GP14 Championship of Ireland, Skerries SC, 27-29 August 2016
Skerries Sailing Club, which has a long history of hosting excellent GP14 events, welcomed the GP14 Class back for the 2016 Championship of Ireland sponsored by Bacharach. The event attracted an entry of 38 boats.
The first day of the event was characterised by medium-strength winds. Recently returned from the UK having defended his UK GP14 title Shane MacCarthy crewed by Damien Bracken led the charge to the first mark followed by Niall Henry and Ossian Geraghty, Sligo Yacht Club. The Gallagher brothers from Lough Foyle powered through Henry/Geraghty and MacCarthy/Bracken on the first reach and led the first race to the finish. In the second race it was the turn of Tim Corcoran and Brendan Brogan (Sligo Yacht Club), who took line honours snatching the lead from Hugh Gill and Conor Twohig from Sutton Dinghy Club. At the end of the first day of racing it was obvious that consistency over the series would be the deciding factor in the event with many of the top boats collecting double-digit point in the first day. Alan Blay and David Johnston (Sutton Dinghy Club) and MacCarthy/Bracken were in overall pole position leading into day two of the Championship.
Day two was like dying and going to sailor’s hell. There were light winds with rolling waves and the most awful chop on the water all day. It was very difficult to get the boats moving at all and when you did you couldn’t stir with the risk of stalling. Hugh Gill made it look easy, leading this race from start to finish with Timmy Corcoran constantly trying to close the gap without success. The course was switched to Windward/Leeward which made for lots of passing opportunities. Race 4 was finally claimed by Niall Henry after an epic battle with reigning GP14 World Champion Shane MacCarthy. After a lot of waiting around and two false starts the Officer of Day Liam Dineen abandoned the third race much to the delight of the weary fleet.
The final day of the Championships began with little to no wind which filled gradually as the morning progressed. After a number of attempts to set a course the wind finally moved south and built throughout the day. There were only four points separating the top five boats so it was all to play for in the last two races. With the building winds, shifts of up to thirty degrees, strong gusts and windward/leeward courses there were many position changes during this race. JP and Caroline McCaldin from Lough Erne Yacht Club won race five chased closely by Keith Louden and Alan Thompson from Sligo Yacht Club. The last race of the series was similar, and the event was won/lost of the last run. It was Curly Morris and Laura McFarland’s turn at line honours in this final race, but Timmy Corcoran made five places on the final run to finish second – and to become the National Champion for 2016. This was a splendid way for Timmy to bow out, and we wish him good luck in his move to Spain.
In the Silver Fleet a similarly epic battle was taking place and with the final gun there were only 3 points separating the top three Silver finishers:
- Peter Boyle/Stephen Boyle
- Steven Nelson/Brenda Preston
- Katie Dwyer/Michelle Rowley
In the Bronze Fleet Youghal sailors Adrian Lee and Edward Coyne sailed a very consistent series beating most of the Silver boats to take the overall Bronze fleet. I suspect these guys need a promotion up to Silver the way they are sailing.
The next GP14 event is the Autumn Open/Youth Championship, which takes place on the 24th and 25th of September at Sligo Yacht Club.
Photos by Andrew Johnston
RESULTS (click on the image for full-size readable version!)
DRONE FOOTAGE from the event