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The forecast for the GP14 O'Tiarnaigh Challenge 2018 was moderate to fresh breeze for the Saturday and strong breeze and up to 30 knots of gusts for the Sunday.

OD Peter Smyth at the Saturday morning briefing made the decision to sail all 6 qualifying races instead of the scheduled 4 races on the Saturday.

The fleet of 19 set off in their own fleet starts as Peter got 3 races in before lunch on Saturday with already a few thrills and spills in the growing breeze. The fleet had a quick lunch ashore with warm drinks and rolls provided by Swords. Back on the water to similar winds for the first race but it abated a little giving a more enjoyable final 2 races. The fleet was shore after a long day.

Greystones Sailing Club's Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken always enjoy the bigger breezes and dominated the two days

With the 6 races sailed the 4 leaders of each fleet were decided on the Saturday with 3 races scheduled for the Sunday for the final of the O'Tiarnaigh Challenge.

Greystones Sailing Club's Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken always enjoy the bigger breezes and dominated the two days and take another year's succession of winning the O'Tiarnaigh Trophy.

Second overall were Royal St George's Ross Killian with crew Ger Owens followed by a great performance and third place for Newtowards SC Josh Porter and Andy Corkhill.

Youghal’s Jack Buttimer & Adam McDonagh topped the bronze fleet finishing a very creditable 6th overall

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Five of the seven Irish GP14 fixtures this season will be on the east coast ranging from Donaghdee and Newtownards in the North to the inland venue of Blessington in County Wicklow. 

The season starts on April 14th with the annual Riocard O'Tiarnaigh Challenge at Swords Sailing Club and runs through to October 14th at the Hot Toddy event on the Ards Peninsula.

The highlight of the season, however, will no doubt be the July World Championships at Mounts Bay Sailing Club in Cornwall, with 2016 world champion Shane MacCarthy of Greystones still holding sway in Irish ranks at least.

The class is providing world championship travel grants for junior boats, where both helm and crew are under 22 years.

Along with the travel grant youth boats will also have a 50% reduced entry fees to the Worlds in Cornwall – the fee will be £125.00

Grant applications need to be submitted before 1st March 2018. 

GP14 Ireland 2018 Events

MAY  12TH/13TH ULSTERS Donaghadee SC

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The GP14 Annual Hot Toddy event took place over the weekend of the 14th / 15th October 2017 on Lough Owel hosted by Mullingar Sailing Club.

Racing began on Saturday on flat water and with the wind shifting in force and direction, some large gains were made and lost up wind. At the end of Saturday’s four races Shane

MacCarthy & Damian Bracken had two race wins and Curly Morris & Laura McFarland and John & Donal McGuinness one race win apiece. With Keith Louden & Alan Thompson putting together some very consistent results, this meant that any one of four boats could potentially win the event going into the final day.

Race five began on Sunday morning with individual recalls. The McGuinnesses and Louden/Thompson teams decided to return and start correctly and together with the aid of some large shifts both teams moved through the fleet to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively. Morris & McFarland took the win after MacCarthy & Bracken were judged to have been on course side at the start.

Going into the final race the points were now much tighter. MacCarthy & Bracken still leading, McGuinnesses in second on break of tie with Louden & Thompson and Morris & McFarland in fourth place.

At the first windward mark of the final race MacCarthy & Bracken led with McGuinesses and Louden & Thompson in close proximity. With Morris & Mc Farland back mid fleet Louden & Thompson choose this time to attack, taking McGuinnesses to windward on the broad reach. MacCarthy & Bracken decided not to get involved but ran the risk of being run over, however held a slim lead at the gybe mark. MacCarthy & Bracken broke clear after the gybe mark and would not be caught leaving McGuinnesses and Louden & Thompson to battle it out for second and third place, a battle which the McGuinnesses eventually won.

Silver and bronze flees were won by Gareth & Richard Gallagher and James Ogg & Steven Nelson respectively.

Download results below

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470 Olympic helmsman Ger Owens, sailing under the Swords Saliing Club burgee, continued his winning run in the GP14 Autumn Open at the weekend when he topped the 19–boat Autumn Open event sailed for the first time in Cork Harbour.

The GP14 fleet, who declined this year's Dinghy Fest invite due to calendar constraints, made good on their commitment to come to Royal Cork Yacht Club this year when they sailed their popular 14–foot dinghy in a two day event at Crosshaven, sailed on the Eastern Bank well out of the shipping lane.

Second overall was East Antrim Boat Club's Curly Morris with Sutton Dinghy Club's Conor Twohig third overall. Youghal Sailing Club's Jack Buttimer was the winner of the 13–boat youth championships.

Download full results below.

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The 2017 GP14 Irish Nationals were held on 19th-21st August at Ballyholme Yacht Club. 29 boats competed which included one visiting team from the UK – John Hayes, an ex 470 campaigner from Southport who was sailing with Joel James. Overall numbers were down a bit on previous years due to a number of mitigating factors. However those unable to attend missed a superb event with a wide range of conditions, superb race management, excellent hospitality and exceptionally close racing.

Chief measurer Jimmy McKee was in attendance on Friday night & Saturday morning to scrutineer and weigh boats. The forecast for Saturday was borderline and the fleet were held ashore initially for an hour or so to allow the wind to subside. When the fleet did eventually take to the water, the lull in conditions proved to be only temporary. Shortly after the start of race one, the committee boat began recording gusts of 30 knots. The ensuing white knuckle race saw Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken winning from Sligo’s Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty with Sutton sailors Alan Blay & David Johnston 3rd. With only 15 boats finishing and conditions refusing to abate, the race committee made the sensible decision to send the fleet home after a single race. Once ashore competitors enjoyed a superb bar-b-que where the famous Ballyholme rib-eye steaks lived up to all of the pre–event hype.

The forecast for the second day of racing could not have been more different to the first. This time, conditions looked borderline on the light side, with even the most optimistic forecasts predicting gusts of just 7 knots. Nevertheless, with a race to make up the race committee sent the fleet out and after a hour or so floating around the breeze did eventually appear. Niall & Ossain took first blood in the challenging conditions winning the opening race from English visitors John Hayes & Joel James. The right hand side of the beats seemed to be consistently paying in the ebbing tide but getting out there through the various holes & shifts was’t completely straightforward! Ger Owens & Melanie Morris found a way though, knocking in 2 bullets in race 3 and 4 from Alan Blay & David Johnsson and Keith Louden & Alan Thompson respectively. Silver fleet sailors Doire Shiels & Andrew Sexton also had a good day, recording a 7th and a 3rd to take control of the silver fleet. After a long day on the water, the race committee decided the fleet had had enough after 3 races and the fleet returned home.

2017 GP14 Prize Winners2017 GP14 Prize Winners at Ballyholme Yacht Club

The Irish GP14 AGM was held on Sunday evening and saw Stephen Boyle step down after 3 years as class president. David Cooke takes over as the new president and no doubt will strive to continue the excellent progress made over the past few years as the class builds towards a 2020 World Championships in his home club. Following the AGM, many of the sailors gathered in the nearby Jamaica Inn with a surprise birthday cake for class stalwart Hugh Gill who is celebrating another big one!

With 3 races scheduled for the final days sailing, and just 2 points separating the top four boats the championship was wide open. Race 5 saw Shane & Damien record their second race win from John & Joel. Race 6 and another race winner, this time John & Joel taking line honours with Keith Louden & Alan Thompson in second position. So going into the final race the championship was set for one of the closest finishes in recent years with Ger & Mel holding a narrow one point lead but Shane & Damian, John & Joel and Nial & Ossian all still in with a real chance of overall victory.

In the end however, Ger & Mel held held their nerve and won the last race and with it, the overall event. Doire Shiels & Andrew Sexton won the Silver fleet finishing in 10th overall while Sutton’s Shane MacLoughlin & Rory Murdoch won the bronze fleet. Top youths were Gareth & Richard Gallagher in 12th position overall.

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As the GP14 British Nationals moves into its final day today, the fallout from Black Flag Monday continued with many seeking and getting redress for leeward caught BFD, as the pin boat was not anchored writes Andy Johnston

On the racing side yesterday plenty of windshifts at start resulted in big winners and losers as boats got on the wrong side of the course. The biggest movers from an Irish perspective were Sutton Dinghy Clubs Hugh Gill & Conor Twohig and Lough Foyles Bill & James Johnson. The Sutton Dinghy Club duo have moved up another 2 places to 15th, while a superb 9 & 10 in todays racing saw the Johnson father and son pairing charge up to 18th and are now leading the Silver fleet. This is a great performance from these Irish fleet regulars.

Former Champions Mike Senior and Ian Dobson remain 1st and 2nd and will surely fight it out for the title. Despite an 18 point gap between 2nd and 3rd, a good result tomorrow and the second discard could bring Fergus Barnham back into the reckoning.

Current World Champion and defending British Champions Shane MacCarthy & Andy Thompson (Greystones) retain 4th place, but before second discard are now only 2 points behind Fergus Barnham in 3rd. The Irish pair realistically need some very good results and for the GP14 Leinsters & Volvo DLR winner Barnham to have a poor day. This will be a battle tomorrow for sure.

Other results saw Donal & John McGuinness (Moville) slip to 8th while consistency keeps Keith Louden & Alan Thomson in 10th. A 7 today in race 6 helping Curly Morris & Laura Farland up into 14th.
The Newtownards pairing of Michael Cox & Rebecca Jeffrey posted their best results of the event with a pair of 11's to move to 28th.

Midfleet results saw the Gallagher brothers and Peter & Stephen Boyle drop a few places after great day on Tuesday.

Helming in his first Championship and gaining invaluable experience, Newtownards Josh Porter with Sarah Coleman lie 43rd.

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#GP14 - Defending champions Shane MacCarthy and Andy Thompson of Greystones lead the Irish charge in fourth, with Moville’s McGuinness brothers in sixth, after three days of sailing in the GP14 British Nationals at Looe in Cornwall.

Meanwhile, things got off to a better start on day three yesterday (Tuesday 8 August) for Sutton Dinghy Club’s two crews after a black Monday.

Peter Boyle (with father Stephen) and Hugh Gill (with Conor Twohig) found themselves among the 26 black-flagged competitor’s across that day’s two races.

Tuesday saw more positive results. Peter Boyle, a Silver fleet entry and one of the youngest helms competing, managed a 12 and 14 in yesterday’s races – enough for the Boyles to pull themselves right up the field to 28th.  

Hugh Gill, meanwhile, managed a superb ninth along with a 20th to move up to 17th overall. 

With today (Wednesday 9 August) a rest day, there will be two more races on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 August to close out the week. 

In other Irish placings at Looe, Keith Louden and Alan Thomson (Sligo Yacht Club) lie 10th with Curly Morris and Laura McFarland (East Antrim Boat Club/Newtownards Sailing Club) in 16th.

Bill and James Johnson from Lough Foyle Yacht Club lie 24th with the Lough Foyle youth pairing of Gareth and Richard Gallagher not far behind at 26th.

With two bullets on Tuesday, Mike Senior (with Chris White) leads Ian Dobson (with Andy Tunnicliffe) and Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta winner Fergus Barnham (with Andy Hunter) in the podium positions.

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The GP14 British Nationals got underway yesterday at Looe in Cornwall and two Sutton Dinghy Club crews on the start line. Traditionally the first day sees a practice race followed by the first of nine Championship races. Hugh Gill & Conor Twohig are 18th and Peter Boyle and Stephen Boyle are 21 in the 65–boat fleet.

The race was won by former World Champion Ian Dobson with Greystones Sailing Club's Shane MacCarthy, fifth, leading the ten Irish entries. Two more races are scheduled today.

Other Irish placings:

John & Donal McGuinness (Moville) 6th,
Keith Louden & Andy Thompson (Sligo) 16th,
Curly Morris & Laura Thompson (EABC/NSC) 24th,
Gareth & Richard Gallagher (Lough Foyle) 29th,
Bill & James Johnson (Lough Foyle 37th)
Michael Cox & Rebecca Jeffrey (45th)

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The GP14 fleet returned to Dun Laoghaire for a most enjoyable three day Leinster Championship at the 475–boat Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta where 27 GP14s competed, for the various honours over the full complement of 8 races. With both World Champion, Shane McCarthy, and Olympian, Ger Owens entered, there was much discussion as to who would win out. However the bookies would have had a field day as the championship was won in a most emphatic fashion, by visiting UK sailors Fergus Burnham and Andy Hunter from Snettisham Beach and Nantwich sailing clubs.

All was not as it appeared however, as Ger Owens took the unusual role of crewing for his good friend and former Olympic crew Ross Killian. 

Friday saw the fleet on the South Bull race course with Barnham/Hunter laying down an early marker in Race 1, by pulling away to establish an early lead with Keith Louden and crew Alan Thompson signalling their intent by notching a definite second. Norman Lee showed a good turn of speed to sail into third place. Silver fleet sailor, young Peter Boyle crewed by his dad Stephen sailed a great race to slot into fifth place.

Race 2 threw up a great surprise with the first four rounding the weather mark heading off for the outer loop not realising that the inner loop was the correct course. Not quite believing what was unfolding in from of him, and ready to take full advantage ,was Hugh Gill and Conor Twohig who promptly led the rest of the fleet back down the run on the inner loop and went on to take the gun, followed home by the up and coming young guns of Sutton Dinghy Club, Alan Blay & David Johnston in second place, with Louden & Thompson taking third. This left the favourites slightly embarrassed and determined to do better. The final race of the day finally saw Shane McCarthy & Damien Bracken unleash their potential, and left the fleet looking at their transom as they took the bullet with Blay & Johnston showing early consistency by again taking second, and Barham & Hunter not letting go by taking third. Beer, food, sunshine and happy sailors on the deck at the Royal St George YC afterwards, lent a very Mediterranean atmosphere to the entire weekend!

Saturday ‘s forecast was for very light breezes but a good steady breeze blew all day long, providing great racing for the fleet. The highlight of the day was the three wins recorded by UK pairing of Barnham and Hunter, firmly establishing them in an unassailable position after 6 races. Gill and Louden took a second each with Lawrence Baalham and Robbie Richardson surprising all, by rounding the weather mark in fourth place and finishing the race in second place. The lads are still smiling! Blay & Johnson maintained their pace by notching a 4th and 3rd leaving them in second place with 2 races to go followed by McCarthy and Bracken in 3rd with Gill & Twohig in 4th overnight and all to play for.

In the Silver Fleet, the Boyles held a commanding lead on Saturday evening in front of the Gallagher brothers from Lough Foyle and Doire Shiels and Graham Burns from Skerries.
There was a great battle going on in the Bronze fleet with only 4 points separating the three contenders: Mathew Street from Blessington, Jack Buttimer from Youghal and Martin & Vicki Dews from Donaghadee in that order.

The fleet moved to the Salthill course on Sunday, and were treated to the close up sight of the Moth dinghies up on their foils and racing at incredible speeds in comparison to the comparably rather sedate speed of the regular classes. Quite spectacular! Well, the boys from the UK decided to do a bit of sightseeing around the bay and cruised to a leisurely 4th & 6th in the 2 races which they proceeded to discard, becoming worthy Leinster Championship winners. Keith Louden and Alan Thompson clocked in a very smart 1st & 5th to jump from 5th overall to 2nd overall – a great performance with Gill & Twohig surprising themselves to finish third in the Championship with a 6th & 3rd.

Consistent performer of the day was surely Curly Morris and Laura McFarlane who racked up a 3rd and 2nd.

In the Silver Fleet, Sunday saw Peter & Stephen score steadily. But in the last race Gareth & Richard Gallagher threw caution to the wind, started at the pin and steadily drew away to a convincing win which lays down a marker for the future. These are boys to watch when they get the consistency sorted.

Martin & Vicki Dews took a closely fought Bronze fleet by taking a 13th in the last race which saw them win by a mere 2 points from Mathew Street who was on equal points with Jack Buttimer.

Peter Boyle continues to show promise among the youngsters in the fleet and in finishing 7th overall was the leading Youth sailor and so is the new GP 14 Leinster Youth Champion for 2017.

A great Championship sailed in great conditions by a great fleet of sailors and friends. Long may it continue.

Gold Fleet:
1. Fergus Barnham & Andy Hunter - Snettisham Beach and Nantwich Sailing Clubs
2. Keith Louden & Alan Thompson – The Irish Sailing Association
3. Hugh Gill & Conor Twohig – Sutton Dinghy Club

Silver Fleet:
1. Peter & Stephen Boyle – Sutton Dinghy Club
2. Gareth & Richard Gallagher – Lough Foyle Yacht Club
3. Doire Shiels & Graham Burns – Skerries Sailing Club

Bronze Fleet:
1. Martin & Vicki Dews – Donaghadee Sailing Club
2. Mathew Street & Rionn O’Hailaigh– Blessington Sailing Club
3. Jack Buttimer & Adam McDonagh – Youghal Sailing Club

Full results here

Published in GP14

The GP14 Ulster Championships took place over the weekend. The fleet were welcomed back to Newtownards Sailing Club by Michael Cox who organised an outstanding event. It felt more like Barbados than the Ards peninsula as we had the most glorious sunshine and temperatures in the mid-twenties all weekend writes Ossian Geraghty

On Saturday the wind was 10-15 Knots but moved several times during racing by up to 60 degrees at times, causing major headaches for PRO Ruan O’Tiarnaigh, who as we expected rose to the challenge and got three excellent full races sailed. Saturday's racing was dominated by Shane McCarthy crewed by Damien Bracken (Greystones Sailing Club) taking three bullets with the main scrap happening behind for second place.

On Sunday we had two additions to the fleet, JP and Carolyn McCaldin (LEYC/SYC) and Ger Owens crewed by Melanie Morris (RStGYC). Ger & Melanie turned up to embarrass the rest of the fleet with their performance on Sunday, winning all three races. In fact they were that far ahead the discussion in our boat centered around a scene from Father Ted, “Is that a small boat Ted? No its just far away”. It is high time Ger/Melanie shared their light weather upwind speed techniques with the rest of the fleet because it can’t be any fun being that far in front.

In race 2 on Sunday, the Gallagher brothers from Moville passed six boats from the first Windward mark and sailed through Shane McCarthy/Damien Braken and Alan Blay/David Johnson (SDYC) at the top of the fleet as though they were first stagers. The Gallagher’s are the boat to watch, up and coming stars, promotion to the Gold Fleet being a distinct possibility.

Overall winners of the weekend were McCarthy/Bracken, with Alan Blay/David Johnson second and Niall Henry/Ossian Geraghty (Sligo Yacht Club) in third overall.

No surprise that Gareth and Richard Gallagher took overall honours in the Silver Fleet also winning the Ulsters Youth event. Daire Shiels and Andrew Sexton (Skerries Sailing Club) took second overall in the silver fleet putting in a very consistent set of results over the weekend, with Peter Boyle crewed by General Pinochet, aka dad, in third.

In the Bronze Fleet, Josh & Catherine Porter (Newtownards Sailing Club) had to slug it out Geoff and Jane Murdoch also (NSC) with the Porters ultimately winning the Bronze Fleet.

A special thanks from the GP14 Class Association of Ireland to Newtownards Sailing Club, especially to organiser in chief, Michael Cox, PRO Ruan O’Tiarnaigh but also to all the volunteers who gave up their time in preparation and during the event, allowing all of us to go mess around in boats.

The next event on the GP14 Calendar is the Leinster Championships which is incorporated into the Dun Laoghaire Regatta, which takes place on 8th / 9th July 2017. The GP14 Class Association are looking forward to seeing you all there.

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Page 7 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.


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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