folk created a wind-break of escallonia up and growing as soon as possible to keep the worst effects of the salty sou’westers at bay. On the road side, meanwhile, the appearance of wide gateways funneling into a solid hardwood automated gate confirmed the up-graded status.

 Vista for a lifetime. Even on a winter’s day of limited visibility, the Sutton-viewed panorama to the southwest of the skyline from the Sugarloaf to the Smokestacks evokes thoughts of “over the hills and far away.” Photo: W M Nixon Vista for a lifetime. Even on a winter’s day of limited visibility, the Sutton-viewed panorama to the southwest of the skyline from the Sugarloaf to the Smokestacks evokes thoughts of “over the hills and far away.” Photo: W M Nixon

As one who feels that the best houses are those that cannot be seen from a public road, I could not demur. But it did mean that the first glimpse of the bay and the mountains beyond as you put Millionare’s Row astern was even better appreciated. Until, that is, a distraction was introduced by some well-meaning souls who felt it needed the ornamentation of a herbaceous plot of brightly-coloured flowers, almost garish, in fact, and they’re all in a tightly packed display.

It’s reasonable enough as an idea. But when a retired GP 14 dinghy is used as the flower-pot, we enter a different word of distracted drivers and confused thinking. We’ve always had mixed thoughts about the widespread habit – not necessary just in coastal area – of using de-commissioned boats as flower beds. However, a GP 14 dinghy is something else altogether, for superficially she seemed in quite good shape, but any traces of a boat name or builder’s plate has been removed to ensure anonymity.

SCRAPPAGE FROM SUTTON DINGHY CLUB?

So everyone will assume that she was taken as scrap from the boat-park at Sutton Dinghy Club a mile or so along the coast. Thus the little boat’s fate seems all the more sad, for as you look nor’east across her, visible in the distance is Sutton DC with its dinghy park alive with masts flashing in the sun, its vibrant if distant presence emphasising the flowerbed boat’s completely de-commissioned state.

Yet what do we do with old boats that have gone past their useful years as seaworthy sailing vehicles? It’s maybe better that decisions such as seeking out a landfall site are postponed over days and weeks. After all, James Dwyer of Royal Cork YC’s wonderful classic 1976 Bruce Farr-designed Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble is now a successful and life-enhancing presence around Crosshaven.

Yet not so many years ago, she was in Greece and destined for an Athens land-fill, but fortunately the owner lacked that vital tool for action, the Round Tuit, and there was time for Swuzzlebubble to be saved by Mordy of Cowes.

 James Dwyer’s classic Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble of 1976 vintage is a life-enhancing presence at the Royal Cork YC in Crosshaven, yet only a few years ago she was saved from a landfill fate in Greece. Photo: Robert Bateman James Dwyer’s classic Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble of 1976 vintage is a life-enhancing presence at the Royal Cork YC in Crosshaven, yet only a few years ago she was saved from a landfill fate in Greece. Photo: Robert Bateman

But the problem with a GP14 is she’s “only a dinghy”. Larger craft lend themselves to more stately ends. Back in 1968 I was returning from Spain on a solo coastal cruise around South Brittany, and called into Camaret, which in those days was very busy traditional fishing port in which cruising yachts were just about tolerated.

These days, the situation is almost exactly reversed, as the fishermen have been removed to a nearby commercial purely fishing port, and Camaret trades for tourists and cruising boats on the charms of the characterful harbour they left behind.

But in 1968, it was the real McCoy, with the solemn tradition that the old Tunnymen – some of them still with much evidence of their sail-driven past – were not broken up, but rather all re-usable gear was removed, and they were given their final resting place in ancient dignity on a foreshore beside the harbour, and there boat anoraks like me could wander reverentially around, savouring the lines of some of the best working sailing hulls ever created.

The End Game. Retired Tunnymen were achieving a certain dignity in 1968 in their final resting place on the foreshore at Camaret harbour. Photo: W M NixonThe End Game. Retired Tunnymen were achieving a certain dignity in 1968 in their final resting place on the foreshore at Camaret harbour. Photo: W M Nixon

We can’t see that happening with an old GP 14, but nevertheless you’d be forgiven for thinking that a new life as a flower-bed is a fate worse than death. GP14 means General Purpose 14ft dinghy. But even that very positively-minded genius Teddy Haylock, the longtime ideas-laden Editor of Yachting World magazine who got Jack Holt to make the GP 14 the corner-stone YW’s growing list of Build-Her-Yourself in 1949, can scarcely have imagined it would become a red-hot racing class with worldwide appeal.

GP? DOES IT MEAN GIANT PLANT-POT?

Thus it’s unlikely that you could persuade the many hundreds – thousands even – who continue to think that the GP14 is the bee’s knees to even think it’s slightly amusing if you suggested that GP can also be the anagram for Giant Plant-pot.

Nevertheless, it would surprise few of us if someone, temporarily traffic-jammed beside the flower-pot GP14 as kids pour out of the local high school, began to bethink to themselves of restoring it to full sailing condition, despite the fact that they wouldn’t have noticed it at all in its deteriorating state in the dinghy park.

Either way, can you imagine a flower-filled Shannon One Design at the roadside to welcome you to Athlone? Or a similarly-arrayed Water Wag in the approaches to Dun Laoghaire?

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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

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The first of the annual GP14 Hot Toddy events listed in the class calendar will be held this weekend (30th September -1st October) at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough.

The event originates at East Antrim Boat Club on Larne Lough, but the meet is now hosted by various sailing clubs throughout Ireland.

This year, the organisers are expecting around 30 GP14s. Apart from the Royal North home fleet, visitors are expected from Sutton, Blessington, Howth, Moville, Lough Erne, and Strangford Lough, and at least one boat is making the trip from England.

This will be a highly competitive fleet, with some of the resident boats on home waters expected to do well. However, given the quality of the visitors attending, they will have a tough task.

Six races are scheduled, with three races each day, and the current weather forecast is favourable for both days. Bushmills sponsor the event.

Published in GP14

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

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With seven top-two finishes (and four race wins) from eight races sailed, Ger Owens & Mel Morris took the GP14 National dinghy title in style in a tricky light air championship on Dublin Bay.

Three races on Friday were followed by another three races on Saturday and two on Sunday for the 37-boat fleet.

There were difficult conditions to start with, as Dublin Bay was flat calm. PRO Jim Lambkin kept the fleet ashore under AP for 30 minutes beyond planned start times on the first two days. However, the breeze filled in along the Sutton and Red Rock shore, enabling racing to start....tides and the lack of water in Sutton Creek were also an added consideration as racing extended past 5 pm on Friday. Ger Owens & Mel Morris, with a bullet and two seconds, led Race 1 winners Jane Kearney & Rebekkah O' Tiarnaigh into Day 2 with, Sean Craig & Stephen Boyle, Robert Dickson & Adrian Lee, Ross Kearny & Daniel Nelson and Race 2 winners Chris Bateman & Jame O'Dwyer not too far back in the largest fleet of the year.

Three light air races on Friday were followed by another three races on Saturday and two on Sunday for the 37-boat GP14 Championship fleetThree light air races on Friday were followed by another three races on Saturday and two on Sunday for the 37-boat GP14 Championship fleet

Friday's racing was closely contested by 7 or 8 boats, but ultimately, Ger & Mel taking two bullets from the three races leaves them in an almost unbeatable position. The other podium spots are all to play for, with Ruan & Charlotte O'Tiarnaigh just ahead of Robert Dickson & Adrian Lee, with Race 5 winners Sean Craig & Stephen Boyle in 4th.

Two more races on Sunday allowed a second discard that altered positions in all fleets and on the podium aside from the overall winners.

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Niall Henry and Ossian Geraghty from Sligo Yacht Club emerged as the 2023 GP14 Summer Open champions, held at Rush Sailing Club on August 19-20.

The event saw a strong turnout from sailors across the country, including a notable presence from the Blessington Sailing Club. The first day of racing had to be cancelled due to the remnants of storm Betty, but the second day saw two races for both the Youth Championship and the Summer Open.

In the Youths category, last year's runner-up Sam Street and Josh Lloyd from Blessington Sailing Club took the gun in the first race, with local sailor Riaghan Boardman and former Youth champion Colman Grimes coming in second. Max Cully and Tighe Wardell led around the windward mark in the second race but capsized on the last reach, allowing Street and Lloyd to finish first and win the Youth (U22) title. Cully and Wardell took the U19 Championship, while Boardman finished third and took the U16 Championship.

The GP14s racing at Rush Sailing Club with Lambay Island in the background The GP14s racing at Rush Sailing Club with Lambay Island in the background 

Moving on to the Summer Open, strong tides and a crowded start line made for some messy starts at the Committee boat. In both races, Alan Blay and Hugh McNally from Sutton Dinghy Club took two race wins but were disqualified for two OCSs. This left the door open for Niall Henry and Ossian Geraghty to take the championship, with Ger Owens and Mel Morris coming in second. Max and Tighe Wardell, who had a strong performance in the Youths, finished fourth overall in the Summer Open.

Downwind sailing at Rush Sailing Club in the GP14 Summer Open eventDownwind sailing at Rush Sailing Club in the GP14 Summer Open event

The Rush Sailing Club and event organiser Alan Butterly were praised for running a great event despite the challenges posed by the weather.

GP14 Summer Open Champions Niall Henry and Ossian Geraghty, pictured centre, with Andy Johnson of the GP14 Class (left) and Rush Sailing Club event organiser Alan ButterlyGP14 Summer Open Champions Niall Henry and Ossian Geraghty, pictured centre, with Andy Johnson of the GP14 Class (left) and Rush Sailing Club event organiser Alan Butterly

GP14 Summer Open Youth Champions Sam Street and Josh Lloyd GP14 Summer Open Youth Champions Sam Street and Josh Lloyd 

GP14 Summer Open U19 Champions Max Cully and Tighe Wardell GP14 Summer Open U19 Champions Max Cully and Tighe Wardell 

GP14 Summer Open U16 Champion Riaghan BoardmanGP14 Summer Open U16 Champion Riaghan Boardman

The GP14 Championship of Ireland kicks off on September 1-3 at Sutton Dinghy Club, and a fleet of 35 boats is expected.

Results below and youth results here

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The 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta attracted 25 GP14s. On Day 1, with big winds forecast, a 24-boat fleet made their way out to the Salthill racecourse with some trepidation. The fact they got three races completed says much for their patience and boat handling, as a 90-minute wait between Race 1 and Race 2 with gusts hitting 25 knots couldn't have been comfortable. But three races were sailed in up to 20+ knots making for a very lively first day of the GP14 Leinster Championships, which was being held as part of VDLR. There were three different race winners, indicative of the conditions and how open this Leinster Championship would turn out.

Sam Wray, with Luke Henderson, took his first race win in a GP14 Ireland Championship event. Race 2 went to Alan Blay & Hugh McNally, with Ger Owens & Mel Morris taking race 3. Greystones Rob Lee was unlucky; after posting a 3rd and a 6th, he crossed first in race three only to find himself OCS.

Sutton Dinghy Club Alan Blay & Hugh McNally led the fleet by a point after the first day of the GP14 Leinster Championships at Volvo Dun Laoghaire RegattaSutton Dinghy Club Alan Blay & Hugh McNally led the fleet by a point after the first day of the GP14 Leinster Championships at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Michael Chester

At the end of Day 1, Sutton Dinghy Club Alan Blay & Hugh McNally led the fleet by a point from Ger Owens & Mel Morris, with another Sutton boat Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter in 3rd only one point further back. Alan and Hugh counted a win in Race 2, along with a 2nd and a 4th, while Conor & Matthew had a 5th and a pair of 2nds.

Sam Street and Josh Lloyd Race earned a race win at the GP14 Leinsters at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Michael ChesterSam Street and Josh Lloyd Race earned a race win at the GP14 Leinsters at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Michael Chester

Day 2 dawned; conditions were far more comfortable for the fleet but still saw plenty of breeze. Race 4 saw the fleet contending with 16 knots gusting 23+ at times but this didn't stop the emerging Youth coming through with Sam Street & Josh Llyod from Blessington, who only had their first Championship race win at the Ulsters in Larne a few weeks ago taken the bullet. Alan Blay & Hugh McNally taking a 4th, Ger Owens & Mel Morris in 5th and Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter taking 3rd, that will move them up to 5th behind Sam Wray. Rob Lee showed his form finishing 2nd and would move into contention after discards kick in.

Sutton's Conor Twohig and Matthew CotterSutton's Conor Twohig and Matthew Cotter go downwind at the GP14 Leinsters at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Michael Chester

Race 5 saw Ger Owens & Mel Morris take the bullet to leap into 1st on countback from Sutton Dinghy Club Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter who posted a 2nd and wre having a blinder. 3rd went to Paddy O' Connor who looks like he is finding his feet after rejoing the fleet with a new boat this year. Overnight leader Alan Blay & Hugh McNally lay 3rd overall after another consistent 4th place. Keith & Matteo Louden took 5th with Hugh Gill & Richard Street 6th.

The offshore breeze on the VDLR Salthill racecourse meant conditions could be very manageable for the GP14s (above) or...The gusty offshore breeze on the VDLR Salthill racecourse meant conditions could be very manageable for the GP14s (as above) or...Photo: Michael ChesterThe offshore breeze on the VDLR Salthill racecourse meant conditions could be very manageable for the GP14s....flat out fast downwind...or....Photo: Michael Chester...or just a little too much to handle at times....Photo: Michael Chester... just a little too much at times....Photo: Michael Chester

Race 6 and the final race of Day 2 ended with a 3 way tie at the top with Ger Owens & Mel Morris, Alan Blay & Hugh McNally and Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter all on 14 points. On a sad day for Sligo Yacht Club, with the passing of GP14 legend Gus Henry, Sligos Sam Wray & Luke Henderson took their 2nd victory of the event ahead of Movilles John & Donal McGuinness with Sutton Dinghy Club boats, Alan Blay & Hugh McNally in 3rd and Hugh Gill & Richard Street 4th. Lough Foyle Yacht Club James Peter Hockley & Alan Thompson racing for the first time this season were 5th. Condition were brisk with big gusts but also saw the fleet fall foul to big shifts in the wind and some big holes. With 2 more race to finish on Sunday this Leinster Championship was still up for grabs with discards likely to be key.

The GP14 Leinsters was sailed on the VDLR Salthill racecourse in the west of Dublin Bay Photo: Michael Chester(Above and below) The GP14 Leinsters was sailed on the VDLR Salthill racecourse in the west of Dublin Bay Photo: Michael ChesterThe GP14 Leinsters was sailed on the VDLR Salthill racecourse in the west of Dublin Bay Photo: Michael Chester

Race 7 on the Sunday started in pouring rain down but with a nice SSE 14 knots wind gusting low 20s. The race saw the 3 way tie protagonists take the top 3 spots with Ger Owens & Mel Morris taking the gun. Alan Blay & Hugh McNally were 2nd and Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter were 3rd. Movilles John & Donal McGuinness were 4th with Hugh Gill & Richard Street 4th. It was now all down to the last race with 1 point separting the leaders. 

Race 8 and the final race of the Regatta Champions was won by Rob Lee with John & Donal McGuinness 2nd. A 3rd place for Ger Owens & Mel Morris ahead of Alan Blay & Hugh McNally in third was enough to secure the Volvo DL Regatta and Leinster Championship for Ger & Mel their 3rd Leinsters in a row. This was one that went to the very last with Ger & Mel only overhauling Alan & Hugh on the last leg to give them victory.

Sutton Dinghy Clubs Alan Blay & Hugh McNally were 2nd overall with fellow Club crew Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter securing 3rd after a superb event.

Another great Volvo DL Regatta for the GP14 Ireland fleet saw the Classes emerging Youth continue to take race wins in Championship events. The event saw GP14 boats travel from across the country with crews from Tralee and Cullaun in Munster, Larne, Lough Foyle, Moville and Newtownards in Ulster, Sligo in the West in addition to 'local' boats from Greystones, Dun Laoghaire, Sutton and Skerries. Some new boats and returning GP14 stalwarts in attendance all made for a great weekend. The big winds also made for a change as its a long time since we had a full days with strong breeze.

Ger Owens and Mel Morris, Race 4 and overall winners of the GP14 Leinsters at Volvo Dun Laoghaire RegattaGer Owens and Mel Morris, Race 4 and overall winners of the GP14 Leinsters at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

Alan Blay and Hugh McNally Race 2 winners of the GP14 Leinsters at Volvo Dun Laoghaire RegattaAlan Blay and Hugh McNally Race 2 winners of the GP14 Leinsters at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

Sam Street and Josh Lloyd Race winners in the GP14 Leinsters at Volvo Dun Laoghaire RegattaSam Street and Josh Lloyd Race winners in the GP14 Leinsters at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

Sam Wray and Luke Henderson Race 1 winners in the GP14 Leinsters at Volvo Dun Laoghaire RegattaSam Wray and Luke Henderson Race 1 winners in the GP14 Leinsters at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

A big shout out to Blessington's Richard Street, who, having endured a very hard day's racing on Friday, jetted back to Blessington for some fibreglass and tools and then worked well into the night to make sure that Jennifer & Laras Newtownaeds boat Boatzart Blues could take to the water after being majorly holed during Friday's racing.

Congratulations to other GP14 sailors competing in other fleets, with Shane MacCarthy to the fore in Flying Fifteen and Josh Porter, Adrian Lee and Ossian Geraghty taking 1st and 2nd in the Fireballs.

Next up, there will be a number of the GP14 fleet heading to Looe for the British GP14 Nationals 5-11 August, including Curly Morris, Alan Blay & Hugh McNally, Conor Twohig & Mathew Cotter, Hugh Gill & Richard Street and Ross & Jame Kearney.

The next GP14 Ireland Class event is the Summer Open & Youth Championship in Rush on 19/20 August.

Published in Volvo Regatta
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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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