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Ridgeway GP14 Irish Nationals at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club - Preview

by Gerry Reid 28 Jun 18:43 BST 2-3 July 2022
GPs racing at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club © Gerry Reid

The Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club is hosting the Ridgeway GP14 Irish National Championship this coming weekend on Belfast Lough, over 40 boats expected on the start line for this event and a prelude to the GP14 Worlds down in Skerries mid-August.

Some will want to practice their Gate Starts especially with at least 40 boats piling in behind the pathfinder boat.

A few Rock stars will be turning up for this regatta, this year's runners and riders in no particular order are...

  • Peter and Stephen Boyle
    The dream team have paired up again for this year, they seem to have the perfect balance of youthful enthusiasm and "been there done that" about them! The Boyles started the year with two second places in the lead up to the Nationals, showing some great pace in the breeze and generally a "in form pairing". Keep your eyes out for another podium finish!

  • Hugh and Dan Gill
    Another father and son team with the right mix of youth and experience, they have got their beautiful new Duffin going great this year, with a few races wins mixed together with black flags they haven't had the results they maybe deserved. If they can keep it consistent, they will be mixing it right up at the front. They seem to like a bit of a blow!

  • Alan Blay and Hugh McNally
    A strong team, won the last event of the year in 2021 and have showed good form early in the season. Have served their time in the class, is this year the year for them? Will go well in a range of conditions.

  • Shane MacCarthy and Andy Thompson
    2016 World Champion Shane teams up with his compatriot Andy Thompson (who needs no introduction in GP14 circles). This team haven't sailed this year in the GP, but don't let that fool you, they will be up to top speed from the get-go and a good bet for overall winners. They like a good breeze and will no doubt enjoy the craic after racing!

  • Colman Grimes and Ross Gingles
    Another strong pairing, Colman and Ross have been flying this year, with numerous race wins, they hope to put it all together to be crowned Irish Champs. They have shown excellent pace and another boat who like a bit of breeze to work with!

  • Jane Kearney and Ollie Goodhead
    Back helming again this year after a number of years at the front of the boat, Jane and Ollie hope to pick up where they last left off taking 3rd place in Skerries at the 2019 National Championships. Jane has shown some great potential, but can she maintain it over 6 races? Certainly has the pace and will be hoping for some decent breeze.

  • Ross Kearney and Andrew Vaughan
    A new pairing for this year, showing some early form with victory at the Ulster's back in May. Can they use local knowledge to snatch the victory? Only time will tell but they're one's to watch out for at the front of the fleet. A range of conditions will suit these two.

  • Ruan and Rebekah O'Tiarnaigh
    Another family affair, the father and daughter team have jumped into the class and have taken off very quickly. No surprise really with Ruan's vast experience and success in his younger days, they are showing some great pace and will be right up there at the front.

  • Ger Owens and Mel Morris
    Ger and Mel are certainly the one's to beat this year, having cleaned up last year and already showing the usual form we have become accustomed to. They favour the lighter winds but are fast becoming the ultimate all-rounders, they will be hot favourites for another National title.

  • Keith and Matteo Louden
    Keith teaming up with his youngest son has been great to see, a very light pairing who could cause some serious trouble if the conditions go in their favour. They will hope that their efforts in driving up from Derry to race in the spring series at Royal North will pay dividends with local knowledge.

One of the great joys with the current Irish GP fleet is that the competition is so strong the whole way through, there will be many teams aiming to compete in the top 10, Adrian Lee and Gareth Gallagher, Curly Morris and Meg Tyrell, Katie Dwyer and Michelle Rowley (fighting hard for first lady helm) and the McGuiness brothers to name a few.

Not to forget the battles throughout the Silver and Bronze fleet with new categories this year in addition to the youth overall prize, a Junior trophy (U19) and first Lady Helm trophy will be awarded.

All in all, it looks to be a fantastic event, looking like 40 plus boats and half decent weather forecast. Racing starts on Saturday 2nd July at 12noon on Belfast Lough Cultra

If you haven't entered, please enter and join us for some great sailing.

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