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Home | Racing | Club Fleets | GP14


Fleet Captain: Paul Gray

The GP14 is used for all levels of sailing, from training beginners to club racing to competing at regional, national and world events. As a relatively stable boat, it is ideal to learn to sail in and can be sailed by people of all ages and abilities.

The GP14 has been a favourite at Budworth for many years. It was adopted as a fleet in 1956, initially with 12 boats. In three years this had risen to 33 boats, and in ten years to 40 boats, maintaining that minimum for the next fifteen years. In 1995 the fleet recorded its highest number with 55 boats. Fast forward to 2022 and the fleet now has over 35 boats regularly racing making Budworth one of the largest active GP14 fleets in the UK, not mention an active social calendar and camaraderie in the club bar after racing!

Two new boats were purchased in 2017 for the training fleet and are available for hire to members for practice/cruising as well as being eligible for race entry. To hire a boat for the day, please visit 'club boat booking' on the main web page.

GP14 events at our club for your calendar:

Saturday 1st June 2024 - GP14 fleet training day

Sunday 2nd June 2024 - Northern Bell GP14 Open at Budworth

About the GP14 Dinghy

Originally designed by Jack Holt in 1949, the GP14 is easily recognised by the distinctive bell on the mainsail. This is thought to be either a reference to the legendary bells of Aberdyfi, North Wales, where Jack Holt is alleged to have designed the GP14 or, perhaps more likely, it relates to the original manufacturer Bell Woodworking.

The idea behind the design was to build a general purpose (GP), 14-foot dinghy which could be raced, cruised, rowed or to which you could even attach an outboard motor if you wanted to. Nowadays, you are most likely to see the GP14 being used to race competitively, training people to sail or occasionally just enjoying a casual cruise around a lake, estuary or coastline.

The boat was initially designed with a mainsail and small jib as a comfortable family dinghy. The jib is still available, and it can be particularly useful when using the boat to teach sailing or for lighter crew weights. For more exciting sailing, a spinnaker can be added and these days the GP14 is most commonly seen with the full rig of mainsail, genoa and spinnaker.

A new design, commonly known as the "Mark 2", was introduced in the early 1990s, and offered a new internal layout with built-in underfloor buoyancy. One of the great benefits that this introduced is that following a capsize the boat comes up with very little water in it. This has continually been refined in later years.

The latest modification approved by the GP14 Class Association (2020) allowed boat builders to incorporate spinnaker "pockets" built into the side decks, similar to other classes such as the Fireball. This is an alternative to using pannier bags or barrier nets in the cockpit.

Whilst improvements to materials, design and ergonomic interior changes benefit the latest boats, the external dimensions and weight of the boat are closely controlled, and this means that boats of all ages can still compete on an equal "one-class design" basis. This is exemplified by the GP14 Association World and National championships, which see boats of all ages still competing, with the top sailors not always sailing the most recent boats.

Racing or cruising?

The GP14 can be entered into any of the many racing series that are held throughout the season and is also the club dinghy of choice for entry into the prestigious West Lancs 24hr endurance race held annually at Southport. Budworth regularly feature top of the leader board out of 60-70 boats and consistently enter no fewer than 3 teams. in the recent GP14 World Championships in 2022 at Skerries Ireland, the Budworth burgee was flying over 5 entries who all performed well in their class.

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