GP14 Sailing Forums Forum Cruising boat advice please

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    • #20442

      Any tips on best builder and model for a cruising GP14 between 1 and 10 years old?  And advice welcome on fitting outboard bracket.

    • #20447
      Chris Hearn

      Hi Johnny,

      I am a racer, not a cruiser, so I am sure Oliver will give you more specific advice, but my two cents is:

      You think you might fit an outboard, so that plus “cruising”  means I suggest an older Mark II (underfloor bouyancy) wood boat. Buying an older boat will save you a LOT of money, and new-ish boats are designed for racing. My previous GP14 was number 13509, 20 years old but was in very good condition, and that type of boat and age (so around that number) might suit you. I would recommend you test the wood on the transom near the transom flaps and bung holes) to make sure it is sound, as that is one area that can give problems.


    • #20448

      I have an older Series 1 boat I use for day sailing and cruising.  Not to Oliver’s standard, but I make do.  I cannot say on the newer glass boats, we got very few, if any of the “mark” boats here in the US.  If you scroll through the forum, I think you can still find talk of an outboard.  The older wooden boats were designed with the idea that engine could be fitted,  When done, usually a removable flap was cut into the aft deck to allow the outboard to clamp to the transom.  The only issue I see is that most boats are fitted with the full with horse, an engine hung off of the transom would get in the way of it’s travel.


      If you are truly interested in hanging an outboard,  I would consider bolting on a bracket to the transom itself that would move it out of the way of the horse.  You will not need a big engine, I would consider something like a torqeedo, ePropulsion, or even a trolling motor.  I use oars on Spark, so I know you will not need a lot of power to propel a GP any distance with an outboard. Lighter the better!

    • #20449
      Oliver Shaw


      See the paper on Fitting An Outboard,  in the Members’ Area.   Any further questions do feel free to get back to us,  but I suspect that you will find that paper answers most questions on that topic.

      As regards builder and model,  I suggest that you first decide what type of cruising you wish to do,  and what specific cruising features you are looking for,  and also make your choice between wood and fibreglass.   Because you are intending to buy second-hand,  even if as recently as just one year old,  the choice of builder is likely to be secondary;    with the one reservation about the increasingly well known problems of rotting plywood backing pieces within the structure of GRP boats (which is a solvable problem) I am sure that all professional builders of this era did a competent job.

      Amongst those owners who have attended organised cruising events over the last fifteen years,  the split is about even between wooden and GRP boats,  just as it is for top level racing.   The choice becomes a matter of personal preference.

      If you want to sleep aboard on a regular basis,  I am sorry to say that the GP may not be the best choice of class;   but she is quite superb for day-cruising,  and is amply capable of carrying camp kit for camping ashore.   For occasional sleeping aboard,  I think the Series 1 has some advantages over the Series 2,  because there appears to be more space between the underside of the thwart and the floorboards;   just enough to permit sleeping on the floor in the Series 1,  but agony to try to do so in the Series 2.   However I say that I think that is the case because I speak from having tried it out,  not from actual measurement;   and the trials were several decades apart,  so it is at least possible that the effects of anno domini may be the explanation rather than an actual difference in height.

      Features that I myself specified when I had A Capella built in 2005/6 included the following:

      • Reinforced transom,  with a view to potentially fitting an outboard (although in the event I could never bring myself to do so)
      • Improved seating comfort,  achieved by a combination of increasing the width of the side bench slats,  plus minimising the number of control lines brought out to the thwart (initially kept to kicker only,  with space on the mounting block to permit Cunningham and rig tension to be added later if required,  but in all the years since she was built I have had no wish to move the latter to there),  together with deliberately low profile mounting blocks for jammers
      • Transom sheeting,  both to minimise obstruction in the cockpit and to enable me to face aft during a gybe,  in order to allow me in big waves to choose my wave (or my “smooth”) on which to execute the gybe.    Note that transom sheeting can be achieved in a variety of ways,  and with a modern powerful kicker there is no need for the sixties-style full width sheet horse,   but that is nonetheless one way of rigging transom sheeting,  and having decided that I wanted transom sheeting I then choose that method of rigging it purely for cosmetic reasons.
      • Sockets for crutches (a.k.a. rowlocks)

      Useful additional features,  some of them important,  which readily be retro-fitted if necessary,  include:

      • Slab reefing for the mainsail,  and roller reefing for the genoa.    See my paper on Reefing Systems in the Members’ Area.
      • Anchor/s with 30 m of warp plus 2 m chain,  plus anchor fairlead/s and mooring cleat.   See the paper and/or the PowerPoint Presentation on Anchoring,  again in the Members’ Area.
      • Oars and crutches/rowlocks
      • Masthead buoyancy
      • Topping lift
      • Tiller brake,  to enable the helm to be left unattended while I attended to other tasks,  or took photos,  or whatever
      • Steering compass
      • Every item of equipment tied in,  by means of lanyards terminating in carbine hooks,  with a copious set of stainless steel strap eyes under the cockpit coaming for these carbine hooks to clip on.
      • Seriously large access/ventilation hatch/es to forward buoyancy tank,  to enable it to also be used for storage;  mine were (I think) 11 inches diameter.    Fit a strap eye just inside the hatch,  and ensure that everything stowed in there is clipped on,  so that if it migrates forward it can be readily recovered.  I used that space for stowing my fenders.
      • Personal kit including hand-held marine VHF,  worn on the person

      With the exception of the above details we decided to stick with basically the modern racing rig.   However the rig tension,  achieved by a muscle box,  was cleated off on the mast,  without the additional 2:1 inside the boat which I would have had on a racing boat,  and I routinely set it up hard and rarely if ever slacked it off;   that was entirely satisfactory for cruising in all conditions except very light winds,  and it helped to minimise the number of control lines brought out to a position where they were at risk of being sat on  –  which is primarily a matter of sitting comfort.

      The Cunningham was rarely used,  and my arrangement for it could have been improved.

      The kicker was attached by means of a snap shackle at each end,  so that it could readily be completely detached when required;   this was an essential intermediate step in mainsail reefing,   prior to my decision to fit a topping lift.

      See also the paper on Suitability for Cruising and Single-handing.

      I am not aware of any GRP boatbuilders building specifically cruising boats;   but any stock GRP boat should be capable of being adapted for cruising.   Builders of wooden boats are better able to work to a cruising specification when required,  but Tim Harper is the only one that I personally know to have done so,  and that may possibly be for just two boats;  Ivan Washington’s Vertigo and my own A Capella.   It is of course possible that other builders may occasionally have incorporated special specifications,   and with the exception of the wider seat slats most of my modifications above can be very readily retro-fitted to an existing wooden boat.

      Hope this is helpful,



    • #20459

      I would hate to think about how tight it is under the thwart of a later boat, Oliver.  My series 1 allows me to slip under it at 5’11 and 185 pounds, but once in position, I cannot roll over.  Granted this is with an inflatable mattress pad made for hiking and a sleeping bag, but still, it is a bit tight.


      As for my own hatch in the forward tank, I recently finished mine (not yet varnished) and came up with this:


      forward hatch

      This rather large hatch is a “compression” style, it has no hinges or threads, just a pair of arms behind the toggles that after it is slipped into place, you tight it up.  The integrated rubber seal is compressed tight and will hopefully keep out any water.  At 11″ high and 21″ wide, it allows me to access further into the under deck area than your smaller round hatch.


      Today I varnish, so it will look better soon.


      Much of Oliver’s advice I had already taken without realizing.  though I will not go so far as to install boom end sheeting,  I do love the option.  One thing I was surprised about, when I installed the mounts for the oarlocks, I discovered that my boat already had some substantial backing plates in place.  This made for a very easy installation.  As I would not cruise without oars even if I carried an engine, I would consider trying to row your GP first, I find she moves very easily under the “ash breeze”

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