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The GP14 Riocard O'Tiarnaigh Challenge was again this year held at Swords Sailing and Boating Club on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of May. It was sailed as a combined event with the Purcell Trophy this year due to the 2016 World championships being held in Barbados at Easter. A warm welcome was given by the club to all competitors and their friendship and hospitality was extended thought the weekend, with their incredible race management on the water and their fantastic catering and ashore.

The results of the Purcell trophy were rolled over from the Saturday and used partly as qualifying for the Riocard O'Tiarnaigh Challenge final. A total of 7 races would be sailed for qualifying purposes with one discard to be used. After the Purcell event results were counted three shorter races with separate fleet starts were scheduled to be sailed on the Sunday morning.

Qualifying positions for the gold and silver fleets were wide open with a number of boats able to fill the four qualifying positions for each fleet.

In the first two races on the Sunday morning in the gold fleet Keith Louden and Alan Thompson took two race wins and Shane McCarthy & Damian Bracken took two second places. John & Donal McGuinness qualified in third place, this left the last place open and to be contested in the final race by three boats. Niall Henry and Ossian Geraghty took the race win and with other results going their way, they grabbed the final place. However they would later choose not to contest the final and pass on the final slot to Hugh Gill and Simon Revill.

The Silver fleet was just as hotly contested with the final places being decided in the final race of qualifying with Michael Cox and Josh Porter, Simon Jeffery and Alan Henry, Katie Dwyer and Michelle Rowley and Simon Cully and Richard Street all making it through.

The bronze fleet sailors Ian Nish and his crew Des, and Keith and Barbara Leonard who had already qualified, went out on Sunday morning to test out the conditions and get some practice in preparation for the final.

At lunch time the wind died away completely but when PRO Peter Smyth blew his whistle to signal end to lunch the wind duly obliged and within half an hour it had settled in to a steady force 3 in strength. However it was still shifting back and forth in direction, as it had done all weekend in preparation for the final.

The first race saw a great start by Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley and when they rounded the windward mark with a sizeable lead they could not be caught by Shane McCarthy & Damian Bracken, a result which would prove significant for the girls by the end of the day. John & Donal McGuinness crossed the line in third place.

Second race saw Shane McCarthy and Damian Bracken take an early lead which they would maintain to the end and with positions changing behind them Keith Louden & Alan Thompson took second and John & Donal McGuinness were third.

In the third and final race points counted double which meant any number of boats could still win the event, Keith Louden & Alan Thompson led at the windward mark and held on to that lead until the final leeward mark when they were passed by Shane Mc Carthy & Damien Bracken. Keith Louden & Alan Thompson finished second and Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley in third.

This result gave Shane McCarthy & Damien Bracken the Riocard O'Tiarnaigh Challenge win, Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley took second in a break of tie with Keith Louden & Alan Thompson in third place.

Published in GP14

The Irish GP 14 fleet returned to domestic competition at the weekend after a very enjoyable World Championship in Barbados over Easter, made all the more enjoyable when we had an Irish winner in Shane McCarthy & Andy Davis. Results are downloadable below.

The Purcell Championship hosted by Swords Sailing Club on Saturday 21st was sailed over four races. The first race saw our newly crowned world champion first at the weather mark and remained there for the rest of the race. With Keith Louden & Alan Thompson taking second and Hugh Gill with his new boat and new crew Simon Revill beginning to find some form in third.

Race 2 saw Shane & Damian round the weather mark in first followed closely by John & Donal McGuinness in second and Keith & Alan in third. On the second beat the wind shifted to right favouring the McGuinness brothers who were first to the weather mark and held it all the way to the finish. Shane & Damian took second followed by Keith & Alan in third.

Race 3 started with significantly less breeze than the morning races and saw the McGuinness Bros get to the weather mark first followed by Shane & Damian. With the breeze slowly dying the world champion showed his superior speed in light airs and passed John & Donal to leeward on the second reach and held the position to the finish. The McGuinness brothers were second with Richard Street & Simon Dickson in third.

Race 4 was sailed in a light-shifting breeze. Curley Morris & Laura McFarland lead at the weather mark with Richard Street & Simon Dickson in second followed by Shane & Damian. At the end of the of the first lap Keith & Alan were at the back end of the fleet but an inspired tack to the left at the start of the second beat paid dividend and put them in the top four at the weather mark. Next time around at the weather mark they had got themselves into second just behind Richard & Simon. With the race shortened and one leg to go it was a drag race to the finish with Keith & Alan coming out on top and finishing first with Curly & Laura in Second and Richard & Simon in third.
Shane & Damian retained the Purcell Championship with two first and a second. Keith & Alan’s dramatic comeback in the last race was enough to wrestle second place from John & Donal who finished third overall.
Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley took first overall in the silver closely followed by Michael Cox & Josh Porter in second and Cathal Sheridan & David Cooke taking third in the silver. Pat Savage and Linda Darby took first overall in the Bronze fleet while Bernie Grogan & Rosena Cuddy finished a credible second.

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The GP14 Ireland fleet kicks off its 2016 season with combined Purcell Trophy 2016 & O’Tiarnaigh Challenge from 21-22 May at Swords Sailing & Boating Club.

The first event will of course be sailed with the new Irish world champion among its numbers. Shane McCarthy, who was just named Afloat's 'Sailor Of The Month' for April, will be in attendance at the North Dublin venue.

The format is as follows:

Saturday 21 May 2016 (Purcell Trophy)
Four Races First Race 12.00noon
Lunches ashore, there will be a briefing before going afloat

Sunday 22 May 2016 (R O'Tiarnaigh Challenge)
Two/Three Races First Race 10.30.
Lunches ashore, there will be a briefing before going afloat
The Finals will as soon as possible after the selection of the 12 Finalist

The NOR is attached.

Published in GP14
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Shane McCarthy of Greystones is the Sailor of the Month (non-Olympic) for April following his stunning overall win in the GP 14 Worlds in Barbados. McCarthy was already on a roll after winning the British Opens in August last year at Brixham in Devon, a victory which in turn followed on a previous success in winning the Irish title. But his success in early April in the Worlds in Barbados – a win in which he was crewed by England’s Andy “Taxi” Davies – takes the Greystones sailor onto a new level of performance.

And it is in turn yet another feather in the cap of Greytones Sailing Club, which is rapidly moving up the index of top dinghy sailing clubs in Ireland. For McCarthy, the logistical challenge of getting a worthwhile campaign to the Caribbean was something which would have discouraged many club sailors. But thanks to the strong International GP14 Class organisation with a contingent of 22 boats and its spirit of mutual help and support, the Greystones skipper emerged in Barbados in exactly the right frame of mind and physical fitness to put in a textbook campaign for Gold to make him a very worthy Sailor of the Month for April 2016.

Published in Sailor of the Month

Ireland's GP14 World Champion helmsman Shane MacCarthy, who now holds a unique triple crown of Irish, UK and World titles was welcomed home this afternoon by Irish class president Stephen Boyle.

The full story of the Greystones Sailing Club sailors magnificent win in the West Indies is here and in the Irish Times here

Published in GP14
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Greystones Sailing Club is saluting its first ever world champions tonight as Shane MacCarthy and Andy Davis lift the GP14 Worlds Trophy on the far side of the Atlantic Ocean at the conclusion of the Barbados hosted week long dinghy championships.

With two races left to sail today any one of three crews could have won the world title but provisional results hand it to the Irish duo.  A 22-boat Irish contingent were celebrating the historic win at Barbados Yacht Club, the biggest event the West Indies club has ever held.

Official results were still awaited from organisers but Irish GP14 President Stehpen Boyle has been able to confirm the result for 

The 105–boat fleet was barely back on the beach in Barbados when the news broke in Wicklow that MacCarthy and sailmaker Davis had done enough for one of the most coveted UK and World dinghy titles. The Wicklow crew outwitted a number of multi–world champions to seize the trophy, Ireland's first GP14 World Title win since 1991.

Boyle told ‘This is a fantastic result for Irish dinghy sailing and the GP14 Class in particular. The GP14 World Championship epitomises what small boat racing is about; large scale participation, racing for all ages and levels, and razor sharp competition at the top end. We are absolutely delighted that Shane and Andy have brought the world title back to Ireland’.

While the other contenders for the title won individual races MacCarthy, the current UK and Irish Champion, sailed a very consistent series and was never outside the top three for the duration of the event. Moving into the latter part of championship with four races to go over Sunday & Monday, MacCarthy & Davis were tied in second place with British pair Ian Dobson & Andy Tunnicliffe on 15 points, both two points adrift of the leaders Craig and Lewis of Great Britain on 13 points.

MacCarthy and Davis are the third Irish name on to the Worlds trophy and the first from the Republic. The Fekkes Brothers from Larne in County Antrim last won it in 1991 and Bill Whisker and Jimmy McKee from Ballyholme in County Down were winners in 1975.

The massive championship was hotly contested with the Irish pair prevailing over a star studded field which included reigning five time GP14 World Champions Dobson & Tunnicliffe, former World Champion Neil Marsden, former UK National Champion Mike Senior and multi class World and European Champion Nick Craig sailing with Toby Lewis and widely recognised as Britain’s most successful amateur sailor.

Shane MacCarthy Andy Davis

Shane and Andy, the new GP14 World Champions from County Wicklow –– Photo: GP14 class

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Shane lifts the world championship trophy, the first Irish winners in a quarter of a century – Photo: Laura McFarland

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Never tasted so good – well earned beers in Barbados – Photo: Laura McFarland

22 crews from Ireland travelled to compete in the event which attracted competitors from Sri Lanka, North America, Australia, Barbados and United Kingdom.

Sunday proved decisive with MacCarthy & Davis making their bid for the title scoring a 1st and 2nd for the day to catapult them into the lead four points ahead of Dobson & Tunnicliffe with Craig & Lewis slipping back to third. It was still all to play for heading into Monday with two races to sail and 4 points separating the three crews who could win the prestigious world title but MacCarthy & Davis wrapped it up in Race 9 finishing second to Craig & Lewis with Dobson & Tunnicliffe forced back into 3rd. This is a first Irish win in this prestigious event since the Fekkes brothers in 1991.

John & Donal McGuinness (Moville SC) in 12th were next best Irish, followed by Lough Erne's JP & Carolyn McCaldin in 14th with Sligo YC Keith Louden & Alan Thompson in 20th.

The GP14 is one of Ireland's most popular two person racing dinghy classes and regularly attracts fleets of 40-50+ boats. 

Top 10
1st Shane McCarthy Andy Davies
2nd Ian Dobson Andy Tunnicliffe
3rd Nick Craig Tobytastic Lewis
4th Matt Burge Paul Childs
5th Mike Senior Chris White
6th Sam Watson Andy Thompson
7th Graham Flynn Adam Froggatt
8th Neil Marsden Derek Hill
9th Richard Instone Jim Toothill
10th Dave Young Nicola Booth

Team Ireland also took home two other special trophies. Brenda Niblock took the ladies helm prize. John & Donal McGuinness took the family prize.

Full results are here

Published in GP14

Wicklow sailors Shane McCarthy and Andrew Davis lead the GP14 Worlds in Barbados with two races to go but still any one of three can win the world title later today.

Lighter winds prevailed for Race seven and eight but unfortunately that meant a lot more holes and huge shifts in the air.

Race 7 got under way on time but big shifts caused a bad bend and the gate was restarted. All clean away with Shane & Taxi battling for the lead which they eventually took giving us another new race winner!

Second place was Graham Flynn & Adam Froggatt of Chase with a superb 3rd thrown in by Andrew Clewer & Mark Taylor of Poole YC. Dobson took 9th with Nick Craig seeing his not so best result of 11th.

Race 8 was started under very shifty conditions. So much so that the pathfinder Paul Owen & Sam Pickering of South Staffs were sent on the most massive header that the lined up fleet had to all go in reverse dramatically downwind to try to get behind the guard boat. Loads of boats were left floundering above the gate which then caused serious problems for those who had just about made it. The later gate starters (2mins+ gate left open for 3mins 30secs) were sunk. All sailed on up to the windward mark with many sailors flying red protest flags to protest the committee. A few rounded the windward mark and popped up their spinnakers when eventually (20mins later) the committee boat came up through the fleet and signalled for a restart!! Bit late considering the fleet had sailed the first full beat!

All took a bit of a while to get reassembled back down to the start line and we eventually got going again. Matt Burges & Paul Childs took the second win of the event followed by Shane & Andy, with Iain Dobson and Andy Tunicliffe in 3rd.

Top Ten after 7 races

1st Shane McCarthy Andy Davies 3 3 (9) 3 2 4 1 (25) 16
2nd Nick Craig Tobytastic Lewis5 2 3 2 6 1 (11) (30) 19
3rd Ian Dobson Andy Tunnicliffe2 1 6 (106 DNF) 1 5 9 (130) 24
4th Mike Senior Chris White 7 4 5 1 4 3 (12) (36) 24
5th Matt Burge Paul Childs 1 5 8 11 7 2 (29) (63) 34
6th Sam Watson Andy Thompson 4 15 (25) 4 3 15 4 (70) 45
7th Richard Instone Jim Toothill 12 18 1 (42) 8 7 5 (93) 51
8th Graham Flynn Adam Froggatt 13 (30) 14 20 9 6 2 (94) 64
9th Neil Marsden Derek Hill 17 13 2 (33) 5 10 23 (103) 70
10th Gary Deighan Dale Knowles (28) 12 7 9 16 18 8 (98) 70

After 8 races, results are here

Published in GP14

Ireland's Shane McCarthy and Andy Davis are placed third two points adrift of leaders Nick Craig and Toby Lewis of Great Britain after six races of a scheduled eleven in the 105 boat GP14 World Championships in Barbados.

In a hotly contested championship McCarthy, the reigning UK and Irish Champion, has sailed a very consistent series scoring 3,3,(9),3,2,4 to tie on 15 points with second placed and current World Champions Iain Dobson and Andy Tunnicliffe of Burwain Sailing Club.

30–knot winds with big swells Thursday saw some casualties amongst the leaders with Dobson and Tunnicliffe forced to retire with a broken rudder and former Fireball World Champion Matt Burge dropping from 1st to 11th in Race 4 after his rudder parted company from the boat. Race 5 was abandoned as conditions worsened.

Friday’s two races saw McCarthy & Davis scoring a solid six for the day matching Dobson & Tunniclffe as best performers on the water and leaving them within striking distance of Craig & Lewis as the championship moves into its final two days of racing on Sunday after todays scheduled lay day.

With four races left to sail and a second discard to be applied McCarthy and Davis will need to maintain their consistency and most probably post a race win if they are going to close the gap on Craig & Lewis. Dobson & Tunnicliffe, the only crew to win two races, are still very much in contention but the DNF in Race 4 leaves little margin of error for the current champions. It looks like this one may go down to wire on Monday but today will tell a tale with the top four crews in the frame at this point.

Leaders after six races:
1. Nick Craig & Toby Lewis (GBR) 13 pts
2. Iain Dobson & Andy Tunnicliffe (GBR) 15 pts
3. Shane McCarty & Andy Daviss (IRL) 15 pts
4. Mike Senior & Chris White (GBR) 17 pts
13. Keith Louden & Alan Thomson (Sligo Yacht Club)
15. John & Donal McGuiness (Moville Boat Club)

Race 1 – 6 Results here.

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Bloomin' windy in the West Indies – gusting up to 30–knots during the race writes Irish crew Laura McFarland about race four of the GP14 World Championships in Barbados yesterday. 

Only one race was sailed due to the very strong winds and the fleet battered its way up the first beat then the choice was on for mad enough to fly a kite or not. Mad enough was Paddy O'Connor & Brendan Brogan who moved from 30th to 5th after the 2 reaches. Only to regret it on the way down the run when they just flew too close to the wind and had their kite burnt with a gust that put them in the drink.

Other technical failures unfortunately were with Dobson & Tunicliffe. A busted rudder early in the first race meant they had to abandon their race, dash to shore, get a replacement rudder and get out for the second race which did not happen.

Leading Irish hope for the world title, Shane McCarthy and Andy Davis on the other hand had a grand old day with another third. Sam Watson & Andy Thompson bunged in a happy 4th - get it folks??!! JP & Carolyn McCaldin worked their butts off and got a 5th - Carolyn has the bruises to prove it! Keith Louden & Alan Thompson as pathfinder held their way and finished a great 6th.


No overall results so far

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Ireland stays in contention at the GP14 worlds in Bardbados this week but the lack of official results from the Barbado Yacht Club is possibly best explained by today's layday after last night's Rum party. The overall position after race three is unlcear but Irish updates as follows:

Race 2 

British Open Champion Shane McCarthy from Greystones Sailing Club has added a third to yesterday's third with Wicklow clubmate Norman Lee finishing sixth to add to his tenth on Monday. Current World Champion Ian Dobson won the morning race to add to his second in race one and topped the leaderboard. Following a 16th in Monday's first race, Sutton Dinghy Club's Alan Blay finished 28th in the first of yesterday's two races. 

Race 3
Top Irish in race three was John & Donal McGuinness from Moville in County Donegal. Shane McCarthy finished ninth with Keith Louden in tenth. JP McCaldin was 15th and Alan Blay 19th with Norman Lee 30th. Ian Dobson finished sixth with the race won by Richard Instone, a former Irish and British Champion, ahead of former GP14 World Champion Neil Marsden with Nick Craig in third.

A short update from Laura McFarland (GP14Ireland Class Secretary) and crewing for Curly Morris.

Day 2 - Races 2 & 3
Very similar racing conditions - swelling sea, big gusts with oscillating winds. First gate start of race 2 had to be abandoned as the guard boat got 'stuck'. Pathfinder Norman Lee had to keep going through the fleet with no guard boat - he survived with no damage. Didn't take too long to get going again. Ian Dobson & Andy Tunnicliffe took their first race of the championship. Shane Mac Carthy & Andy Davies took another 3rd. Norman Lee & Kevin Martyn took an excellent 6th.
Race 3 was again a bouncing start with Barbadians Jason Tindale & Robert Povey as pathfinder. The gate was stopped at bang on 3 minutes and closed at 4 leaving a few put out of the race and having to sail home early. Richard Instone & Jim Toothill had a terrible start having to go behind boats to get a gap into the gate. It forced them away from the fleet but happily onto a very sweet lift that put them in first position into the windward mark which he held to the finish. John & Donal McGuiness took a 4th which they are over the moon about as Donal's back was full of pain killers the day before. Shane & Andy took a 9th position leaving them 4th overall.


:gp14 barbados results


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Page 9 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. 

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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