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The Bushmills GP14 Hot Toddy at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

by Gerry Reid 6 Oct 2023 15:07 BST 30 September - 1 October 2023

The weekend saw the Bushmills GP14 Hot Toddy hosted this year by Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club. This annual event is gaining in popularity, with 27 GP14s on the start line for the six races.

On day one, as these cracking boats gathered in the RNIYC yards, one couldn't help admiring the sheer beauty and craftsmanship of wood versions of some of the boats. To get them wet almost seemed unthinkable! Some welcome tea / coffee and scones to set them on their way, appreciated by all.

The sea state was flat calm as final preparations were made. Sam Lynas the race Officer trusted that the forecast breeze would fill in and called the boats to water, keen to start on time. Sure, enough a breeze of sorts arrived on time albeit light. Race one got under way Ross Kearney and Daniel Nelson (RNIYC) led the fleet chased by Ross's wife Jane and Stephen Nelson (Donhaghadee/Newtownards) in what was to be a tight opener, Ross and his crew prevailed, with Stephen Nelson second and Conor Twohig (Sutton/Howth YC) third.

Race 2 for Ross followed a similar lead for Ross and his Crew, this time Keith and Mateo Louden (LFYC) took the second spot. Followed by John and Donal McGuiness (Moville boat Club) in third. The last race of the day was shortened as the wind dropped a tad. Once again Ross Kearney dominated with another win, Coleman Grimes and Ross Gingles (Skerries YC) grateful for a second and Conor Twohig third, to complete the day. As the fleet arrived back on terra firma, they were greeted with very welcome Hot Toddies, with the compliments of Bushmills. Once cleaned up they enjoyed a meal in the Clubs Admirals room followed by music and revelry in the Bar.

Going into the second day Ross was in pole position, however a good strong breeze prevailed across the course. Despite the increase in the wind Ross Kearney was yet again leading the fleet in race four, hot on his heels was his wife Jane with Ollie Goodhead as her crew, and the louden brothers pulling up third. The fifth race followed a similar pattern Ross being chased down by his Wife this time Ruan OTiarnaigh and Melanie Morris taking the third slot. For the last race of the event Ross had it won and could afford to sit this one out, as ever being the competitor he is, he wasn't going to let a clean sweep pass him by, and there it was a clean sweep from Ross and Daniel six for six! On this last race Ruan, took second, and the loudens third.

Overall from Ross down the next three boats were tied on 23 points and the fifth boat on 24 points. All very tight at the top of the fleet.

Overall Results:

1st Ross Kearney / Daniel Nelson
2nd Jane Kearney / Ollie Goodhead
3rd Ruan OTiarnaigh / Melanie Morris
4th Conor Twohig / Matthew Cotter

The returning fleet were again greeted with more Hot Toddies, and Hot Dogs!

At the prize-giving the Commodore Johnny Millar thanked all the volunteers /Sponsors Bushmills and everyone who helped make this a great event to top of the season!

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