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GP14 Spring open meeting at Sligo Yacht Club

by Ryan Devitt 6 May 11:27 BST 30 April - 1 May 2022
Prizewinners at the GP14 Spring open meeting at Sligo © Stephen Boyle

28 boats, 6 races, 8 OCSs and a whole lotta racing got the 2022 GP14 Ireland season off to a bang on the waters off the splendid Rosses Point over the weekend. The forecast was for wind and rain, and the fleet got their fill of both over the two days.

Saturday started in fresh and blustery conditions with the wind from the south west and under the expert eye of RO Michael Conway from Wexford the fleet got away on Race 1. The left hand side seemed to pay and first at the first mark was veteran father and son team of Hugh & Dan Gill (SDC) sailing 'Yin Tang' with Ross Kearney & Andrew Vaughan (RNIYC) in 'Ron', and Ger Owens & Mel Morris (RStGYC) in 'Two Belle' close on their heels.

Two Belle was in fact Too Belle and once in the lead, stretched it out for the win with Yin Tang second and Ron third. Fourth went to another son and father team of Peter and Stephen Boyle (SDC) in 'Further' and Jane Kearney & Josh Porter (RNIYC/NSC) in 'Purple Rocket' 5th followed by another father and son team of Keith and Matteo Louden (LFYC) sixth.

Race 2 started in similar blustery and cold conditions which again favoured the left hand side of the beat. First at the weather mark and returning to the GP14 fleet sailing with his daughter in her first event were Ruan & Rebekah O'Tiarnaigh (BYC/SDC) in 'Ghost Light' closely followed by a stalwart GP14 team of Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty (SYC) in 'Local Yokel' and also Two Belle in the hunt.

Despite best efforts Ghost Light, after 2 laps holding off the persistent threat from Local Yokel in the blustery conditions they finally succumbed and were passed by both Local Yokel and Two Belle before the finish. These three were followed by Colman Grimes & Ross Gingles (SSC/DWSC) in 'No Surprise' fourth, and Further in fifth.

Shifting winds required a number of course changes before the fleet again got under way with a slightly reduced fleet due to the cold wind and rain. Race 3 and again the team on Ghost Light rounded the first weather mark in lead position with Yin Tang close second, Two Belle third, Adrian Lee & Gareth Gallagher (YSC/Moville) in 'Ideal', Alan Blay & Hugh McNally (SDC) in Wally and the rest of the usual suspects in hot pursuit.

A cheeky manoeuvre at the gybe mark allowed Yin Tang through to the lead, only an impromptu swim at the leeward mark required a remarkable recovery for Yin Tang's helm Hugh and despite it the team remained in first place going into the second lap. The three leaders played the right hand side of the course, but a group that went left early in the beat came through to disrupt the placings by the second weather mark.

After another tremendous race, it was Ideal finishing in first, Further second Purple Rocket third, No Surprise fourth and Two Belle in fifth.

Sunday brought the fleet much of the same in terms of weather but the direction had veered from south westerly to westerly injecting an element of mystery as to which side might be favoured in terms of tidal flows. After a number of general recalls which the RO patiently handled, he finally got the fleet off under black flag.

Further, Yin Tang and Local Yokel were requested to leave the race by the race committee for being OCS leaving No Surprise somewhat surprised to be leading, Two Belle second and Ghost Light third. These three maintained their positions to the finish while after a grand melee Purple Rocket came home fourth with Ron fifth Wally sixth and Beltraka a very credible seventh.

After more shenanigans at the start of Race 5 again meant that again a number of boats were requested to depart the race track during the first round, this included event leader Two Belle, Ron, No Surprise, Wally and Ideal.

Capitalising on this were Ghost Light who led from the pin end uninterrupted to the finish, with Further second, Yin Tang third, The Wrong Trousers, Conor Twohig & Matthew Cotter (SDC) fourth in a 1-4 for Sutton boats. Fifth and Sixth continued the battle of the Kearney's house hold with Jane pipping Ross again and holding a commanding lead in the 'household bragging rights department' going into the final race.

In slightly moderated winds the final race saw Yin Tang, Ron and Two Belle get ahead of the melee and battle out for first, Ghost Light fought their way into fourth after round 1 and sat rather undisturbed for the remainder of the race.

Meanwhile the battle for fifth was hotting up between Bronze fleet and youngest helm 15 year old David Evans with father Jon crewing. Further, Ideal, Local Yokel, The Wrong Trousers, all in the mix.

After some exceptional helming, David Evans held off all comers to clock in a remarkable fifth with Further sixth, Local Yokel seventh, Ideal eighth and The Wrong Trousers ninth. Certainly David is one to watch for in the future.

So to the final scores... six races, six different race winning teams. The competition was as tight as a drum.

Gold Fleet:

1st. 12 points, Two Belle, Ger Owens & Mel Morris - despite an OCS, Olympians set the bar high
2nd. 19 points, Further, Peter & Stephen Boyle (Sutton Dinghy Club)
3rd. 20 points, Ghost Light, Ruan & Rebekah O'Tiarnaigh (BallyholmeYC/Sutton Dinghy Club)
4th. 22 points, Yin Tang, Hugh & Dan Gill, (Sutton Dinghy Club)
5th. 24 points, Ron, Ross Kearney & Andrew Vaughan (RNIYC) - only just pipping his wife
6th. 25 points, Purple Rocket, Jane Kearney & Josh Porter (RNIYC/Newtownards SC)
7th. 34 points, Local Yokel, Niall Henry & Oissian Gerraghty (Sligo YC) - the event organisers

Silver fleet:

1st. Beltraka, Bill & James Johnson (LFYC) - 12th overall
2nd. Edward Coyne & Oisin Brown (Youghal SC)
3rd. Chris Clayton & Rory Higgins (RNIYC)

Bronze Fleet:

1st. David & Jon Evans (Sligo YC) - 15th overall
2nd. Surprise, Darrach Dinneen & Eoin Boylan (Skerries SC)
3rd. 'Southern Wild', Des McMahon & Pat Blesty (Cullaun SC)

Special thanks to Race Officer Michael Conway and the on the water team who moved marks and kept the fleet on the straight and narrow despite testing conditions. Much thanks must go to the members of Sligo YC and in particular Oissian Gerraghty a Niall Henry and their families and friends who made us so very welcome with teas, coffees and scones. Thanks also to the teams from Mullingar, Rush, Lough Erne, East Antrim, Blessington who didn't get a mention in the report but who helped make this event very memorable.

On another note the GP14 Ireland fleet are delighted to have racing members from young teenagers to septuagenarians that cover length and breadth of the island of Ireland surely the most competitive dinghy racing in the land. This writer is more than delighted to see Matteo Louden (14), David Evans (15), Peter Brines (15) and Rebekah O'Tiarnaigh (16) battling it out and learning from such masters as Curly Morris, Hugh Gill and Ger Owens. From little acorns and all that.

You Can Still Enter the 2022 World Championships

A big thank you to all those who have responded over the last few weeks and completed their entry and paid the balance of their entry fees. While you may have missed the early bird offer, it is still not too late to register and enter for the 2022 World Championships.

Entries can still be made up to July 14th 2022. If you havent entered the worlds yet its time to get going and register at www.gp14.org

With over 140 boats registered for Skerries in August some spaces are still left but the cut off is 150 so anyone interested should contact Class Secretary Andy Johnston at

WhatsApp Group for Youth sailors

A new WhatsApp group has been recently formed to make it easier to organise coaching sessions, findings crews etc. If you are a youth, crew or new to the class and want to be added let Colman know at or 0868689303.

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