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2022 GP14 Worlds at Skerries is Centre Stage at RYA Dinghy Show

27th February 2022
GP14 Ireland is represented on The GP14 Association stand with Hon. Sec Andy Johnston (left) joining International Class President Curly Morris
GP14 Ireland is represented on The GP14 Association stand with Hon. Sec Andy Johnston (left) joining International Class President Curly Morris

The RYA Dinghy show is currently underway across in Farnborough in the UK and with the GP14 World Championships coming to Skerries in August, GP14 Ireland was represented on The GP14 Association stand with Hon. Sec Andy Johnston (who reports here) joining International Class President Curly Morris supporting the UK Class for the weekend.

Plenty going on at the first Dinghy Show for a number of years and first outside Alexandra Palace for many years. For the GP14 class, it's a significant moment as we got the first sighting of the new Butler Boats composite racing GP14. And beautiful it looked too, with boatbuilder David Butler hoping to get the boat out on the water over the next few weeks.

I also bumped into friend and former Comanche Raider crewmate, sailing commentator and journalist Matthew Sheehan. The former technical editor of Yachting World was covering the Dinghy Show for his latest venture PlanetSail, the new sailing channel on YouTube which gained significant traction with their America's Cup coverage from New Zealand.

GP14 Ireland's Andy Johnston (right) with Matthew Sheehan of Plant Sail at the RYA ShowAndy Johnston (right) with Matthew Sheehan

For the Irish contingent on the stand however the main focus was answering questions about accommodation in and around Skerries, ferry options to get to Dublin in August and if it was true there are over 130 entries already and for some, will it be as good as the 1997 GP14 Worlds in Skerries?

Curly Morris with Ian Dobson and Justin JonesCurly Morris with Ian Dobson and Justin Jones

Former GP14 World Champion Ian Dobson called by as did five-time UK Endeavour Trophy winner Nick Craig who rumours have it has been putting in extensive hours in the GP14 in recent months. Both are confirmed entries while Robslines Justin Jones indicated he hopes to get himself and a boat across for the event.

The GP14 stand The GP14 stand with the new Butler boats hull on display

With a number of medallists from Tokyo connected to the GP14 Class, we had plenty of British Sailing coaches drop in including British 420 coach Jonny McGovern who is hoping to get across to compete at Skerries.

It was a chance for so many former GP14 sailors to come by and reacquaint themselves with the boat of their youth or catch up with adversaries from previous Worlds such as Skerries, Sligo, Durban, Cape May, Sri Lanka and Barbados.

The show continues today Sunday and it's a very enjoyable experience with the sheer number and range of classes and boats under one roof quite amazing. Another year out of Covid and I would suggest next year's event could be even better.

Published in GP14
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The GP14 is a popular sailing dinghy, with well over 14,000 boats built.

The class is active in the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and parts of north-eastern USA, and the GP14 can be used for both racing and cruising. 

Designed by Jack Holt in 1949, with the assistance of the Dovey Yacht Club in Aberdyfi. The idea behind the design was to build a General Purpose (GP) 14-foot dinghy which could be sailed or rowed, capable of also being powered effectively by a small outboard motor, able to be towed behind a small family car and able to be launched and recovered reasonably easily, and stable enough to be able to lie to moorings or anchor when required. Racing soon followed, initially with some degree of opposition from Yachting World, who had commissioned the design, and the boat soon turned out to be an outstanding racing design also.

The boat was initially designed with a main and small jib as a comfortable family dinghy. In a design philosophy that is both practical and highly redolent of social attitudes of the day the intention was that she should accommodate a family comprising parents plus two children, and specifically that the jib should be modest enough for "Mum" or older children to handle, while she should perform well enough to give "Dad" some excitement when not taking the family out. While this rig is still available, and can be useful when using the boat to teach sailing, or for family sailing, and has some popularity for cruising, the boat is more commonly seen with the full modern rig of a mainsail, genoa and spinnaker. Australian boats also routinely use trapezes.

At A Glance – GP14 Dinghy Specifications

Crew 2
Draft 1,200 mm (47 in)
Hull weight 132.9 kg
LOA 4.27 m (14 ft)
Beam 1.54 m
Spinnaker area 8.4 m2
Upwind sail area 12.85 m2

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