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GP14 Pre-Worlds O'Tiarnaigh Challenge at Skerries Sailing Club - Preview

by Andy Johnston 29 Jul 2022 11:33 BST 30-31 July 2022
Ger Owens looks forward to the GP14 Worlds at Skerries © Bob Given

With less than three weeks to go to the GP14 World Championships, the Irish GP14 fleet continue their preparations this weekend (July 30-31) for what will be a massive event in Skerries next month (August 14-19).

With 40+ boats in Royal North for the Championship of Ireland a few weeks ago, the fleet re-acquainted itself with gate starts. Not content with that, six Irish crews headed to Llandudno, Wales last weekend for the three days of the British Nationals. This weekend the GP14 Ireland fleet head for Skerries for a full event but with an eye to Worlds preparation very much to the fore for sailors and the Race Management team alike.

The Worlds has attracted an entry of 105 plus boats including the top end of the class from the UK. And with gate starts involved, the World Championship PRO Bill O'Hara, supported by Liam Dineen will this weekend get an opportunity to put the full Race Management apparatus under the kosh before the big event gets under way.

Event organiser and competitor Colman Grimes (busy man!) from Skerries and the GP14 Ireland Class Association have managed to encourage almost 50 boats and crews from the Irish fleet to the famous O'Tiarnaigh Challenge. This event has always had a different style to it than your regular event and this year is no different.

Branded the Pre-Worlds (for the year that's in it) the main focus of the weekend is to get a lot of gate start practice at the Worlds venue with eight one-round races on Saturday. The top three in each fleet (Gold, Silver and Bronze) get through to Race 2 on Sunday and a little lie-on. The remainder will return for Race 1 on Sunday with the top six in each fleet going through to join Saturday's qualifiers (27 in total) in Race 2.

Race 2 and 3 will then whittle the 27 down for Race 4 (The Medal race) which will consist of nine boats that qualified from Race 3. The top three Gold, Silver and Bronze boats will race together for the Overall positions.

Sunday will be Olympic courses with gate starts. Oh and Skerries have organised international umpire Cxema Pico to be on the water just to add a little reality to the occasion. So not for the faint-hearted but it should produce plenty of thrills and hopefully honing of skills across the board.

The World Championships kicks off on August 14th (with boat measurement starting on Saturday 13th) and finishes on August 19th. The preparations in Skerries have been immense, having planned originally for a 2020 World Championship. Skerries is a great attraction at the best of times, and with this being one of the biggest sailing events in Ireland this summer, it should be well worth visiting at some stage over the week.

Newsflash: 2024 GP14 World Championship Change of Venue

The GP14 International Organisation through Vanessa Deveraux (Championship Co-ordinator) have announced the news that the Sri Lankan World Championships have been moved to 2026. The International Class will send out communications and more details soon at www.gp14.org but the new is that that the 2024 GP14 World Championships will now take place at: Plas Heli, The Welsh National Sailing Academy, August 10th to 16th 2024.

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