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19 GP14 from all over Ireland gathered at Cullaun Co. Clare over the weekend of 5-6th November for the last busy year event of 2022 with the Munster Championship at stake.

There was a super turnout of crews from all generations and family combinations from Cullaun, Skerries, Sutton, Tralee, Newtownards, Sligo, Greystones, and Blessington. 

The first race start involved a general recall which put manners on everyone and was won by Skerries Coleman Grimes/John Chambers (back to GP14 sailing after a long sabbatical), closely followed by Greystones Norman Lee and Alan Leddy with Steven and Daniel Nelson from Newtownards grabbing third.

While line honours went to Grimes and Chambers for the second race, there was a reported OCS, the second race went to the Lee-Alan pairing with Conor Galligan (new to GP14 fleet) and Adam Leddy youths snatching 2nd from Rob Lee and Steven Lynch in their new boats.

In very shifty conditions, by sometimes over 40 degrees in gusts, and with an infinite number of tacks needed per windward leg, the third race went to the Grimes and Chambers team by a country mile, with second place going to a resurgent Rob Lee and Steven Lynch followed by Steven and Daniel Nelson just pipping the Galligan and Leddy youth boat.

In mild conditions on Saturday before a forecasted blowout for Sunday, the race officers ran an extra 4th race which again went to the Colman and John team with the second bell going to Steven and Daniel Nelson beating Rob Lee/Steven Lynch into third.

Overnight the Grimes/Chambers boat was ahead of Norman Lee/Alan Leddy on joint 2nd with the Nelson father & son pairing and Rob Lee/Steven Lynch squads. 

Fortunately, the impending bad weather held off just long enough for the race officer to run two snappy races on Sunday morning with a nice long square line.

There was some carnage at the first windward mark, with port tacking approaches by the Grimes/Chambers and Norman Lee/Alan Leddy boats being shut out by the long line of conservative starboard tackers. After a quiet first day, Katie Dwyer/Laura Fitzpatrick then led for the first time before a rounding incident meant turns and the pair dropping back out of contention.

This allowed the Rob Lee/Steven Lynch crew to take the first race by a massive lead ahead of Grimes/Chambers in 2nd, with Steven and Daniel Nelson grabbing 3rd just ahead of the emerging talents of the Sam Street and Josh Lloyd youth combination from Blessington

GP14 Munster Silver Fleet & Youth Winners Conor Galligan & Adam Leddy at Cullaun Sailing ClubGP14 Munster Silver Fleet & Youth Winners Conor Galligan & Adam Leddy at Cullaun Sailing Club

The last race of the event in light conditions before a downpour was a tight shoot-out between the Grimes/Chambers boat versus the Norman Lee/Alan Leddy combination all the way to the finish line with the Greystones seniors just holdoff to snatch the win. A very strong 3rd place was snatched by the leading female boat of Katie Dwyer/Laura Fitzpatrick from Sutton.

All Female crew Katie Dwyer & Laura Fitzpatrick at the GP14 Munster Championships at Cullaun Sailing ClubAll Female crew Katie Dwyer & Laura Fitzpatrick at the GP14 Munster Championships at Cullaun Sailing Club

There were some great family rivalries throughout the event, with family members competing across all fleets. Rob Lee showed his old man how to do it in the gold fleet with Sam Street in the silver and Denis Cully and Daithi and Aaron Murphy in the bronze, doing the same.

GP14 Munster Championships Bronze Fleet winners Denis Cully and Ossian Geraghty at Cullaun Sailing ClubGP14 Munster Championships Bronze Fleet winners Denis Cully and Ossian Geraghty at Cullaun Sailing Club

Denis Cully set the Bronze fleet pace with Ossian Geraghty crewing for him by running away with the first place. Max Cully/Tadgh Wardell started the event tied with Des and Pat (Cullaun) and Jennifer and Lara (Newtownards) for second overall for the season Bronze League but there was no stopping them and they held on to second in the bronze fleet with relative ease and much singing (although their rendition of never going to give you up may have been a tactical manoeuvre to scare others away from them). This secured them a second place for the season also.

GP14 Munsters Championships at Cullaun Sailing Club

1. Colman Grimes & John Chambers (Skerries)
2. Robert Lee & Stephen Lynch (Greystones)
3. Norman Lee & Alan Leddy (Greystones)
1. Conor Galligan & Adam Leddy (Greystones)
2. Sam Street & Josh Lloyd (Blessington)
3. Simon Cully & Libby Tierney (Blessington)
1. Denis Cully & Oisin Geraghty (Blessington)
2. Max Cully & Tadgh Wardell (Blessington)
3. Des McMahon & Pat Biesty (Cullaun)
Leading Youth
1. Conor Galligan & Adam Leddy (Greystones)

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So many factors came into play for the 75th Anniversary of the Champions’ Cup (aka the Helmsman’s Championship or the All-Ireland) in GP 14s at Sutton Dinghy Club on October 8th/9th that its weather-imposed compression into a one-day series made for a very intense mix. It went right to the wire, but defending champion Ger Owens (who won in National 18s in Crosshaven in 2021).

His regular GP14 partner Mel Morris of Newtownards SC (her father Curly Morris of East Antrim BC won in 1967) moved smoothly into their dynamic duo routine.

As the sun set on a deceptively gentle evening which was the calm before the storm, the salver that now thinks it’s a cup was theirs for the taking.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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The GP14 youth championships looked set to be a great event, running alongside the Hot Toddy, which still attracted an excellent turnout for the time of year writes Ross Kearney

The weather forecast potentially put a few off, with Saturday looking like a blowout. 16 youths turned up to challenge for the title of Youth champion; great to see many new faces trying out the GP for the first time. Unfortunately, the weather experts were right, and PRO Sam Lyness made the decision to cancel the Saturday racing for the youth sailors, a sensible decision as the wind got up to 30 kts at the end of the 2nd race and 35kts when coming ashore.

Sunday morning dawned, 10kts and a flat sea was a very welcome sight for all of the sailors. The Youths Championships, now reduced to a two-race event set off in lovely conditions. First out of the blocks were GP14 youth stalwarts Peter Boyle sailing with dad Stephen. Mark Greer & Adrian Lee, Jessica Greer & John Greer, and David (U16) & Jon Evans all hot on their heels around the windward mark. At the first gybe mark, the top boats were all bunched together, leaving a gap for the chasing pack to sneak into.

Big breeze for the GP14 youth championships and Hot toddy event in NewtownardsBig breeze for the GP14 youth championships and Hot toddy event in Newtownards

Bobby Driscoll & Ross Kearney managed to get inside and sail into 2nd place after chasing down Mark & Adrian. After plenty of place changing and many close battles throughout, Mark& Adrian took the win followed by Bobby & Ross, Sam Street & Josh Lloyd recovering well for 3rd, Peter& Stephen 4th and Jessica & John in 5th.

Race 2 got away shortly after, the wind starting to drop to 6-7kts. The fleet was battling for every inch, with excellent boat handling on show. Bobby & Ross led the fleet, followed closely by Sam & Josh. Following very tight cover tacks, and a nail-biting finish, Bobby & Ross managed to just pip the ever-impressive Sam & Josh to the Dobson, despite Ross deciding to roll backwards following a final roll tack for the finish line. (Those helms really do need to practise the art of crewing). In 3rd place was Ollie Lloyd sailing with Dan Gill, with the Boyles in 4th and Jessica and John Greer in 5th.

This gave the Youth title to a very impressive Bobby Driscoll from RNIYC, a runner-up at the recent Topper worlds in Garda. Bobby not only won the overall trophy but did so at 16 years of age. Sam Street and Josh Lloyd were a close second, followed by Peter Boyle in 3rd.

Second in the U19 was Jessica Greer, with David Evans the U16 runner-up, who, by the way, also helmed the four Hot Toddy races and won the Bronze fleet. With the switch over to the seniors for the final Hot Toddy races, it was great to see so many of the youths taking a turn at the back of the boat to gain excellent experience for future years sailing in the larger fleet.

Download results below

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GP14 champion Ger Owens reports on October's Hot Toddy event at Newtownards Sailing Club

Newtownards was the venue for the GP14 annual Hot Toddy event. Last year's event at East Antrim was barely sailable yet despite the weekend's forecast, 32 boats arrived at Newtownards for the Hot Toddy for what was going to be a hotly contested event. With the Worlds earlier in the year, our event calendar had seen some alterations with our traditional end-of-year event, the Hot Toddy now coupled with the Youth Championship, so everyone was in good spirits. The format would be two Hot Toddy races followed by two Youth races on Saturday with the order switched on Sunday.

When we arrived to rig we were greeted with calmer conditions than the forecast but the apprehension on shore was palpable. I was approached to provide my opinion in relation to the weather and our prospects for getting racing, I gladly said we shouldn’t race. Sam Lyness our race officer listened intently and decided a prompt start was in order, we launched and very quickly it was apparent the wind was building.

Race 1 saw Shane McCarthy motor away, relishing the conditions closely contested by Ross. I struggle to recall the exact placings as I mixed up the starting flags and was late for the start by approx 1 minute if my timing was correct, I watched from a distance and admired Paddy O'Connor taking third, beaming from ear to ear only to be out grinned by Simon Cully & Richard Street in fourth. Back in the chasing pack, we had a great ding-dong with Hugh Gill, who gave no quarter. We were very happy to have climbed back up to 7th. Race 2 was quickly underway, but we were wise to this wily race officer's tricks and stayed close to the committee to get the gun.

It made little to no difference, we had decided the annual ferocious blow that is the Hot Toddy was getting too much for us, the gun went, and we headed for home. Ironically the race was shortened, and the leaders were almost home before us, not before Shane and Josh had won their second race and our sparring partner from race 1, Hugh and Dan in second. By this time, the PRO had already decided that there would be no Youth racing that afternoon. With the wind now gusting to 30kts, the dwindling fleet was struggling to make it around even the shortest of race courses, but those that managed to were rewarded with a hot toddy once back on shore. There was a team of volunteers catching boats and helping us land safely, which was no mean feet with the heavy winds and big waves. A big shout out to those Youth who had also raced in the senior Hot Toddy races. For many, it was conditions they certainly hadn't encountered, and most wore grins from ear to ear.

Dinner was at the Club that evening and with a better weather forecast for the following day, the days racing didn't seem so tough, especially with a glass of the Hot Toddy.

Sunday morning dawned and we were to head to Newtownards right after Eva’s (Mels 5yr old daughter) 50th park run. Once in Newtownards, we stayed on shore chatting amongst ourselves. Slowly we made our way out for the start of race 3 not before seeing Bobby Driscoll and Sam Street in a tacking duel up the last beat of the youths. A big cheer went up before the finish line when expert crew Ross Kearney took a tumble out of the boat in a particularly aggressive roll tack. Bobby recovered and managed to clinch the victory.

Basking in the fact that several of the fleet had sailed 2 races while I slept gave me a warm feeling for the days racing. The full tank and the lighter conditions was a tremendous relief and we managed to get near the front; Shane had to do a spin at the weather mark, which would have slowed anyone else. Peter and Stephen we holding on to a tight lead with ourselves and Ross in hot pursuit!!! (Hot Toddy!!!). Peter stretched his lead and his leverage on the fleet which opened a very small window for yours truly to close the gap, Peter managed for a long while two close boats and the rest of the fleet around what was to be a large racecourse. Peter found himself isolated on the right of the racecourse which gave 2 and 3 the opportunity to slip through. A brilliant tight race that saw Shane climb back to fifth.

Winners Shane McCarthy (right) and Josh Porter with GP14 Hot Toddy event organiser Lara SundayWinners Shane McCarthy (right) and Josh Porter with GP14 Hot Toddy event organiser Lara Sunday

Ross and Shane were neck and neck with 7 points each heading into the final race. Boats that could extricate themselves successfully from the strong pin-end bias found themselves, front runners, at the weather mark. Keith was the standout performance and was revelling in the dying breeze. Shane secured the title of Hot Toddy champion with a second place. Newtownards were amazing hosts putting on an amazing spread and a fantastic team of wonderful volunteers. Event organiser Lara Sunday kept the energy up throughout the week in the lead-up to the event and over the weekend.

Download results below

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The 2022 "Champion's Cup" took place at Sutton Dinghy Club over the weekend, marking the 75th anniversary of the event.

Much has been written and spoken of what was formerly the Helmsman's Championship in the last few weeks, but for the GP14 Class in Ireland, it was an honour to be asked to run the event in conjunction with Sutton Dinghy Club.

The Club itself has a strong connection to the event, and with a strong GP14 fleet, the pressure was on to ensure a great weekend.

The GP14 representative was National Champion Shane MacCarthy, with Ger Owens also selected as the holder of the event. Jane Kearney received a Female wildcard entry with a superb season of top finishes in both the GP14 Worlds and the GP14 National Championship.

Former Class President Stephen Boyle organised a very strong fleet of 10 borrowed GP14s, and with the help and support of Andy Davis in HD Sails, the fleet was all dressed in brand-new Genoas for the event. With 16 helms selected, two flights of 8 were prepared with two spare boats available in the event of gear failure of damage. The boats were gathered in Sutton the week prior to the event and duly rigged, checked and fitted out with new sails ready for practice on Friday. However, the wind gods looked to intervene, and the practice was cancelled, with winds gusting up to 27kts all day. The broader forecast also started to cast doubt on the ability to run the event over the two scheduled days. While Saturday was set fair for a south southwest 12 to 15 kts, Sunday looked decidedly dodgy, with all the forecasts showing 20kts gusting up to 30kts right through to the early afternoon.

A strong fleet of 10 borrowed GP14s were used at the Champions' Cup at Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: AfloatA strong fleet of 10 borrowed GP14s were used at the Champions' Cup at Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: Afloat

With the tide a key consideration in Sutton, the PRO for the event Michael Conway and his team of Jim Lambkin, Stephen Boyle and Emmet Dalton gathered on Friday afternoon with a view to figuring out how to ensure an event could be garnered from possibly a single days racing. By early Friday evening and after liaising with Met Eireann, the call was made to focus on completing the event on Saturday.

Despite ditching the repechage element, the race management team still set themselves the goal of completing up to 10 races. This would include slick launch and recovery as well as quick turnaround of races and boat exchanges between flights. No easy feat considering the tidal window. But with support from Jim Lambkin, Scorie Walls, and Gordon Davies, Michael was confident of getting the event concluded.

Former All Ireland Champion Michael O'Connor representing the SB20 class sailing with Michelle Rowley at Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: AfloatFormer All Ireland Champion Michael O'Connor representing the SB20 class sailing with Michelle Rowley at Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: Afloat

Saturday dawned, and following an early registration and briefing, the boat draw for Flight 1 & Flight 2 was made. Flight 1 included former GP14 World Champion Shane MacCarthy, Barry McCartin (Fireballs), former Champion Michael O’Connor (SB20), Darragh Sheridan (RS Aero), former Champion and Olympian Peter Kennedy (Flying Fifteen), Olympic campaigner Aoife Hopkins (ILCA 6), Jocelyn Hill (RS200) and Rob Espey (RS400).

Tokyo 2020 Radial Trialists in the Laser Radial, Aisling Keller (left) and Aoife Hopkins competing in the Champions Cup off Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: AfloatTokyo 2020 Radial Trialists in the Laser Radial, Aisling Keller (left) and Aoife Hopkins competing in the Champions Cup off Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: Afloat

Flight 2 comprised of holder and three-time Olympic Campaigner Ger Owens, Cameron Good (Dragons), Jane Kearney (GP14), David Dickson (Shannon One Design), John O’Driscoll (Water Wag), Ian Travers (Squibs), Tadgh O’Loinsigh (J24) and Niamh Henry (Team Racing).

Flight 1 certainly looked tough draw considering the presence of former Champions, Olympians and World Championship podium placers.

RS Aero Champion's Cup representatives Daragh Sheridan and lead a bunch of boats into a leeward mark at Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: AfloatRS Aero Champion's Cup representatives Daragh Sheridan and lead a bunch of boats into a leeward mark at Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: Afloat

The 3 races were completed in Flight 1 with very close and tight racing with no obvious boat bias. With an average race time of 30min, the PRO team were confident of getting through the schedule, which would hopefully see four races in the final. An OCS was not the start that Shane MacCarthy was looking for in Race 1 but he recovered with a 1st and 2nd to give himself a chance to make the final. With no discard, his progression would be down to results throughout the Flight. With Dan Gill crewing, Darragh Sheridan posted three consistent results to lead the flight after three races. However, a couple of on-the-water penalties applied incidents saw Barry McCartin and Rob Espey seal the top 3 spots, with Shane MacCarthy taking fourth, just squeezing out Peter Kennedy.

Flight 2 again saw tight starts and close and even racing through the fleet. The wind had started to drop a little, and Ger Owens began to show his boat handling and experience and took three bullets to take him easily through to the final. Behind him, the battle for the final three final slots was fierce with Niamh Henry using her boat handling and team racing skills to work her way into 2nd. A battling 2nd place in the final race was enough to ensure Jane Kearney made it to the final, with John O’Driscoll completing the finalists.

Robert Espey and Richard McCullough representing the RS400s at the Champion's Cup at Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: AfloatRobert Espey and Richard McCullough representing the RS400s at the Champion's Cup at Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: Afloat

With on the water boat allocation and switching complete, the PRO attempted to get the final underway. However, some adjustments on a couple of rigs saw a short delay, with the first of 4 races finally getting underway shortly before 3 pm.

And what a final we were treated to. 4 clean and tight starts saw most of the finalists in the top 3 at some stage over the first 2 legs of each race with rarely more than a couple of boat lengths between 1st and 8th. Shane MacCarthy took the first 2 races legs after close battles with Ger Owens but thereafter the face of the final started to change. While Shane MacCarthy, Barry McCartin and Ger Owens had all shown incredible speed upwind, both Jane Kearney and Rob Espey started to finds the gears downwind and exert an influence on where thew title would go. In Race 3 Ger and Shane battled it out up front till the last downwind leg where both Jane Kearney and Barry McCartin managed to squeeze between Ger and Shane, leaving a one point difference between the pair.

GP14 National Champion Shane McCarthy and Josh Porter round a leeward mark at the Champions' Cup at Sutton Dinghy ClubGP14 National Champion Shane McCarthy and Josh Porter round a leeward mark at the Champions' Cup at Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: Afloat

The 4th race saw another close and tight start with Barry McCartin and Shane MacCarthy looking good up the first beat. On the downwind, Rob Espey first picked up the stronger breeze and worked his way into the lead. With Jane Kearney and Barry McCartin now also finding great speed and looking to try and secure a podium, Shane looked to be covering Ger when a port starboard incident resulted in penalty turns.

Fireball sailors Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella competing at the Champion's Cup in Sutton Photo: AfloatFireball sailors Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella competing at the Champion's Cup in Sutton Photo: Afloat

This now left Ger in the driving seat and he successfully secured the title with a 4th place finish. Up ahead Rob Espey continued to lead the race with Jane Kearney battling Barry McCartin for the result they both felt would get them on the podium. Jane Kearney managed to squeeze past Barry McCartin around the last leeward mark and clock up a second 2nd place finish. However, 2nd place overall was still not decided. The incident pushed Shane MacCarthy to the back of the fleet and his chance of the title had disappeared. However he was not finished and quickly recovered a spot. If he could recover one more spot, he would still have a chance to take 2nd overall. Despite a late surge, he could not get past Darragh Sheridan, which meant Jane Jearney had taken 2nd overall by a point from Shane MacCarthy in 3rd. Barry McCartin, after a superb event, was a further point back in 4th.

2022 "Champion's Cup" results2022 "Champion's Cup" results

With the time now almost 5 pm and tide well out now, walking and pulling the GP14s up the Creek and across the sand bar was the order of the day.  A great day's sailing had ended late, but the PRO team had managed to complete the full schedule. The tired fleet retired to Sutton Dinghy Club for a quick change and more photographs before dinner and prize-giving in the Marine Hotel.

Sutton Dinghy Club on the north shore of Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatSutton Dinghy Club on the north shore of Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

Marking the occasion of the 75th anniversary, stories were recounted about the beginnings of this iconic event as told by Afloat's WM Nixon here and welcomed a number of past Champions, including David Gay (1975), Robert Dix (1970), Chris Arrowsmith (1979), Anthony O’Leary ( 2014 & 2015), Gerry Sargent (1962), Tom Fitzpatrick (1994, 1997, 1998 & 2004), Alex Barry (2016), Laura Dillon (1996) and Mark Mansfield (1990 & 1999).

Commodore Ciara O’Tiarnaigh also welcomed the past Champions and thanked all the Club volunteers who helped make the event such a huge success.

Ger and Mel with GP14 Ireland President, Andy Johnston Ger and Mel with GP14 Ireland President, Andy Johnston (centre) Photo: Sutton DC

Ger Owens with Mel Morris accepted the silver salvers. Despite having won the event a number of times, it was clear this was a special occasion for Ger. Winning the event with Mel, his regular crew for over 20 years, in a GP14 and on the 75th anniversary. It couldn't get any better, could it? He vowed to be back to defend his title and attempt to go for three in a row, which Nin O’Leary had previously only accomplished. Another victory would also see him join Tom Fitzpatrick as only the second sailor to win it four times. 

GP14 calendar

The GP14 Ireland fleet moves to Newtownards Sailing Club next week for the Hot Toddy & Youth Championship. The word is that Ger, Shane and Jane will all be present. We expect a good fleet in this penultimate event of what has been a tremendous season for the GP14 fleet in Ireland.

The final event sees us move to Cullaun in November in what is fast becoming one of the stand-out favourites of the fleet.

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Ireland's top GP14 dinghy sailors ruled the waves at the annual Helmsmans' Championships, rebranded as the Champions' Cup for this year's 75th edition, at Sutton Dinghy Club on Saturday.

The defending title holder Ger Owens of the Royal St George Yacht Club, won the one-day series – being sailed in GP14s – in which 16 of Ireland’s best sailors competed for the silver salver trophy.

Owens, a three-time Olympian in the 470 dinghy, was defending the title he won last year when the event was sailed in the three-man National 18 dinghy at Royal Cork. This year, he won the event with Melanie Morris, his long-standing crew of 23 years.

16 invited helmsman competed in the 2022 Champions' Cup at Sutton Dinghy Clu  Above, Flying Fiffteen pairing Peter and Juliette Kennedy (13977) take the pin of a start in the qualifying rounds Photo: Afloat16 invited helmsmen competed in the 2022 Champions' Cup at Sutton Dinghy Club. Above, Flying Fifteen pairing Peter and Juliette Kennedy (13977) take the pin end of a start in the qualifying rounds Photo: Afloat

A two-day competition format was squeezed into Saturday, due to the adverse weather conditions forecast for Sunday.

Conditions were ideal for the racing, with westerly winds up to ten knots in the north of Dublin Bay.

Two qualifying fleets raced from mid-morning to decide the eight finalists, which then sailed a four-race finals series.

GP14 sailors were well represented in the competition that controversially did not include invitations to other classes such as the ICRA and 1720 sportsboat fleets.

Current GP14 national champion Shane MacCarthy, a former world champion, appeared unstoppable by winning the first two races, while Owens was second in both.

Current GP14 national champion Shane MacCarthy sailing with Josh Porter in the 2022 Champion's Cup at Sutton Dinghy ClubCurrent GP14 national champion Shane MacCarthy sailing with Josh Porter in the 2022 Champion's Cup at Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: Afloat

Then Dun Laoghaire sailor Owens (Royal St George YC) won the next race, and the stage was set for a final race showdown.

This saw Owens duelling MacCarthy (Greystones SC), who was slightly ahead, and a match race was in prospect until the Wicklow sailor was penalised for not giving way to another boat.

The supplied GP14 dinghies approach a start at the 2022 Champions's Cup at Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: AfloatThe supplied GP14 dinghies approach a start at the 2022 Champions's Cup at Sutton Dinghy Club Photo: Afloat

Owens slipped ahead into fourth place, enough to secure the championship, while MacCarthy dropped back to seventh place in the race and third overall.

Champions' Cup winners Ger Owens and Mel Morris pictured here competing in a GP14 class Championships Photo: AfloatChampions' Cup winners Ger Owens and Mel Morris pictured here competing in a GP14 class event Photo: Afloat

Jane Kearney, with her husband Ross Kearney of Royal North of Ireland YC, took second overall in the GP14 domination of the event.

2022 Champions's Cup overall results2022 Champions's Cup overall results

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There is no shortage of GP14 expertise in Sutton on Dublin Bay this weekend when the Helmsmans Championships, formerly the 'Champion of Champions' and 'All Ireland' Sailing Championships now to be known as the 'Champions' Cup' gets underway in the two-man dinghy. 

The event sees sixteen competitors from different classes compete to find sailing’s “champion of champions”. Despite coming from a wide range of one design classes, the competitors race against each other in a selected boat type that will see the GP14 in action this year. 

GP14 ace Ger Owens will look to retain his title, won at Crosshaven last year. He will be joined by Shane MacCarthy, the current GP14 National Champion and Jane Kearney, GP14 leading Female Helm in 2022.

The GP14 interest doesn't end there, with Michelle Rowley crewing for SB20 representative Michael O'Connor and Dan Gill crewing for Darragh Sheridan representing the RS Aero Class. 

Each of the 16 competitors (below) has been nominated as a result of their achievements and rankings for the year.

Racing will consist of two “flights” or heats. The top three from each flight go straight into the final. The remaining competitors who placed 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th compete in a 2-race qualifier or “repêchage”, and the top two also enter the Final. The final race on Sunday, therefore, has eight teams competing.

The full list of competitors are: 

2022 Champions’ Cup invitees at Sutton Dinghy Club2022 Champions’ Cup invitees at Sutton Dinghy Club

The 75th Champions’ Cup will be hosted by Sutton Dinghy Club this weekend, October 8th & 9th, but doubts are already expressed over Sunday's schedule due to weather

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There can have been few things more dispiriting in recent years than being in the key role in organising a major international sporting event in Ireland as it hung in the balance in the face of changing pandemic restrictions. Yet Colman Grimes, the central figure in staging the GP14 Worlds in Skerries, kept everyone’s sprits up despite uncertainties and changes of date from pre-2020 onwards. And when the dates were finally set for the latter half of the 2022 season, he was first to step up to the plate, putting in his own boat in as Entry #1.

It’s not unknown for an organiser to take part in the racing, but it’s very rare with a fleet of 106 boats putting pressure on venue and organisers alike. Yet he had great support in his crew Ross Gingles, and this big event not only dealt successfully with some difficult racing days, but the Grimes-Gingle combo worked so well afloat that they came in fifth overall, first of all the Irish boats and ahead of other impressive opposition up to Olympic standard. It was a remarkable performance afloat and ashore.

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With the GP14 World Championships less than a month behind us, many of the Irish sailors would be forgiven for taking their foot off the gas writes Andy Johnston.

But with the arrival of autumn, the GP14 Ireland fleet moved to Mullingar Sailing Club and Lough Owel last weekend for their Leinster Championships. And while not en-masse, a turnout of 35 boats is not to sneeze at. The event did see plenty of changed crew lineups with also the return of some past regulars. Great to see at this end of the season.

Last year's winners Ger Owens & Mel Morris were here having missed a couple of events this season but surely wouldn't have it all their own way with a stellar fleet that included 3 Olympians and the top Irish helms from the recent GP14 and Fireball World Championships.

Curly Morris and Ger Owens were joined on the start line by 2021 Olympian Rob Dickson. It was a bit of a busman's holiday away from the busy 49er circuit for Rob, who was catching up with his buddies and GP14 regulars Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter. The GP14 is not wholly unfamiliar, as Rob has done a number of GP14 events in the last couple of years.

Top Fireball duo Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella from the Royal St. George Yacht Club at the GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing ClubTop Fireball duo Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella from the Royal St. George Yacht Club at the GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing Club

With next month's Champions Cup in Sutton Dinghy Club being sailed in GP14, two of the GP14 Classes representatives were hoping to get much-needed time on the water. Ger Owens and Jane Kearney will be joined next month by Shane MacCarthy in what is the 75th Anniversary of the event.

Robert Dickson and Matthew Runswick from Howth at GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing ClubRobert Dickson and Matthew Runswick from Howth at GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing Club

Colman Grimes, who finished 5th at the recent GP14 Worlds in Skerries, is joined by another star Worlds performer in Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella, who finished on the podium at the Lough Derg Fireball Worlds last month. Barry is a nominee for the Champions Cup, so having never sailed a GP14, the Mullingar event is a chance to get some time on the water.

The forecast was for very light conditions and particularly on the Saturday so PRO Jim Lambkin had the fleet on the water promptly with expectations that the best chance for racing was early in the day and getting 35 boats to the race course was in itself a challenge.

Race 1 got underway in 5-6knotss, the fleet away cleanly. The first leg saw a number of boats, including Jane Kearney, Niall Henry, local Alan Pinder & Ross Kearney, all crossing closely on the first beat, but it was Blessingtons Simon Cully & Libby Tierney who were first to weather mark. A massive shout could be heard, the pair delighting in the feat but then showed great skill and patience in continuing to lead through the triangle and sausage and, with a shortened course held off Ger Owens & Mel Morris to take their first ever race win. The celebration was epic with the famous Lough Owel trout joined by the Blessington helm.

"A stellar fleet included three Olympians and the top Irish helms from the recent GP14 and Fireball World Championships"

Race 2 saw an initial abandonment when a big wind shift caused a surge on the line with 10 seconds to go. Our PRO had the fleet back in sequence in very quick time and the race was finally underway with Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty showing early ahead of Ross KearneKearney & Katie Dwyer. With the wind gone very light again, the PRO shortened the courses after the sausage, however, an OCS meant Ross & Katie get the gun with John & Donal McGuinness taking 2nd ahead of Colman Grimes & Samuel Wray. At that stage it certainly looked like no more racing for the day.

Patience is a virtue and having moved the Committee boat a little further down the lake, the PRO had the fleet under starter orders for Race 3. With the wind very light now but still holding direction, the fleet were away first time. Up the first beat, and its like buses..none for hours and then 2 together. Simon Cully & Libby Tierney with blue spinnaker lead at the weather mark again. Closely followed by son Max Cully & Tighe Wardell with Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella 3rd, Owens & Morris 4th, Jane Kearney & Rebekkah O’Tiarnaigh 5th and Kearney & O’Dwyer 6th. Down to the leeward mark, Blessington's father and son swap places a number of times with Max Cully retaking the lead at the next weather mark and holding it to the end of the sausage ahead of Kearney & O'Tiarnaigh, Kearney & Dwyer and McCartin & Kinsella.

Light wind concentration at the GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing ClubLight wind concentration at the GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing Club

Cully & Wardell, the GP14 nominees for the Junior Champions Cup in Schull this weekend, are enjoying the moment, and the youngsters are singing down the leg. However, on the short beat to shortened finish experience and some neat tacking in a diminishing breeze sees Kearney & Dwyer take the gun just, from Kearney & O’Tiarnaigh with McCartin & Kinsella squeezing out our long-time leaders young Max Cully & Tighe Wardell. Great effort from the young guys.

Day 2 dawned with a little more breeze and a different look to the leader board with Cully & Tierney separating Kearney & Dwyer and Owens & Morris, with Kearney & O’Tiarnaigh and McCartin & Kinsella making up the top 5.

Race 4 got underway promptly in about 8 knots breeze. Owens & Morris lead at the end of the sausage with McCartin & Kinsella and Dan Gill & Mark Bolger a good 10 boat lengths behind. By the finish of the second triangle, Owens & Morris had opened a massive lead. However, big changes were taking place behind with now Kearney & Dwyer up to 2nd ahead of Kearney & O'Tiarnaigh 3rd with Gill & Bolger head to head with Keith & Matteo Louden for 4th with the former just getting there.

Max Cully and Tighe Wardell (Blessington Sailing Club)Max Cully and Tighe Wardell (Blessington Sailing Club)

Race 5 saw a general recall with PRO resisting the temptation to go to the Black flag but getting them away quickly as he sought to ensure 6 races. By the bottom of the first triangle, Colman Grimes & Sam Wray lead Gill & Bolger, Owens & Morris and Paddy O’Connor & Adrian Lee. Having gone out right Curly Morris & Meg Tyrrell make big gains and are up to 5th. By the end of the sausage, Owens & Morris have taken the lead from Grimes & Wray with Alistair Duffin & Steven Nelson up to 3rd and Gill & Bolger 4th ahead of Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty and Morris & Tyrrell. A broken tiller sees O’Connor & Lee drop to 6th. With wind holding steady, PRO opts to let the race run its course and on the final downwind leg Kearney & Dwyer and McCartin & Kinsella make some moves to recover ground. Owens & O’Dwyer take the gun followed by Grimes & Wray with Kearney & Dwyer 3rd to keep the event in the balance till the last race. McCartin & Kinsell show they are getting to grips with the GP14 take 4th on the nod from the father and son Louden pairing.

Race 6 got underway under Black Flag after the 2nd General Recall of the day. That late push in Race 5 by Kearney & Dwyer meant the Championship was still on the line with the pressure on Owens & Morris to beat them by more than 4 places. The wind is down to 6 knots as Owens & Morris lead around the weather mark, now looking for a hat-trick of wins for the day and to heap the pressure back on Kearney & Dwyer. Adding to the pressure were O’Connor & Lee with repaired tiller now a clear second ahead of Henry & Geraghty with Grimes & Wray and Duffin & Nelson also ahead of Kearney & Dwyer. The PRO lets the fleet complete the set course with Owens & Morris taking their 3rd gun of the day. All eyes were now behind to see if Kearney & Dwyer could make any inroads to the deficit. A recurrence of the tiller problem dropped O’Connor & Lee back to 6th, with Duffin & Nelson passing Grimes & Wray for 3rd behind Henry & Geraghty. 5th was the best Kearney & Dwyer could do and just not enough to take the title from the holders Ger Owens & Mel Morris.

A super event hosted by Mullingar Sailing Club under the stewardship of event coordinator and Club Commodore David Maxwell. A super dinner in the Annabrook Hotel was preceded by the Class's first face-to-face AGM in a few years.

Outgoing President and Mullingar club man Michael Collender thanked the sailors and his Committee for their support throughout his tenure and particularly in this GP14 World Championship year which had been such a success. Michael also extended best wishes to Ger Owens, Jane Kearney, Shane MacCarthy and Max Cully, who would be representing the GP14 Class in the re-badged Irish Sailing Champions Cup, reflecting that the GP14 Class are honoured to have been asked, in its 75th anniversary year, to host the event, formerly known as the Helmsman's Championship. It will be held in Sutton Dinghy Club in early October and has been graced down the years by a number of GP14 winners, including a couple who sailed in Mullingar this past weekend.

The prize-giving on Sunday saw Club Commodore David Maxwell & GP14 President Andy Johnson present prizes to Youth, Junior as well as Bronze, Silver and Gold fleet winners. Ger Owens in receiving the Leinster Championship trophy thanked everyone for traveling in such numbers and again demonstrating the appeal of the Class to both the young and the more experienced(!) who want close and competitive racing in a friendly fleet and looked forward to all catching up again later in October for our Hot Toddy & Youth Championships.

GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing Club results

GP14 Leinster TrophiesGP14 Leinster Trophies

Gold Ger Owens & Mel Morris (Royal St.George Yacht Club & East Antrim Boat Club)
Ross Kearney & Katie Dwyer (Royal North of Ireland YC & Sutton Dinghy Club)
Colman Grimes & Sam Wrays (Skerries Sailing Club & Sligo Yacht Club)

Silver Simon Cully & Libby Tierney (Blessington Sailing Club)
Alan Pinder & Jack Hayes (Mullingar Sailing Club)
Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter (Sutton Dinghy Club)

Bronze David Evans & Jon Evans (Sligo Yacht Club)
Max Cully & Tighe Wardell (Blessington Sailing Club)
Denis Cully & Ollie Lloyd (Blessington Sailing Club)

Youth Champion (U22) Peter Boyle & Hugh McNally (Sutton Dinghy Club)

Junior Champion (U16) David Evans & Jon Evans (Sligo Yacht Club)

GP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing ClubGP14 Leinsters at Mullingar Sailing Club results - download pdf below

Published in GP14
Tagged under

Following on from successful training weekend events this season, the Irish GP 14 class has announced a free youth training weekend at Mullingar Sailing Club over the weekend of 24th and 25th September 2022.

The GP14 class held two training weekends in April and June at Skerries Sailing club in the run-up to the successful staging of the class World Championships in August.

Eighteen crews from all over Ireland took part over the two weekends sharpening their skills in general boat handling and especially gate starts which would be used in the World Championships.

Everyone who attended enjoyed the practice, time on the water and improving aspects of their sport.

The events are organised by coach Graeme Grant and guest coaches Stephen Boyle and Coleman Grimes.

Interested parties should contact class youth training co-ordinator Des MacMahon on [email protected]

Published in GP14
Tagged under
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