GP14 Sailing Forums Forum What cover for an FRP GP?

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    • #26067

      Hi everyone, I have a new boat! Well new to me. An FRP GP14 – 13114. Any previous boats we’ve owned have been wooden and so we have tried to use breathable covers. Does this matter with an FRP boat or can I just get a pvc cover which will probably be cheaper?

      Also, there are some inspection hatches in the boat – am I right in thinking that I should open some of these especially during hot weather? Should I leave the bung out as well or is that too risky?

      I attach a photo of the boat, taken a few weeks ago at my local sailing place – West Kirby Marine Lake, Wirral. I’m not happy with the way the boom is so low but I can’t seem to pull the mainsail up any higher . . any thoughts?

      Thanks, (Mrs) Bernie Hailwood


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    • #26069
      Oliver Shaw

      Looking at the photo,  your boom appears to be on a fixed gooseneck,  which is normal for boats built in the last few decades,  so its height is fixed.    I really do think you will soon get used to this height,  which is a lot more generous than on some other dinghy classes;   and my experience is that most dinghy sailors fairly rapidly get used to the very precise heights of their booms (in whatever classes they sail),  to prodigious accuracy.    When I sailed Fireflies as a student 60 years ago (with a much lower boom than the GP14) it was fairly usual in those days to wear knitted “bobble hats”,  and my one happened to have lost its bobble;   no problem,  until my mother presented me with a new one,  complete with bobble  –  and for the first few sails I was forever catching the bobble (but never my head itself) on the boom;   one intuitively learned the height of the boom to within a very few inches.

      However it appears that the head of the mainsail is several inches below the black band at the head of the mast,  which accounts for the slightly slack luff,  and may also result in slight droop of the boom towards the transom.

      The usual reason for this is what is known in the trade as “Operator Error”  –  the (entirely understandable) practice of putting the boom on the gooseneck before hoisting the sail.   This works on the older style of sliding gooseneck,  provided you set this at the top of the track and then pull it down to the lower black band once the sail has been fully hoisted and the halliard cleated off;   back in the fifties and sixties most of us grew up with this system.

      But this won’t work with a modern fixed gooseneck.   Here you need to fully hoist the sail (so far as it will go,  which should be to the upper black band) before putting the boom on the gooseneck,   then cleat off the halliard,  and only when that has been done do you then pull the boom downwards and fit it onto the gooseneck.

      If you are used to the older system this takes a little getting used to,  but I think you will find that this cures the problem.

      If despite trying this you still have problems,  ask at your club;   WKSC have a very strong GP14 fleet,  and I am sure that other members will very willingly assist.    Failing that,  contact me directly,  since I am only just over the water from you;   [email protected].

      I will leave our GRP experts to advise on covers,  as my own background is primarily in the wooden boats.

      Hope this helps,



      • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Oliver Shaw.
    • #26074

      I’d take the hatches off.

      Cover – if you get an overboom cover you’ll be fine with a PVC cover. You really, really get what you pay for with covers and Rain and Sun/Creation are – in my opinion – worth paying more for. If going PVC I’d recommend Rain and Sun.

    • #26076

      Thank you Oliver and Chris for your very helpful replies. Very much appreciated.

      I will play around with the boom, halyard and mast and I will have a look at Rain and Sun.

    • #26081

      Re the type of cover I was advised by Steve Parker, Elite Sails & SP Boats that GRP boats are best under a breathable cover as they still sweat under a PVC over.  Yes open hatches or leave bungs out.

      The feeling that the boom is too low, have you previously sailed an older Series 1 boat without under floor bouyancy?  Presuming that your boat 13114 has under floor bouyancy, in which case the floor will be higher an hence the under boom clearance is reduced, meaning a bigger duck is needed when tacking or gybing.

      • #26082
        Oliver Shaw

        It is not entirely clear from your sail number which model of boat you have;   the masterly history of the GP14 hull by Roy Nettleship seems to place her later than the Fibredon Mk IV but earlier than the Mk IVa,  (probably) later than the Paul Amos boats (although 3 boats were later produced by Storrar & Relph from the moulds),  and earlier than the Speed Sails ones!    All except the first of this list have underfloor buoyancy.  So your boat appears to date from around the time that underfloor buoyancy was being introduced,  but it is not clear to me whether you do or do not have it.

        Agreed that the floor is higher on the (wooden) Series 2 boat (but only the floor,  and specifically not the deck or the thwart);   but my impression (without actually measuring) is that this is a matter of only a very few inches.

        I noticed this in only two ways;   if trying to camp aboard there is insufficient room to sleep beneath the thwart in Series 2 although it is possible in Series 1,  and following a capsize although there may look to be a boatful of water aboard the depth is nothing like what appearances suggest  –  and it is remarkable just how quickly that can be shed through the transom scuppers.

        It is conceivable that if you do have underfloor buoyancy,  and if you are used to the Series 1 boat,  the higher floor may just be sufficient to require “a bigger duck” when tacking or gybing;   but my experience in Fireflies in my youth suggests that you will very quickly adapt to this.   Indeed when I had a Series 2 boat built for me in 2006 while I was still regularly also sailing a Series 1 boat I didn’t even notice the reduction in headroom.    If this is the explanation in your case I suspect that you will very soon get used to it,  to the extent that you no longer notice it.



        • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Oliver Shaw. Reason: Correction of typo
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