In August 2014, East Down Yacht Club, Co Down, will host the GP14 World Championships. This will see one of the largest one-design dinghy fleets ever to compete on the magnificent waters of Strangford Lough, with several world-class dinghy sailors competing for the top prizes.
The GP14 has been a popular general purpose dinghy throughout Ireland and GB for over 60 years, with fleets also in Sri Lanka, Australia, South Africa and the USA. The class is probably the strongest two-hander one-design fleet in the UK and Ireland, at least going by participation at national championships. In 2006, the world championships attracted a fleet of over 110 boats to the turbulent waters off Rosses Point, Co. Sligo.
Whilst the basic hull and rig shape have remained unchanged since the first GP14 was built by Jack Holt in 1949, advances in materials and layout have ensured that the boat remains modern in feel and performance. Both FRP, GRP and wooden versions are equally competitive, although there is an Irish bias for the magnificent wooden boats created by Belfast boat-builder and innovator Alastair Duffin.
Strangford Lough is almost totally landlocked, but completely tidal, providing a sanctuary for seals, porpoises, terns, horse mussels, and many other species of wildlife. With moderate currents and sheltered from ocean swell, the midlough provides some of the best waters for dinghy racing anywhere in the world. Lying in the shelter of Taggart island, a couple of miles north of Killyleagh at the south end of the lough, East Down Yacht Club provides superb facilities for a large dinghy fleet, including hard standing for 150 dinghies, a wide gentle slip, bar and dining facilities, and grounds for camping.
The club looks forward to seeing all of their local Irish and UK boats and GP14 sailors and friends, and plans to make the week of 9th - 15th of August 2014 a spectacular and unforgettable occasion.