The final day of 2013 Craftinsure GP14 Championship of Ireland and the forecast is not good for racing. 3 knots gusting 4 is not conducive to getting in 2 races. With the day looking like it would be warm with plenty of sun, the hope was a sea breeze would kick in.
Our event leader Ger Owens and Melanie Morris really needed only a top 10 finish in one race to confirm the title but it was all to play for the minor placings and the Silver, Bronze and Classic fleets.
The race management team on committee boat Saoirse headed out to the bay and wasn’t long before they called for fleet to launch. The 2pm start was AP’d but it wasn’t long before breeze shifted more easterly and PRO Scorie Walls had the fleet in sequence. Windward leeward course and Black flags. The fleet get away all clear.
On first beat, fleet splits equally left and right. Wind was now steady about 110 and 8 knots. At the weather mark it wasclose with McCarthy (14061), Owens (14076), Morris (14077) and Corcoran (14047) all to the fore. Fleet splits again with Morris (14077) ahead of Owens (14076) pink spinnaker staying right on Red Rock side of the course. Corcoran (14047) and Gill (13915) come left and out into the bay.
At halfway down the leg, O’Connell (13801) is now also in the mix along with McCarthy (14961), Elmes (13982) and O’Tiarnaigh (14116X). By the leeward mark Owens O’Connell and Morris are leading 3 and have a few boat lengths on the chasing fleet. Most of the fleet stay out right for a bit before tacking back across to the Sutton shore.
At this point Owens just needs to maintain his position and the title is his but its turning into a repeat of yesterdays last race battle between O’Connell and Owens. Both boats were neck and neck, tack for tack down to weather mark with Owens just creeping inside O’Connell at the mark. A great rounding and then super hoist sees Owens come out that little bit quicker and the momentum was now with the event leader.
Corcoran has now connected with Owens and O’Connell and these 3 are ahead of the fleet. The battle behind was equally close with Elmes, McCarthy, Morris all very tight but the race was between Owens out right and Corcoran and O’Connell as they headed down to leeward mark for the last time.
Around the mark and Owens has the advantage and comes home first and 5 races on the bounce and the new GP14 Champion. Its very close but Corcoran pips O’Connell for 2nd with Morris 4th ahead of Elmes and McCarthy 7th.
In Classic fleet veteran Pat Murphy/Ronan Hand had a race win from local junior Callum Maher/Saoirse Kelly. In Silver fleet, David Lappin (Skerries) and Bill Johnson (Lough Foyle) were still battling it out and the Bronze fleet would also go to the last race with a point separating local junior David Johnston and Tim Davies (Chelmarsh).
Owens takes his place on the start line for 7th and final race and with the wind steady from 120 and 6-8knots race gets underway with black flag.
At the weather mark its John McGuinness (14056) and O’Connell (13801) to the fore, with Owens about 6th. However very shortly after rounding its obvious Owens is heading home and the race is on for the minor placings.
O’Connells showing over last 4 races has put him right in contention for 2nd and with Corcoran not top 10 on final downwind leg O’ Connell was now favourite. O’Tiarnaigh (14116x) was now up in contention with Niall Henry (Sligo), Louden (Skerries), O’Connor (Sligo) and Instone (Blithefield SC).
In Classic fleet SDC junior Callum Maher/Saoirse White takes the 7th race from Duncan Greenhalgh/Ryan Sinnott.
Around bottom mark for last time and O’Connell lead from SDC’s O’Tiarnaigh with Henry (Sligo) 4th, Instone (Blithefield SC) 5th.
That 2nd place in race 7 confirm O’Connell as Championship runner up from Corcoran in 3rd.
A 21st in final race is enough to give Bill Johnson (Lough Foyle) Silver fleet from David Lappin (Skerries) with Sheppard (Skerries) taking 3rd.
Bronze fleet went to SDC Junior David Johnston/ Darragh White from Tim Davies (Chelmarsh) and James Ogg (Donaghadee). An overall 22nd place also gave Johnston/White (SDC) top Junior and Championship newcomer prize.
Classic fleet was won by Stephen Loton Parry (York RI) from GP14 International President Duncan Greenhalgh (Derwent Resevoir).
The prize giving ceremony introduced by Hugh Gill from Sutton Dinghy Club was attended by Make a Wish Ireland representative Martina Madden who thanked Sutton Dinghy Club and the GP14 Class association for selecting them as charity of choice. With over €3000 raised already by the 50 GP14 crews who entered the event, the initiative was a huge success.
Harry Hermon, CEO of ISA was also in attendance to present the Gold, Silver and Bronze ISA medals to Owens/Morris, O’Connell/O’Connell and Corcoran/Brugan respectively.
And finally Sutton Dinghy Club Commodore Andy Johnston presented the Championship trophies to Ger Owens and Melanie Morris, very worthy Craftinsure GP14 Championship of Ireland winners for 2013.
The next event is GP14 Open and Youth Nationals in Sligo on 14/15 September.