Hot Toddy, Blessington SC, 15–16 October 2016
A number of sailors made their way down to Blessington on Friday evening, pitched tents and camper vans around the lakeside. It was a very wet and windy night for them. Many of the Saturday sailors drove through heavy down pours of rain but on arrival to Blessington the sun split the skies over the lake.
A healthy fleet of 25 GP14s took to the water for the Hot Toddy under the command of OOD Fred Ternan from Lough Erne. After a general recall the first race got under way with a single recall flag. Steven Nelson & Brenda Preston had to go around the ends to get their race going. The wind strength and direction oscillated over the first race. Headers that would normally be marginal played a huge part, you had to take the right one and get over to the side of the lake where the wind was at its strongest. John & Donal McGuinness read it very well and took the first race followed by Colman Grimes & David Lappin in 2nd, then JP & Carolyn McCaldin in 3rd.
Similar conditions for the 2nd race of the day. This time the lead was held by Colman & David. With a large shift up the last beat OOD Fred decided to shorten the race and finish on the downwind leg. Colman & David took the 2nd race, followed by JP & Carolyn with 3rd going to Keith Louden & Alan Thompson.
The 3rd race of the day saw the wind swing badly just before the start and forced the fleet to try to make it across the line on a port tack. Steven Nelson & Brenda Preston get away very well and held a very strong lead nearly all of the way around the course. Simon Cully & Libby Tierney also got themselves onto the right side of the course and held 2nd position, 3rd was Cahal Sheridan & David Cooke. No Gold fleeters could make it into the top 3 of the final race of the day.
OOD Fred had hoped to sail a 4th placed but as it was getting late into the afternoon and the wind showing no sign of settling he sent the fleet home for the day. The club supplied a plentiful supply of Hot Toddies, soup and homemade bread for the sailors.
The AGM was held in the clubhouse after the sailing. This was followed by a fabulous beef casserole and a supply of local ales and some not so local beers and a very strong rum punch from Richard Street. A truly local evening was rounded off with some of the local youth club members playing an Irish session for the GP14 sailors.
Sunday morning arrived with the leaves being blown off the trees being horizontally! The OOD Fred called a gathering of the fleet shortly after 10am. He informed the fleet that the forecast was not to improve so he made the early call to cancel the sailing for the day. 3 races meant no discard so the Hot Toddy event went to Colman Grimes & David Lapin, Skerries – their first ever event win.
Highest placed youth (U21) helm went to Robson Ogg from Donaghadee sailing with his dad James. The Hot Toddy highest placed boat under 13500 went to boat number 13266 sailed by locals Richard Street & Simon Dick.
An annual award that has been missing for a couple of years is the Travellers Trophy. This is given to the boat covering the most distance to make it to the Irish GP14 events. As the whole fleet knows the Youghal sailors make a long trek to each event. Not wanting to single out a particular boat it was only fair to present the Travellers Trophy for the 2016 season to the sailors and the drivers of Youghal!
Blessington really know how to provide a visiting GP14 fleet with very warm hospitality. Thanks again to Blessington for putting on a great event and thanks to all of the GP14 sailors who attended the 2016 events. There was a good youth turn out and hopefully this will continue into 2017.
See you again for the 2017 season.
Photos: Laura McFarland & Libby Tierney
1. Colman Grimes & David Lapin, Skerries
2. JP & Carolyn McCaldin, Sligo/Lough Erne
3. John & Donal McGuinness, Molville
1. Colman Grimes & David Lapin, Skerries
2. Simon Cully & Libby Tierney, Blessington
3. Steven Nelson & Brenda Preston, Donaghadee
1. Robbie Richardson & Colin Watson, Donaghadee
2. Martin & Vicky Dews, Donaghadee
3. Anthony & Jack Hutton, Lough Foyle
Highest placed youth (U21) helm – Robson Ogg, Donaghadee
Hot Toddy highest placed boat under 13500 – 13266 Richard Street & Simon Dick, Blessington
2016 Travellers Trophy – all sailors and the drivers of Youghal