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The final GP14 meeting of the season, the “Hot Toddy” took place on 19/20 October in the beautiful setting at Lough Erne Yacht Club writes Katie Dwyer.

As Afloat previously reported, conscious of the interest in the rugby world cup quarter-final, organisers delayed the Saturday start to 13:30 with a big screen in the club for sailors to watch Ireland v New Zealand. Sadly, the rugby result was not in our favour, but spirits weren’t dampened, and sailors eagerly took to the water. With 33 boats, it was the largest turnout of the year.

Lough Erne delivered some very challenging yet enjoyable sailing conditions over the two days. The wind ranged from 5- 20 knots and was shifty throughout with no distinct patterns. As a result, all sailors were kept on their toes with positions consistently changing throughout the races. Race Officer Mickey McCaldin and his team ran a full series of six races over the two days, and kept things moving promptly to avoid too much downtime for the sailors in the chilly October breeze.

"Lough Erne delivered some very challenging yet enjoyable sailing conditions over the two days"

Well deserved “Hot Toddies” were enjoyed by sailors on returning ashore, followed by an evening of food, fun and frolics at the yacht club which was very well attended.

Overnight leaders with three race wins and showing an enviable level of boat speed were Shane McCarthy (GSC) and his very capable substitute crew, Ger Owens. Sligo Yacht Clubs Niall Henry and Ossian Geraghty were in second, with Lough Foyle Yacht Clubs Gareth Gallagher and Ollie Goodhead in third and also leading the silver fleet. Blessington Sailing Club's Sam Street led the bronze fleet.

We took to the water on Sunday for an earlier than usual start for Race 4 at 10:30. The breeze was up and as shifty as the previous day. Shane and Ger won race 4 and 5 and with the event win in the bag, headed for shore. It provided an opportunity for a new race winner which was duly taken by Youghal Sailing Clubs Adrian Lee and Richard Street who had a comfortable lead throughout the race.

Winners of the Hot Toddy were Shane McCarthy and Ger Owens, with five race wins. Over the six races, second and third places were shared across eight different boats, demonstrating the high level of competition in the fleet. With Shane and Ger clear winners, it was down to consistency and how discards came into play to determine the results within the chasing pack. Finishing in second were Niall Henry and Ossian Geraghty, with Sutton Dinghy Club Katie Dwyer and Michelle Rowley in third.

Winners of the silver fleet were Garreth Gallagher and Ollie Goodhead, finishing a solid fourth overall. In second place, Adrian Lee and Richard Street, followed by Blessingtons Simon Cully and Libby Tierney in third.

Top two in the bronze fleet were Blessingtons Sailing Clubs Sam Street and Tiarnan Brown, followed by Matthew Street and Rhian O’Hiblin in second with Mullingar Sailing Clubs Michael Collender and Brian Walker in third.

A special thanks must go to LEYC JP and Carolyn McCaldin and all the volunteers, who organised and ran a super event. It was also JP and Carolyns’ last outing in a GP for a while, with Brendan Brogan stepping in to take up the front seat with JP in 2020.

The fleet will return to Lough Erne in July 2020 for the Irish Nationals, which will be the last event before the Worlds in Skerries.

Download results below

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The last event of the GP14 calendar saw the fleet returning to Lough Erne Yacht Club this weekend. And what a fleet. 33 boats turned up on the start line for what is turning into a great event.

While Dublin hid from the rain and the cold wind yesterday, the lake was basked in some beautiful sunshine and a challenging 5 to 20-knot breeze. But the fleet had 3 great races with another 3 today.

Shane MacCarthy found an unusual crew today with Ger Owens stepping to the crew slot at the last minute. His own crew Mel Morris was unavailable. 3 races wins ensued but behind them there was some close racing. On their first event and race back this season, Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley from Sutton Dinghy Club took a 2nd and finished the day in 5th of 33. In second going into today's racing is Niall Henry & Oisin Geraghty (Sligo) with Gareth Gallagher in 3rd. Local event organisers JP & Carolyn McCaldin lie in 4th.

The event is also the final event in the GP14 Leagues with some place still to play for. A great turnout for the event will also improve what are very encouraging figures over the season. Average numbers each event have held up and across the season there have been 65+ different helms take part. 20 each in Gold & Silver and 25 in Bronze which includes a good sprinkling of Youth. Let hope today's sees some more great sailing conditions. The end augurs well for next season with the GP14 World's coming to Skerries next July.

Published in GP14
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The final event of the Irish GP14 year sees the national fleet travel to Lough Erne Yacht Club this weekend.

The closing event of 2019 follows Shane MacCarthy & Damien Bracken's emphatic win of August's National Championships at Skerries Sailing Club.

Its been a couple of years since the GP14s visited Enniskillen but it has always been a great venue for both the racing and the social aspect. 

Gp14 dinghy racing 2County Donegal GP14 brothers Donal (left) and John McGuinness from Moville will compete this weekend on Lough Erne Photo: Afloat

Hoping to round out the season on a high are Peter and Stephen Boyle, the top-ranked GP14 Irish pair who featured prominently this season at the UK National Championships raced also in August. The north Dublin duo were part of a Sutton Dinghy Club crew that came home with a haul of trophies from Abersoch in North Wales.

This weekend's 'Hot Toddy' is the final practice of 2019 before next year's 2020 Worlds at Skerries.

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The 2019 Irish GP 14 Nationals at Skerries in breezy August weather defied its title by having a truly international turnout, but then it was seen as a dress rehearsal for next year’s GP 14 Worlds at the same venue. The competition was ferocious, with the lineup reading like a Who’s Who of top GP 14 sailors. However, former Irish champion Shane McCarthy of Greystones Sailing Club teamed up with his old crewmate Damien Bracken, and they pulled the overall win out of the fire of red-hot racing to make them worthy winners of our dinghy title for August 2019.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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A very windy weekend saw the 3:rock 2019 GP14 Championship of Ireland restricted to 5 races after Sunday racing was blown out. Liam Dineen PRO had no choice yesterday morning but to call a halt with a steady 20+ and regular gusts over 28kts writes Andy Johnston.

With strong wind forecast for Sat and Sun, Liam amended SI to get 3 races in on Friday.

With Worlds set for Skerries in 2020, the event included gate starts to help prepare both the fleet and race management team. A couple of practice gate starts were the order of the day before the Championship got under way.

Shane MacCarthy was back in the fleet and reunited with Damien Bracken after a summer campaigning a Solo in the UK. We also saw last year's Champion Ross Kearney (RNIYC) team up with Andy Thompson.

Recently crowned UK National Champion Sam Watson was across and teamed up with Lough Foyle James Peter Hockley. South Staffs Jane Kearney, traded her crew position to take the tiller with new crew Ollie Goodhead. Jane crewed for husband Ross in Sligo last year when the pair took the Championship.

Also in the mix was multiple Championship winners Tim Corcoran & Brendan Brogan (Sligo SC) . Tim is now living in Spain but Skerries holds good memories as he was the Champion last time event was held here 2016.

RCYC Alex Barr & Richard Leonard have made a big impact since joing the fleet this season and would be expected to be in the mix come Sunday. To highlight the strength of the Class at the moment, the Gold fleet also included former Irish Champions John & Donal McGuinness as well as Keith Louden & Alan Thompson and Alan Blay & Michelle Rowley all race winners at this level.

With plenty of wind forecast, it would be interesting to see if new Gold fleet member Peter Boyle and dad Stephen could continue their good form from the previous weeks UK Nationals where 17yr Peter took a very credible 7th place overall.

The first 2 races on Friday were very tight with plenty of windshift and very close racing with Shane MacCarthy and Tim Corcoran taking the victories. Race 3 saw wind pick up considerably and some significant wind shift saw Youghal Adrian Lee & Ed Coyne make the most of it and get well clear to take his first ever Nationals race win.

With 3 different race winners and such close racing, the leader board saw Shane MacCarthy lead from Jane Kearney who had 3 consistent races by virtue of the race win on 12pts. Tim Corcoran was in 3rd with Ross Kearney 4th both on 16pts, Alex Barry 5th, Peter Boyle 6th and Sam Watson in 7th.

It was great to see Curly Morris back on the water again after his hip operation. The newly elected International Class President raced the first 2 races on Friday, finishing 10th in race 2 to earn the right to be pathfinder for race 3. He duly got the race off and running and peeled off to a well-deserved rest ashore.

Saturday dawned and with it a lot more wind. Jack Roy, President of Irish Sailing paid a visit and joined Liam Dineen on Committee boat for a couple of races. At Friday nights GP14 Class AGM held in Skerries Sailing Club it was formally announced Jack will be IRO for 2020 GP14 Worlds next year.

Liam and his safety boats headed out to see the conditions and requested that the fleet stay ashore. The delay was only about 45min and with a little trepidation, the fleet eventually launched with the breeze a steady 18kts with gust to 22kts.

While 3 races were planned, Liam and his team did very well to get 2 races in before the conditions just became a little too much.

Ross Kearney pushed himself into contention and ahead of his wife Jame with a 3 and a bullet. Shane MacCarthy, however, strengthened his lead with a 1, 2. Sutton Dinghy Club's Peter Boyle revelled in the conditions to jump into 4th after a 2nd and a 6th. It could have been even better save a capsize on last mark to drop to 6th from 3rd.

The second race in particular saw the fleet hit with strong gusts with many of the fleet deciding not to fly spinnakers on the reaches. There were plenty of capsizes and a handful of retirals but no damage sustained.

With the wind now consistently at 22kts and huge gusts nearing 30kts snd not looking likely to abate, the PRO sent the fleet in.

McCarthyWinners Damien Bracken (left) and Shane MacCarthy

With Sunday blown out, that ultimately proved to be the event done and dusted. With discard applied, Shane's results had put him 4pts clear of the improving Ross Kearney. That last mark capsize ultimately proved costly for Peter Boyle who had to settle for 4th. However, his fine showing meant he took 3rd Irish and his first Irish Sailing (bronze) medal. Tim (5th), Sam (6th) and Alex (7th) all finished on 21pts.

Silver Fleet was won by South Staffs Jane Kearney & Ollie Goodhead with Sutton Dinghy Clubs David Johnston & Callum Maher 2nd and Youghal Adrian Lee & Ed Coyne 3rd.

Youghal Jack Buttimer crewed by Matthew Street (Blessington) took the Bronze Fleet.

The Masters Trophies were won by John McGuinness (over 50) and Alistair Duffin (over 60).

As promotion for the 2020 GP14 Worlds, there was a raffle on Sunday for FREE ENTR, with all those entering by midnight Sat 17th getting into the draw. With I believe 65 entries now registered the winner of the FREE Entry was Greystones Youth Ciaran Keogh.

A great event run by Skerries and super preparation for 2020 Worlds included loads of coffee and scones before racing, a smashing BBQ on Saturday night and rounded off with trays of sandwiches for prizegiving.

Commodore Kathryn Collins, GP14 Class President David Cooke and Doire Shiels Skerries Sailing Secretary presided over the prizegiving.

Published in GP14
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Peter and Stephen Boyle, the top ranked GP14 Irish pair are back in action on home waters this weekend when the Championship of Ireland kicks off this Friday in Skerries Sailing Club. This will be the first year where the class will race a Friday, Saturday and Sunday format. The championships will feature running gate starts over the course of the weekend as practice for next years 2020 Worlds in Skerries.

This event follows on from the GP14 Leinsters which were held as part of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta almost a month ago. The GP14 were out in force in Dun Laoghaire and with 32 boats on the water, we were the 2nd largest fleet represented at the Regatta. The Class Prize-giving for the GP14 Leinsters will take place in Skerries this weekend.

As Afloat reported previously, for 10 Irish crews, however, last week saw them travel across for the GP14 UK Nationals sailed in Abersoch. A very windy regatta was won by a regular visitor to Irish shores Sam Watson crewed by East Antrim's Andy Thompson. This followed on from their GP14 Leinsters success. The pair will be back in Skerries this week. Ross Kearney (RNIYC) but based in the UK will also be across to defend his title won last year in Sligo. See below to see how the Irish crews fared across in Abersoch.

Published in GP14
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Sutton Dinghy Club took a haul of awards at last night's GP14 UK National Championships prizegiving in Abersoch including winners of the Club Trophy and with Peter and Stephen Boyle taking quite a few - seventh overall, Top Youth Helm, the Top Family trophy and first in Silver Fleet. Also, David Johnston and Collie Delaney were winners of the Bronze Fleet.

Andy Tompson GP14East Antrim Boat Club's Andy Thompson (left) and Sam Watson won the GP14 National Championship Trophy

Sam Watson and East Antrim Boat Club's Andy Thompson won the GP14 National Championship Trophy. The winners also confirmed they will be across in a fortnight for the Championship of Ireland to be held in Skerries, the venue for 2020 World Championships. Ross Kearney who finished fourth will be back over to defend his crown won last year in Sligo.

Entry is now open for the 2020 Worlds with 25 confirmed entries already received.

Published in GP14
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While there was again an early start planned at the GP14 UK National Championships at Abersoch with the First Start Gun scheduled for 10:30, the wind had other ideas and the fleet was kept ashore. Racing cannot start unless there is a minimum of 6kts. 

Report by Sutton Dinghy Club competitor David Johnston

Eventually, a bit of breeze filled in and the PRO called for a launch of the fleet. Ourselves and Club mates Peter Boyle started about 1/4 way down line from the committee boat, knock came so we tacked off to the right-hand side. We opted for pace rather than height and then another knock came at the layline so we tacked. We slightly overlayed it but Peter & Stephen got it spot on and rounded 4th, Mike Senior 5th with us in 6th. We had been 3rd at the weather mark in one race earlier in the week but got squeezed on to the mark and had to do turns. This was quite enjoyable. My new crew Collie in only his second event was a bit confused.

The first reach was very low, Jim Hunt got ahead of us, Mike Seniors boat speed was very good and got ahead of Peter, but no one else. There was a big gap between ourselves and next pack. Back upwind ourselves and Peter and Jim Hunt went back outright, looking good. Tacked back and saw Mike had taken the lead through shifts and boat handling. He was first around the weather before wind shut down and race canned.

Gutted but great to be up the front of the fleet for once this week after a few very very hard days at the office. I am sure our Club mates Peter & Stephen would have loved to get a finish and consolidate a top 10 spot. Weather looks iffy for tomorrow so it may all remain as is.

Results are here

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After two second place finishes yesterday, Sam Watson and Andy Thompson are still holding first place overall at the GP14 UK Nationals in Abersoch North Wales writes Andy Johnson. Jim Hunt and Liz Senior are in second, however conditions today suited Mike Senior & Chris White, who had a tremendous day taking a second and two race wins.

There was another good day for young Peter Boyle from Sutton Dinghy Club of Dublin Bay as he competes at the top end of the UK GP14 fleet.

Racing featured a start rather than gate start and after a poor first beat, Boyle recovered well to get into the teens. A superb fifth in Race four and consistency in Race 5 & 6 see them consolidate their seventh place going into the last three races. Another SDC crew Hugh Gill & young Joe Doherty had good first race finishing with an 11 and got great position at the pin end for a line start and despite not having a watch onboard found themselves in top two around weather mark and and sailed well to take 10th which meant they had honour of being pathfinder for gate start in last race of the day. As pathfinder, there was no shift to provide any great advantage but Hugh and Joe managed to get home in 17th and jump up to 22nd overall.

Speaking with Stephen Boyle, Peter's father and crew earlier evening he gave a short update on their day.

"With racing blown out yesterday, today was an early start at 10:30 and 3 races on the cards. The Race Officer set the course down towards Pwllheli end of the bay, with wind force 5 ish blowing directly from Abersoch and tide due to change from flood to ebb at 1300 the beats saw a regular shift pattern with right-hand side towards the land zone of compression slightly favoured and more shifty throughout the day. Race 1 gate start got a good start first 1/3 of the gate and hammered up left-hand side, took a few shifts to work right but those boats who worked right early towards the land were favoured with Mike Senior taking the lead at the weather mark, we were third. Triangle sausage triangle was the course but the RO finished it after the sausage. We clocked a 5th and fairly happy with speed and boat handling.

Race2 we got caught out a little as the RO opted for triangle sausage triangle with a line start for a bit of variety but recovered well to get into the teens.
Port and towards the sea favoured and Hugh Gill took the pin after some jockeying, despite not having the time which was gratefully overheard from a neighbouring boat. They worked left initially and then took a shift to work back right towards the beach arriving first at weather mark to Mike Senior in second. They slipped back a bit on the corners due to slicker boat handling by more practiced crews but finished a very creditable 10th.

Race 3 it was back to gates with the tide now in full ebb the tactical decision was left for tide or right for shifts and more breeze in confession zone by the land. We opted to start first 1/3 in the gate and got a cracker with Sam Watson immediately to weather. After a few minutes, they couldn't live with us and tacked to port but were happy to see Mike Senior and pathfinder Hugh Gill still with reach. We went far left for the tide two tacking it and raced in on port layline with John Hayes one boat length ahead and to leeward. The boats that went right hooked into shifts and boat sides arrived simultaneously with Hayes opting to try his luck at weather mark inside three lengths only to suffer turns. We bailed out opting to duck but the tiller wrapped on the horse saw us charge downwind on port at onrushing starboard tack parade moving from 3rd to late teens in less than a minute. Three triangles and good speed on the beats pulled us back to 13th by the finish.

Overall a great day's sport saw the fleet in good form enjoying the post-race beers on a sunny beach in Abersoch"

Results here

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Racing today at the GP14 UK National Championships at Abersoch in North Wales has been postponed due to strong winds.

Southwest winds are gusting to over 35 knots at the South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club venue.

Races 4,5 and 6 for the 56-boat fleet are rescheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday 7th August.

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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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