There was a great mixture of experience and youth within the Sutton Dinghy Club contingent that traveled to Sligo YC, Rosses Point for 2014 GP14 Championship of Ireland. Its been a while since we had more than a couple travel to an away event. On the road Friday were Dan & Hugh Gill, Alan Blay & David Johnston, Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley and with Stephen Boyle unavailable it was great to see his crew Eanna Lawless take charge and with Sinead Dickson crewing for the first time the pair were getting some hours on the water before the Worlds later in August. Thanks also to Ian Dickson for getting Stephens boat down for Eanna and Sinead. It was also great to see Ger O’Sullivan and Hugh McNally back on the water at a GP14 event.
Despite fairly light conditions averaging f2-3, the weekend didn’t disappoint. With some masterful sailing, Olympian Ger Owens & Melanie Morris retained the GP14 Championship title they won in Sutton last year. With 2 wins on both Sat and Sun, the race was always on for the other podium places.
Having kept there noses clean on Sat with a 3, 7 , 4, Sutton pair Alan Blay & David Johnston carrying form from their Ulster Championship win, were in with a shout right into the last race on Sun. The lads took a superb 3rd in race 2 to follow a poor 16 in race 1. With some of the big guns like Shane McCarthy and Tim Corcoran discarding a blackflag result Alan & David realistically needed a top 5 finish in the last race. It was not to be however as in dying breeze a 13th meant both Niall Henry (Sligo YC) and Shane McCarthy (Greystone SC) pushed them back to 4th place. A superb series nonetheless and augurs well for Augusts GP14 World Championships in East Down YC.
After a solid Sat, the new pairing of Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley in their first event together, had a magnificent Sunday. With 3 top 10 finishes they moved right up the leader-board to take 10th overall and win the Silver Fleet. A superb result.
Former champion Hugh Gill was this time crewing for son Dan. After a very consistent Sat, Sunday proved difficult in the light and dying breeze and the pair had to settle for 14th overall and 2nd in the Silver Fleet. Consolation for Dan came as winner of the prestigious Championship Junior Helm (u19). Dan was taking the Sutton Dinghy Club donated trophy back to Sutton for the 2nd year running following David Johnston victory at the 2013 Championships.
While the event was a stern learning curve for Eanna Lawless and Sinead Dickson, there were plenty of moments to savor in their first major GP14 event. On Sat they had the pleasure of being 1st to the weather mark only for the race to be abandoned on the next leg due to a big shift. The shift had nothing to do with them getting to top mark first. Thats their story and their sticking to it. The pair put in a couple of very decent results along with the experience of a blackflag for good measure. An eventful first event still saw them pick up a prize for 2nd in Bronze fleet.
Ger Owens said a few words on behalf of the sailors following the prize-giving by Brian Raftery, Commodore of Sligo YC. Highlighting that all 3 GP14 events have been won by different crews with excellent turnouts, the fleet is in good health and should be confident of doing well in a couple of weeks in East Down YC.
The next event is the GP14 World Championships (Aug10-15) and we hope to have 3-4 boats on the line. After that the Autumn Open & Youth Championships take place in Howth Yacht Club at the end of August.
[whohit]-2014 GP14 Nationals-[/whohit]