GP14 Worlds – Runners and Riders
With a Gold Fleet entry currently standing at 56 out of the 130 boats the competition at this year’s Worlds will be tough. So tough in fact that there will be a ‘Platinum Fleet’ introduced mid-week where the top 15 at that point in time will be rewarded by being moved into the new elite fleet.
History has proved that the GP14 fleet is a tough nut to crack. With the close boat on boat tactical sailing and a need for good boat handling skills not many have come straight in a won big events in their rookie year. The 2018 Worlds is going to be the largest GP14 event, and the most competitive for 15 years so here are our hot picks for the top six, and potential winners. (Please note, if you have been missed off the list you clearly need to buy the reporter more beers!)
Ian Dobson and Andy Tunnicliffe
Our first hot pick has to be Ian Dobson and Impact Marine’s Andy Tunnicliffe. The duo have been on top of their GP14 game for the last 12 years winning five World Championship titles in a row before Shane and Andy ended their run in 2016. Since then they won the 2017 Nationals (even with a new born cheering them on in the night!) and started this season off winning the Midland Areas at Chase and look hungrier than ever to take the top goods.
Tom Gillard and Andy Thompson
Our second hot pick are the new pairing of North Sail’s Tom Gillard and Andy Thompson. On a hot streak at the moment taking second in the 2017 Midland Area Championships and the Inland Championships they are looking in formidable form for the Worlds. Although new to GP14’s Tom has won plenty of Fireball National and World Champion titles and crew Andy (who hates to have his name on a trophy only once!) won the GP14 Worlds in Durban in 2000 with the late, great, Richard Estaugh.
Matt Burge and Simon Potts
Although Matt claims to hate GP14s he keeps coming back! A rubbish wrestler but not bad in a boat, Matt is the current Fireball National Champion. Matt came fourth at the Barbados Worlds in 2016 and second at the Looe Worlds in 2012 but has yet to win. This year he stands a good chance having teamed up with GP14 stalwart Simon Potts who has had success in both ends of the boat and himself ended up in the prizes at Looe helming his way to sixth.
Mike Senior and Chris White
Former GP14 two-time National Champion Mike Senior will be serious about winning this year. Mike and crew Chris White have been teetering on the brink for the last few years coming fifth at the last Worlds, and runners up at the 2016 and 2017 Nationals. This pair are super fit with Mike fitting in triathlons and marathons around sailing and have the on-water intensity and focus to rival none other. If you see them ‘going tactical’ or on a charge, steer clear!
Nick Craig and Toby Lewis
A multiple winner in other classes, Nick Craig has yet to crack the GP14s and will be back for another go in 2018 with multiple Endeavour Trophy winner Toby Lewis. Nick and Toby’s first attempt at the Worlds was in Barbados in 2016 where he finished third. He’s been doing the Super 6 Circuit this season and is still waiting for his first win in a GP14 but with a sailor of his providence it can’t be long away. Failing that he would certainly win a ‘man vs food’ BBQ contest as his eating efforts at the Inlands this year proved!
Shane MacCarthy and Andy Davis
2016 was Shane’s year in the GP14 with everything falling into place for the nicest man on the water taking both the National and World titles. You couldn’t have a more humble and affable champ and paired up again with his sail making crew, HD Sails’ Andy Davis they know what it takes to peak at the right time.
Fergus Barnham and Andy Hunter
Also challenging for the title will be and former Laser 2000 national champion Fergus Barnham, with Andy Hunter. The pair have proved consistent at the top and will no doubt be World winners at some point in the future if Fergus doesn’t get injured underneath one of those giant barbells he throws around for a bit of fun outside of sailing!
Sam Watson and Ben Swainson
Sam has always had lots of potential and came second in the 2014 Worlds and sixth in 2016 Worlds. With some chopping and changing of crews Sam and Ben have now started to gel and have the future potential to be right up at the top, and if not usually win the prize for best on water posing with Ben in the boat!
Jim Hunt and Liz Senior
There will be some on water rivalry with OK World Champion Jim Hunt and Liz Senior no doubt wanting to beat fellow OK sailor Nick Craig and Liz wanting to beat other half Mike. They looked pretty rapid in the light stuff at the Inalnds so could be in with a shout as long as it’s not honking all week!
There are still a handful of places left for the event, more information on the Class website: https://www.gp14.org/events/2018-gp14-world-championship/