First Irish win at GP14 UK National Championships for 50 years

Shane MacCarthy and Andy Thompson of Greystones SC clear winners at Brixham

Shane MacCarthy and Andy Thompson won the GP14 UK National Championships.

Shane MacCarthy and Andy Thompson won the GP14 UK National Championships.

 

A rare Irish victory at the GP14 UK Nationals has been achieved by Wicklow dinghy duo Shane MacCarthy and Andy Thompson for only the second time in 50 years.

In an excellent fillip for a resurgent Irish class, the UK win last weekend follows July’s celebrations for a bumper turnout of the 14-footers at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

The Greystones Sailing Club pair emerged clear winners in a 44-boat fleet at Brixham with a race to spare.

It’s the second UK title for MacCarthy and Thompson who previously won the UK Fireball title in 2003. It took the combination 12 years to add the elusive GP14 title – one of the most important dinghy racing trophies in the UK – and it came sweetly on the English Riviera last Sunday.

The week-long regatta featured nine races and two discards. Conditions were mixed with light winds on the first and last days but big breeze mid-week. The fleet had a mix of gate and line starts and by the final day MacCarthy and Thompson held a four-point lead going into the final two races. By sailing nearest rivals Graham Flynn & Adam Froggat of Chase Sailing Club down to 33rd in the penultimate race they didn’t have to sail the final race.

Next event

Burton Allen

The next event on the GP14 calendar is the three-day Irish National Championships at the end of the month but MacCarthy is already targeting next April’s 90-boat World Championships in Barbados where up to 27 Irish boats will compete.

MacCarthy and Thompson will be looking to add a third Irish name to the Worlds trophy. The Fekkes Brothers from Larne won it in 1991 and Bill Whisker and Brian McKee from Ballyholme were winners in 1975.

Irish sailors are among 339 sailors from 52 nations for the important Aquece Rio regatta - event starting Saturday in Brazil. With a year to go to the Olympics representing Ireland at the test event is Dubliner Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial, Belfast’s James Espey in the Laser Standard and Belfast’s 49er duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern, all of whom have already qualified Ireland for Rio 2016.They are joined by Dun Laoghaire 49erfx campaigners Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey who still seek nation qualification.

A record-sized fleet, at present standing at 372 boats (up from 335 in 2013), is entered into Sunday’s 90th anniversary Fastnet Race with an unsettled weather forecast.

The fleet will be split between seven starts, setting off west down the Solent from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes. First away at noon will be the “non-IRC” classes – the Multihulls, led by the world’s fastest offshore racing yacht, Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard’s 40m trimaran, Spindrift 2.

They will be followed 10 minutes later by the Vendée Globe heroes in the IMOCA Ocean Masters class, plus the Class40s and Figaros. After these comes the huge IRC fleet, culminating in the largest monohulls 1.49pm.

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