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#gp14 – The GP14 Leinster's hosted by Mullingar SC on lovely Lough Owel in Co. Westmeath had a great entry of 36 boats from 15 clubs, from Moville in Donegal to Youghal in Cork writes Norman Lee. The tide was in so parking spots were at a premium on Saturday morning when we all rocked up but that meant deeper water for sailing thanks to the rain gods.

Saturday's 3 races in strong gusty winds had 3 different winners from different clubs. The first went to John/Donal Mc Guinness of Donegal the second to Shane Mc Carthy/Damian Bracken of Wicklow and the third to Niall Henry /Ossian Geraghty of Sligo. Large Olympic triangle courses mixed tough tacticle beats with fast planeing reaches and tactical runs and places changed regularly through the fleet with Bronze, Silver and Gold boats mixing it up.

Satisfied and tired after our exertions we all retired to the Park Hotel for a 5 star BBQ and to watch Leinster scrape by Ulster and witness the launch of a great new book on the history of MSC. There was a good band on too but it didn't get many takers from the tired legged sailors discussing the days fun.

Sunday dawned damp and dismal but it dried and the wind picked up as we all went afloat.

Three good light and tactical races were completed with interesting port biased starts and big shifts to catch out the unwary. 2 new winners popped up in search of the trophy, Paddy O Connor/ Colm O Flaherty of Sligo grabbed the first convincingly followed by Ger Owens/Melanie Morris of Dublin and Belfast taking the next 2 seeming to put them in contention but they and others got tripped by the black flag allowing the first race winners, the McGuinness brothers from Moville to be crowned Leinster Champions with their high 15.75 tally showing the competitive nature of the fleet.

GP14Leinstersoverall winners

Donal (left) and John McGuinness (centre) receive their Leinster prizes from the Mullingar Sailing Club Commodore

Tough competition in the Silver fleet say Rob Lee/ Troy Dmc NAmara of Greystones in 19 yr old 13403 triumph over Simon Cully / Libby Tierney of Blessingtonin 0 yr old 14138 - they finished a creditable 7th and 11th overall.

Local man returned fro Canada Andy Van beck won the tussle for Bronze from newbies Simon/ Rebecca Jefferys of East Down and Adrian Lee Arne Edward Coyne of Youghal.

This was a great warm up for tihe Irish fleet in preparation for the Worlds in Strangford Lough in August – roll on the Ulsters in June and the Nationals in July.

Additional reportage from GP14 class:

The Leinster Championships had an early start this year but this didn't put off enthusiasm with 36 boats showing up in Mullingar to contest in the breezy conditions. At the briefing we had a minutes silence to remember Graham Elmes,a life-long sailor and a good friend of many in the fleet who very sadly passed away earlier in the week.

Beautiful sunshine with a solid force 4 gusting 5 made for very exciting sailing and Shane Mac Carthy & Damian Bracken showed their class by taking the opener followed by Sutton pair Alan Blay & David Johnston in second and Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty in their new boat in third.

The second race was won by Niall & Ossian with the McGuinness brothers in second and Shane & Damian in third. The McGuinnesses then won the third race after a tussle up the last leg to beat Shane & Damian with Niall & Ossian in third.

Things were fairly tight after the breezy first day with the 3 boats very tight on points but Shane & Damian had a small advantage, thanks in no small part to 24 months of year round training and dieting. Keith Louden & Alan Thompson were also rumoured to be considering giving up the drink in preparation for the Worlds after watching their performance. Niall & Ossian will also have been happy to put gear failure in Swords behind them and show a real turn of pace in their new boat. As always in Mullingar there was a great social aspect with everyone back to the town and a great bar-b-que with very solid portions appreciated by all.

The following day we all awoke to rain and light winds, a complete contrast to the day before.

This was the day for Ger & Melanie to shine and we all knew it and they didn't disappoint. They had been carrying 2 fourths and a DNF from the windy day and had a lot of ground to make up. The first race had a general recall and subsequent black flag which made the start tense. Paddy O'Connor under instruction from crew Colm O'Flaherty got the favoured pin and then got a shift on the left to get away and won the race from Ger & Melanie and Keith Lauden & Alan Thompson (light wind specialists). The next race was won very easily by Ger & Melanie with Alan & David in second and Colman Grimes & David Lappin in third. Ger & Melanie cruised home in the last also with blistering speed followed again by Alan & David and with the McGuinness brothers in third and Rob Lee & Troy McNamara from the silver fleet in fourth

As we went ashore it was generally considered that Ger &Melanie had done enough as all 3 first day leaders had tripped up at various stages in the light conditions but there was a surprise in store. When the results were posted it showed a black flag DSQ for them and with the first day retiral to count, this took them out of the reckoning.

In the end the trophy went back to the sailors from Donegal in their new boat with Shane & Damian in second and Paddy & Colm in third

Rob Lee & Troy McNamara took the silver fleet with Simon Cully & Libby Tierney in second (despite very thin jib sheets) and Grahame & Rebecca Farrington in third. Andy Vanbeck honoured us with his presence from Canada and won the bronze fleet with rock star crew Nigel Sloan. Simon & Rebecca Jeffery finished second in the bronze fleet and Adrian Lee & Edward Coyne in third.

Overall Results:

Gold Fleet:

1. John & Donal McGuinness
2. Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken
3. Paddy O'Connor & Colm O'Flaherty

Silver Fleet:

1. Rob Lee & Troy McNamara
2. Simon Cully & Libby Tierney
3. Grahame & Rebecca Farrington

Bronze Fleet:

1. Andy VanBeck & Nigel Sloan
2. Simon & Rebecca Jeffery
3. Adrian Lee & Edward Coyne

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#gp14 – The first Irish GP14 event of the 2014 season was the Riocard O' Tiarnaigh Challenge held at Swords Sailing Club on the 26th silver and gold fleets starting separately. Each fleet takes part in up to nine qualifying races spread over Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Following the Qualifying races, the top four boats from each fleet then compete against each other in the Finals, which consists of three races. With the scores from all previous racing now irrelevant, it would all be to play for.

A blustery first day greeted the 21 boats. Racing started a bit later than planned but Race Officer Peter Smyth managed to get 4 races in. The strong winds were unforgiving and there were several early season teething problems for some of the boats, with the number of starters in each consecutive race gradually reducing to 11 in the final race of the day. With a variety of courses laid out, racing was a challenge, particularly identifying the correct pipe buoy to be rounded. The blustery conditions were challenging with many boats across the fleets displaying the telltale mud stains on the mast tip and boom as a result of a capsize in the shallow water of the estuary. Saturday ended with many early season aches and pains, bumps and bruises and the fleet looking forward to the forecasted lighter winds on Sunday....

On Sunday morning the early starters were greeted with almost identical conditions to Saturday, however, by the time racing started the wind had dropped enough to entice even the most reluctant competitors back onto the water.

The Race Officer and his team did a sterling job to fit in 4 races before lunch. Racing was enjoyable and speaking on behalf of the Silver fleet, there was good banter between the boats and every race was nip and tuck with three of the races being decided on the last tack. On one occasion a spinnaker pole was even held to ransom after being thrown overboard by Simon and Richard, it was eventually handed back half way down the reaching leg.

A quick lunch break ashore and the results were tallied up from the Qualifying racing. The 12 finalists were identified:

Gold Fleet Qualifying Positions
1st Shane MacCarthy / Damian Bracken (Greystones SC)
2nd Keith Louden / Alan Thompson (ISA)
3rd Patrick O'Conor / Colm O'Flaherty (Sligo SC)
4th Curly Morris / Laura McFarland (Newtownards SC)

Silver Fleet Qualifying Positions
1st Simon Cully / Richard Street (Blessington)
2nd Graeme Farrington / Rebecca Farrington (East Down YC)
3rd Dan Gallagher / Hugh Gill (MBC / LFYC)
4th Donal Brennan / Tommy Kiernan (Swords SBC)

Bronze Fleet Qualifying Positions
1st Katie Dwyer / Aoife Bourke (Sutton DC)
2nd Pat Savage / Declan O'Brien (Swords SBC)
3rd James Hockney / James Johnson (LFYC)
4th Simon Jeffery / Rebecca Jeffery (East Down YC)

The 12 finalists rigged up and headed out for the three Final races. Race Officer Peter Smyth set a windward/leeward course.
The first race kicked off with the Silver fleet sailors obviously having something to prove, Simon Cully & Richard Street in their brand new Duffin boat battled it out with Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken, but Shane and Damian got the upper hand and finished first, Simon & Richard came in second with Graeme & Rebecca Farrington managing to get third place.
The second race started with the gold fleet sailors now with something to prove and claimed the top three places. Shane MacCarthy & Damien Bracken asserting their dominance and finishing first with Paddy O'Conor & Colm O'Flaherty in second, closely followed by Curly Morris & Laura McFarland.
The final race was worth double points, so a good finish was critical. However, so too was a good start! A recall was signalled but most of the fleet sailed on regardless. For some of the competitors, the results of the third and final race were unknown until the results sheet came out. With 3 of the gold fleet boats being over at the start, the final finishing positions for the last race were Simon Cully & Richard Street finishing first, Shane MacCarthy & Damien Bracken coming in second and much to their surprise Graeme & Rebecca Farrington finishing third.
The overall winners of the Riocard O' Tiarnaigh Challenge, and the Gold Fleet winners were Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken. Silver Fleet winners Simon Cully & Richard Street finished 2nd overall with fellow Silver Fleet sailors Graeme & Rebecca Farrington finishing 3rd overall. Bronze Fleet winners James Hockney & James Johnson finished 4th overall.

Overall Results
1st Shane MacCarthy / Damian Bracken (GOLD)
2nd Simon Cully / Richard Street (SILVER)
3rd Graeme Farrington / Rebecca Farrington (SILVER)
4th James Hockney / James Johnson (BRONZE)
5th Dan Gallagher / Hugh Gill (SILVER)
6th Patrick O'Connor / Colm O'Flaherty (GOLD)
7th Simon Jeffery / Rebecca Jeffery (BRONZE)
8th Curly Morris / Laura McFarland (GOLD)
9th Katie Dwyer / Aoife Bourke (BRONZE)
10th Keith Louden / Alan Thompson (GOLD)
11th Donal Brennan / Tommy Kiernan (SILVER)
12th Pat Savage / Declan O'Brien (BRONZE)

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#GP14 - A fundraising effort at the recent Craftinsure GP14 Championship of Ireland has helped raise more than €4,000 for Make-A-Wish Ireland.

Last Thursday 14 November a cheque for €4,218 was presented to the charity's representative Martina Madden by Sutton Dinghy Club Commodore Andy Johnston at a special evening to thank the club's sponsors and partners.

The donation represents the efforts of competing sailors, their families, visitors and club members alike at the three-day GP14 class competition hosted by Sutton at the end of August, which attracted 50 boats and crews from across Ireland and the UK.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, three-time Irish Olympic sailor Ger Owens and crew Melanie Morris took the event in style amid some exceptionally close competition.

Presenting the cheque, Cmdr Johnston thanked event organiser Hugh Gill and his team for the huge effort in not only staging a successful sailing event but also supporting such a deserving cause as Make-A-Wish Ireland.

Madden, meanwhile, thanked the club and the GP14 Class Association for their decision to select Make-A-Wish Ireland as the events charity of choice and applauded the efforts of sailors, volunteers, members and sponsors in helping raise such a fantastic amount for a worthy cause.

The evening was also attended by Stephen Boyle, representing the GP14 Class Association, and Ciaran Murphy of the ISA, along with representatives of some of the club's sponsors.

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#Gp14 – The forecast for the first day of the Craftinsure GP14 Championship of Ireland at Sutton Dinghy Club did not make for great reading with less than 6 knots from north west. However as boats started arriving and getting set up for launch there was a decent breeze and with plenty of sun it was hoped it might hold on for the day.
The briefing was short, the introduction and welcome of the Classic fleet (same start, shorter course and separate prize for Mark 1 GP14) and reminder that the event was also raising funds for the charity Make a Wish Foundation – Ireland. While briefing was underway, PRO Scorie Walls and the race management team and RIB's were headed out into the bay. With 50 boats entered, 47 launched with some top names and a few great days racing in store.
The first race got away on a black flag at the second time of asking. The race was a close and cagey affair with 7 or 8 boats never far from the lead. Curly Morris and Tim Corcoran shared lead a few times with Shane McCarthy, Ruan O'Tiarnaigh, Graham Elmes, Hugh Gill and Ger Owens never too far away.
The downwind leg and last beat were close thing with Tim Corcoran and Ruan O'Tiarnaigh maintaing their lead all the way to the finish. Alasdair Duffin took 3rd followed by Shane McCarthy with Ger Owens taking 5th. Down the fleet, local junior David Johnston also showed well in top 20 with the Classic fleet having some close racing with Duncan Greenhalgh battling it out with Stephen Parry and former National Champion Pat Murphy back in a GP14 for the first time in 25 years.
Despite the ligthening breeze, the fleet managed to finish within the tight 15 minute deadline. Good racing considering some of the older boats. With the wind due to die away, the PRO didn't waste much time getting second race underway, and went with a black flag from the off.
Again a close race all the way around with Corcoran, Morris, McCarthy and Owen again all to the fore. A wind shift saw a C flag indicating weather mark change the second time around and with it Owens made decisive move out left as wind lightened. Owens never looked back and continued to extend lead with Morris and Corcoran, Gill and McCarthy leading the charge.
At the finish Owens had plenty to spare, over Corcoran and Morris who were then surprised to find themselves black flagged leaving local Hugh Gill to take 2nd ahead of Shane McCarthy. With the wind dying, a good portion of the main fleet failed to make it inside 15minute time limit.
This was not an issue for Classic fleet who all had their finish in the bag at end of round 1. And so at end of day 1 it was Olympian Ger Owens leading from Shane McCarthy with Hugh Gill in 3rd.
With a forecast suggesting a little more breeze than Saturday but locals concerned that the sea breeze might neutralise the northerly 8 knots, cautious optimism was the order of the day as the fleet followed PRO Scorie Walls out into the Bay.
With 3 races scheduled and HW at 3:30, there was not much room for delay, but it was still 3rd attempt under a black flag before the racing got underway. In 8 knots of breeze it was Ger Owens who laid down the first marker and led by 10 lenghts at weather mark and then extended his lead on each rounding. A great battle ensued behind for the minor placings with Morris, Duffin, Elmes, O'Connor, Corcoran and Boyle all in close contention. With 30 boat lenghts to spare it was Ownes ahead of Morris with O'Connor taking 3rd from Duffin, Corcoran and local boat Boyle in 6th.
Race 2 was always going to be a black flag from the start, but with a healthy 10 knot breeze, the fleet saw a few new faces at the top end. Along with Morris, Owens, Corcoran and Duffin , Shane McCarthy and Dan O'Connell were now in the mix. It took till leeward mark for Owens to take the lead and again from their it was a race for minor placings as Owens effortlessly moved clear of the fleet. Up the final beat it was Owens who held off a resurgent Morris, with McCarthy taking 3rd from O'Connell, Corcoran and Elmes in 6th.
With the wind holding PRO wasted no time and had 3rd race underway with black flag from the start. Owens, O'Connell and Morris with local junior Johnston get away to a great start. Not far behind we have Niall Henry, Molloy, and Duffin. This race is far closer with Owens unable to shake off Molloy and O'Connell with Morris and Duffin also in close contention. It was not till final spinnaker leg that Owens got a clear lead of 4-5 boat lengths to stay ahead of O'Connell and Morris. With 3 bullets , Day 2 was a masterclass from Owens and his crew Melanie Morris, with hardly a foot wrong and great to watch.
With 2 races scheduled for Monday, Owens led by 13 points and really only needed a top 10 placing in either race to take the title. However a mark of how close the racing was behind the leading pair, the next 5 boats are separated by 7 points and Corcoran, Morris, McCarthy, Duffin and O'Connell all in with a chance of 2nd.
The forecast, 3 knots gusting 4 is not conducive to getting in 2 races. With the day looking like it would be warm with plenty of sun, the hope was a sea breeze would kick in. Shortly after 2pm, the breeze shifted more easterly and with 10 knots, PRO Scorie Walls soon had the fleet in sequence. Windward leeward course, Black flags and the fleet was away all clear.
All the main contenders were in the mix, and the first separation downwind saw Morris and Owens take a slight advantage. Up the next beat O'Connell joined Owens and put some daylight between themselves and the chasing pack of McCarthy, Morris, Corcoran, Elmes and O'Tiarnaigh.
Both boats were neck and neck, tack for tack down to weather mark with Owens just creeping inside O'Connell. A great rounding and the momentum was now with the event leader. Corcoran had now re-connected with Owens and O'Connell and these 3 headed the fleet with Owens out right and Corcoran and O'Connell down the middle to leeward mark for the last time.
Owens held the short lead to the finish, taking 5 races on the bounce and becoming the new GP14 Champion. In a close finish, Corcoran pipped O'Connell for 2nd with Morris 4th ahead of Elmes and McCarthy 6th. With one race to go, it was still all to play for the minor placings.
Ger Owens lined up on the start line for 7th which got away first time under Black flag and south easterly 6-8knots. Shortly after rounding the weather mark Owens heads home and the race is truly on for the minor placings.
O'Connells showing over last 4 races had put him right in contention for a podium finish, but with Corcoran not in top 10 on final downwind leg, a top 3 or 4 in the final race behind McGuinness would be enough to take a well deserved 2nd overall. John McGuinness took the gun, ahead of O'Connell from Sutton Dinghy Clubs O'Tiarnaigh with Niall Henry 4th and former National Champion Richard Instone in 5th.
The prize giving ceremony introduced by Hugh Gill from Sutton Dinghy Club was attended by Make a Wish Ireland representative Martina Madden who thanked Sutton Dinghy Club and the GP14 Class association for selecting them as charity of choice. With over €3500 raised by the 50 GP14 crews who entered the event, the initiative was a huge success.
Sutton Dinghy Club Commodore Andy Johnston presented the Championship trophies to Ger Owens and Melanie Morris, very worthy Craftinsure GP14 Championship of Ireland winners for 2013. Harry Hermon, CEO of ISA was also in attendance to present the Gold, Silver and Bronze ISA medals to Owens/Morris, O'Connell/O'Connell and Corcoran/Brogan respectively.
The rude health of the GP14 Class in Ireland with 50 entries for its Nationals bodes well for the GP14 Worlds in East Down (Northern Ireland) in 2014.
Gold: 1st - Ger Owens/Melanie Morris (RStGYC), 2nd – DanO'Connell/Mairin O'Connell (Swords), 3rd - Tim Corcoran/Brendan Brogan (Sligo).
Silver: 1st Bill & James Johnson (Lough Foyle), 2nd - David Lappin/C Grimes (Skerries), 3rd with S Sheppard/A Sexton (Skerries).
Bronze: 1st - David Johnston/ Darragh White (Sutton Dinghy Club), 2nd - Tim Davies/T Mawby (Chelmarsh), 3rd - James Ogg/M Rutherford (Donaghadee). An overall 22nd place also gave David Johnston (Sutton Dinghy Club) top Junior and Championship newcomer prize.
Classic fleet was won by Stephen Loton Parry (York RI) from GP14 International President Duncan Greenhalgh (Derwent Resevoir).

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#gp14 – The final day of 2013 Craftinsure GP14 Championship of Ireland and the forecast was not good for racing. 3 knots gusting 4 is not conducive to getting in 2 races. With the day looking like it would be warm with plenty of sun, the hope was a sea breeze would kick in.

Event leader Ger Owens and Melanie Morris really needed only a top 10 finish in one race to confirm the title but it was all to play for the minor placings and the Silver, Bronze and Classic fleets.

The race management team on committee boat Saoirse headed out to the bay and wasn't long before they called for fleet to launch. The 2pm start was AP'd but it wasn't long before breeze shifted more easterly and PRO Scorie Walls had the fleet in sequence. Windward leeward course and Black flags. The fleet get away all clear.

On first beat, fleet splits equally left and right. Wind was now steady about 110 and 8 knots. At the weather mark it wasclose with McCarthy (14061), Owens (14076), Morris (14077) and Corcoran (14047) all to the fore. Fleet splits again with Morris (14077) ahead of Owens (14076) pink spinnaker staying right on Red Rock side of the course. Corcoran (14047) and Gill (13915) come left and out into the bay.

At halfway down the leg, O'Connell (13801) is now also in the mix along with McCarthy (14961), Elmes (13982) and O'Tiarnaigh (14116X). By the leeward mark Owens O'Connell and Morris are leading 3 and have a few boat lengths on the chasing fleet. Most of the fleet stay out right for a bit before tacking back across to the Sutton shore.

At this point Owens just needs to maintain his position and the title is his but its turning into a repeat of yesterdays last race battle between O'Connell and Owens. Both boats were neck and neck, tack for tack down to weather mark with Owens just creeping inside O'Connell at the mark. A great rounding and then super hoist sees Owens come out that little bit quicker and the momentum was now with the event leader.

Corcoran has now connected with Owens and O'Connell and these 3 are ahead of the fleet. The battle behind was equally close with Elmes, McCarthy, Morris all very tight but the race was between Owens out right and Corcoran and O'Connell as they headed down to leeward mark for the last time.

Around the mark and Owens has the advantage and comes home first and 5 races on the bounce and the new GP14 Champion. Its very close but Corcoran pips O'Connell for 2nd with Morris 4th ahead of Elmes and McCarthy 7th.

In Classic fleet veteran Pat Murphy/Ronan Hand had a race win from local junior Callum Maher/Saoirse Kelly. In Silver fleet, David Lappin (Skerries) and Bill Johnson (Lough Foyle) were still battling it out and the BronE fleet would also go to the last race with a point separating local junior David Johnston and Tim Davies (Chelmarsh).

Owens takes his place on the start line for 7th and final race and with the wind steady from 120 and 6-8knots race gets underway with black flag.

At the weather mark its John McGuinness (14056) and O'Connell (13801) to the fore, with Owens about sixth. However very shortly after rounding its obvious Owens is heading home and the race is on for the minor placings.

O'Connells showing over last 4 races has put him right in contention for 2nd and with Corcoran not top 10 on final downwind leg O' Connell was now favourite. O'Tiarnaigh (14116x) was now up in contention with Niall Henry (Sligo), Louden (Skerries), O'Connor (Sligo) and Instone (Blithefield SC).

In Classic fleet SDC junior Callum Maher/Saoirse White takes the 7th race from Duncan Greenhalgh/Ryan Sinnott.

Around bottom mark for last time and O'Connell lead from SDC's O'Tiarnaigh with Henry (Sligo) 4th, Instone (Blithefield SC) 5th.

That 2nd place in race 7 confirm O'Connell as Championship runner up from Corcoran in 3rd.

An 18th in final race is enough to give Bill Johnson (Lough Foyle) Silver fleet from David Lappin (Skerries) with Sheppard (Skerries) taking 3rd.

Bronze fleet went to SDC Junior David Johnston/ Darragh White from Tim Davies (Chelmarsh) and James Ogg (Donaghadee). An overall finish of 22nd place also gave Johnston/White (SDC) top Junior and Championship newcomer prize.

Classic fleet was won by Stephen Loton Parry (York RI) from GP14 International President Duncan Greenhalgh (Derwent Resevoir).

The prize giving ceremony introduced by Hugh Gill from Sutton Dinghy Club was attended by Make a Wish Ireland representative Martina Madden who thanked Sutton Dinghy Club and the GP14 Class association for selecting them as charity of choice. With over €3000 raised already by the 50 GP14 crews who entered the event, the initiative was a huge success. Gold, Silver and Bronze ISA medals were presented to Owens/Morris, O'Connell/O'Connell and Corcoran/Brogan respectively.

And finally Sutton Dinghy Club Commodore Andy Johnston presented the Championship trophies to Ger Owens and Melanie Morris, very worthy Craftinsure GP14 Championship of Ireland winners for 2013.

The next event is GP14 Open and Youth Nationals in Sligo on 14/15 September.

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#gp14 – With a forecast for the Irish GP14 National suggesting a little more breeze than Saturday but locals concerned that the sea breeze might neutralise Windguru's northerly 8 knots, cautious optimism was the order of the day. First the Class AGM had to be dealt with.

With a late entry arriving on Sunday morning, total entries were up to 50 and with beautiful sunshine and a good 8 knots the fleet launched to follow PRO Scorie Walls out into the Bay.

The first Race took a couple of starts, a few windshifts resulting in an AP while in sequence but the fleet finally getting away all clear under a black flag. With 3 races scheduled and a 3:30 HW, there could be no delays. Elmes (13982), Morris (14077) and Duffin (14130) all towards pin end. Gill (13915) on Committee boat end along with O'Tiarnaigh (14116X) head out right. With event leader Owens (14076) heading up left centre, its clear right has not paid. Owens (14076) was first to weather mark about 10 boat lengths ahead of a close group. Best of the right hand boats is 15th O'Tiarnaigh (14116x) and Johnston (17th). The wind is steady 8 knots about 015 and Owens (14076) never looked back. He extended his lead at each rounding.

A great battle ensued for the minor placings with Morris (14077), Duffin (14130), Elmes (13982) and Boyle (14116) all close contention. On final beat with breeze a little stronger up the middle, Owens (14076) was out right, but with 30 boaot lengths he was not to be caught. Second went to Morris (14077) with O'Connor (14036) taking 3rd from Duffin (14130), Corcoran (14047) and local boat Boyle (14116) in 6th.

Race 2 got going first time on a black flag, and with a healthy 10 knot breeze, the fleet approached weather mark and again it Morris (14077) showing well with Owens (14076) in 4th at weather mark. A few new faces showing with Dan O'Connell (13801), Shane McCarthy (14061) in the mix. Owens (14076) moved into the lead at the leeward mark with top 5 including Morris (14077), Duffin (14130), Corcoran (14047), O'Connell (13801) and McCarthy (14061) and Elmes (13982) very close. From here it was again a race for minor placings as Owens effortlessly moved clear of the fleet.

The next group of 15 boats were also having a great scrap, with 3 local boats Gill (13915), Johnston (13977), Boyle (14116) boat lengths apart. But up the final beat it was Owens who held off a resurgent Morris (14077) with McCarthy (14047) taking 3rd from Dan O'Connell (13801), Corcoran (14047) and Elmes (13982) in 6th.

With wind holding PRO wasted no time and had 3rd race underway with black flag from the start. Its again Owens (14076), Molloy (14133), O'Connell (13801) and Morris (140770 with best starts but local junior Johnston/White (13977) gets a cracker and is right up near the front as fleet heads out left side. Owens, O'Connell, Molloy and Morris around weather mark just ahead of Henry (13993), Duffin (14130) and Johnston (13977).

This race is far closer with Owens unable to shake off Molloy (14133) and O'Connell (13801) with Morris (14077) and Duffin (14130) just behind. Down final spinnaker leg, Owens gets himself out in front by a clear margin of 4-5 boat lengths from O'Connell (13801). Its been a masterclass from Owens and Melanie Morris and they have 3 bullets for the day. Superb racing all day from Ger, hardly a foot wrong and great to watch. Dan O'Connell (13801) held off Curly Morris (14077) to finish a good day for both.

With 2 races scheduled for Monday, Owens leads by 13 points. However as a mark of how close the racing has been, the next 5 boats are separated by 7 points so all will be vying for 2nd place with Corcoran (14047) ahead of Morris (14077), McCarthy (14061), Duffin (14130) and Dan O'Connell (13801).

David Lappin (Skerries SC) leads Silver fleet from Bill Johnson (Lough Foyle YC) and Alan Pinder (Mullingar SC). Tim Davies (Chelmarsh) leads Bronze fleet from local juniors David Johnston/Darragh White with James Ogg (Donaghadee SC)in 3rd. Classic fleet is still led by Stephen Parry (York RI SC) from Duncan Greenhalgh (Derwent) and local juniors Callum Maher/Saoirse Kelly.

The forecast for today is light, very light with Windguru forcasting 3-4 knots so will be finger crossed for racing. However we had a great days racing on Sunday with Ger Owens and Melanie Morris showing a clean pair of heels and are worthy leader after five races but with such a close run thing for 2nd, everybody will be hoping for some racing today.

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#gp14 – The forecast for the day did not make for great reading with less than six knots from the north west. However as boats started arriving and getting set up for launching there was a decent breeze and hope it might hold on for the day. Briefing was short, the introduction and welcome of the classic fleet and reminder that the event was also raising funds for Make a Wish Ireland. At this stage PRO Scorie Walls and the race management team and RIB's were headed out into the bay. With 49 boats entered, 47 launched with some top names and a great days racing in store.

First attempt at Race 1 resulted in general recall with large portion of a nervy fleet over the line. PRO went to black flag and that had the desired affect with a clean start. Curly Morris (14077) at the pin end along with Ger Owens (14076) and Graham Elmes (13982). Sutton's Hugh Gill (13915) is initially up the middle but tacks out right early on. At the weather mark it seemed right had paid with Ruan O'Tiarnaigh (14116X), Tim Corcoran (14047) and Hugh Gill (13915) first to the top and no more than boat lengths between them. The downwind was a cagey affair with boats spread across the course. Gill (13915) took a left side approach with other leaders hanging right. Again very close at the bottom mark but Corcoran (14047) now leading with Gill (13915) just sneaking in ahead of O'Tiarnaigh (14116X). But incredibly close with Owens (14076), Elmes (13982) and Boyle (14116) around in a bunch next. Junior David Johnston (13977) showing well was in top 20 around bottom mark. The Classic fleet were also having a good battle with Duncan Greenhalgh (12661) battling out with Stephen Parry (4615). Local knowledge with a lightening breeze might be important.

Gill (13915) and Owens (14076) started down right with rest of the leaders staying left and centre. Owens about halfway down the beat tack back looking for a little extra breeze on the left side. The lead boats are 14047, 14116X with Alasdair Duffin (14130) and Shane McCarthy (14061) around first. Owens (14076) around in 5th. His tack left a good call as Gill (13915) was a big loser out right and rounded 13th.

The downwind leg and last beat were close thing with Corcoran and O'Tiarnaigh maintaing their lead all the way to the finish. Duffin (14130) take 3rd followed by McCarthy (14061). McGuiness (14056) with a late showing just pips Owens (14076) for 5th.

With an ever ligthening breeze, all the fleet managed to finish within the tight 15 minute deadline. Good racing considering some of the older boats. The PRO didn't waste much time getting second race underway, and went with a black flag from the off. Obviously worried about delays with wind due to die away.

Second race and all away. Very shortly up the beat all looked a bit upright as wind dropped. 2 boats on right Corcoran (14047) and Morris (14077) looking the best as the fleet made its way to the top mark. A little bit more breeze and Morris (14077) is first to top mark with McCarthy (14061), Gill (13915), Corcoran (14047) and Owens (14076) all very close.

The top 7 boats were all very close, McCarthy (14061) out left with Gill (13915) and Corcoran (14047) out right. At the mark it still very close with Morris (14077), Owens (14076) also in the mix. Wind shifted and C flag indicates weather mark has changed. Wind has moved back to 285 and now wind is very light. With Classic fleet getting a finish on end of lap 1 they all continue with main fleet. Owens (14076) tack out left early on and is moving very well in the light breeze.

At the top mark and another C flag indicating bottom mark is now at 90. Owens (14076) has done well on left and is first around. Shortly followed by Corcoran (14047) and Morris (14077) and then Gill (13915) and McCarthy (14061). Down the leg Owens seems to have the legs and starts to get away from the others. Wind is lightening and most of the fleet holding up on a close reach. The leading group for the first time are getting spread out with Owens doing the most damage and round the bottom mark with decent lead and only short beat to the line and the hooter. Second over is Corcoran (14047) but no hooter, followed by Morris (14077) and again no hooter. Gill (13915) get a hooter as he crosses. It turns out Corcoran and Morris had been black flagged. McCarthy (14061) takes 3rd with Louden (14055) and Niall Henry (13993) in 4th and 5th.

With the wind dying a good portion of the fleet did not make the 15 minute time limit, which makes it a great reason to be in Classic fleet who all had their finish in the bag at end of round 1.

So at end of the day Ger Owens (RStGYC) is leading from Shane McCarthy (Greystones)and Hugh Gill (SDC). Leading Silver fleet sailors are Bill Johnson (Lough Foyle YC) in 11th, David Lappin (Skerries ) in 14th and Stan Shepard (Skerries) in 15th. Leading the Bronze fleet is Tim Davies (Chelmarsh) in 23rd from Sutton Dinghy Clubs David Johnsto in 28th and James Ogg (Donaghadee) 30th.

The Classic fleet leader is Stephe Parry (York RI SC) from Duncan Greenhalgh (Derwent Reservoir SC) and Pat Murphy (SDC).

All to play for today with three races scheduled today. GP14 AGM due to start at 10:45am Sunday morning. 

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#gp14 – With 43 entries already in, Stephen Boyle and Hugh Gill, Class Captain and Event Organiser respectively are quietly confident that eventual numbers for the weekend's GP14 National Championships on Dublin Bay will exceed 50.

The buoyant numbers bodes well for one of the mainstays of Irish dinghy sailing that will host its world championships in Ireland next year on Strangford Lough.

The Craftinsure GP14 sponsored event gets under way at Sutton Dinghy Club this Saturday with registration opening on Friday evening.

Current entries include Shane McCarthy fresh from his superb fourth place finish in last week UK GP14 Nationals, former Olympic representatives Gerbil Owens and Curly Morris as well as previous winners such as Hugh Gill and Pat Murphy.

With the event going through to Monday there are also plenty of Northern Ireland entries and a number of entries from the UK too.

"As scheme insurers for the GP14 Class Association, we are delighted to have been invited to step in and support what promises to be a great event at Sutton Dinghy Club, especially with the Class division innovation as well as the link with the Make a Wish Ireland this year" says Craftinsure's Rod Daniel.

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#gp14 – Strong winds and rough seas led to the cancellation of the second day's racing of this weekend's GP 14 Leinster Championship at Skerries Sailing Club writes Gerry Byrne. But a win and two seconds in Saturday's three races were sufficient to yield Gold to John McGuinness and his brother Donal from Moville Boat Club, Donegal sailing in a fleet of 21.

Conditions ranged from Force 3 gusting to Force 7 making for big shifts, tricky conditions and many capsizes including that of local combination Stan Shepherd and Andrew Sexton who were leading the fleet in Race 1 when they got ducked. Spinnaker work was sporadic with many boats selecting white sails only in some of the windier legs. Hugh and Dan Gill (Sutton, third overall) were not alone in sometimes electing for chicken gybes.

Apart from the overall champions, race winners were Swords couple Dan and Mairin O'Connell (second overall) and, from the Royal St George Yacht Club, Graham Elmes and Gina O'Reilly (15th overall). Silver fleet winners (4th overall) were Simon Cully and Libby Tierney from Blessington. Second silver went to Shepherd and Sexton (10th overall) and third to Ray and Brian Morrison from Lough Erne YC. Colman Grimes and Ian Fitzpatrick (Skerries SC, 13th overall) won the Bronze.

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gp14 – East Down Yacht Club has announced that they will be hosting the GP 14 World Championship in August 2014. This will probably be the largest ever dinghy sailing championship to be held on Strangford Lough. It is anticipated that there will be in the region of 130-150 boats competing in the event, with entrants from Ireland , United Kingdom, Europe and even as far afield as Sri Lanka.

East Down Yacht Club is situated on the Western shores of Strangford Lough about 1 mile north of Killyleagh. The facilities at the Club have recently been substantially up dated with concrete hard standing for all boat parks and surrounding grounds. It also has its own Caravan and Camping facilities on site which together with additional marquee facilities will make the whole event have a very " Championship village atmosphere feel to it ". Many competitors will be living on site or staying in nearby B&B accommodation, but all will enjoy the onsite catering and evening entertainment which will be laid on.

There will be 5 days of very competitive racing taking place with daily prizes and culminating in the awarding of the overall Championship winners on the last day.

Strangford Lough is well known to many sailors and provides a fantastic venue for such an event, not only for its outstanding scenic qualities, but also for the abundance of wild life which can be observed around its shores and on the water. It provides large expanses of open water which are tidal , but not exposed to open sea conditions owing to the relatively narrow entrance to the Lough.

EDYC has previous experience of hosting large events such as this, having hosted the Wayfarer Class International Championships in 2001 ( with a fleet of over 100 boats ) and more recently Fireball & Topper Championships .

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Page 13 of 15

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. 

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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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