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The GP14 fleet at Staunton Harold comprises around 10 boats. Three or more can be seen racing competitively each weekend and during the week or cruising our pleasant waters. The fleet members are a mixture of gender and age. GP14 members at Staunton Harold can be found travelling to Open meetings, Area Championships, and Regattas held on inland waters or on the coast.

The GP14 celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2010, having been designed by the legendary Jack Holt in 1949 and first sailed at Aberdovey in1950. It was a response to a call from the then editor of Yachting World magazine for a boat that could be raced hard, yet also take a family cruising, be rowed or even powered by a small outboard and it utilised the then latest modern materials of marine ply and glue, which came to the fore in world war 2 aircraft construction. It truly is a General Purpose dinghy, which was the original design remit.

The GP14 is a 14ft long two person (for racing) sailing dinghy and is built in either wood or GRP/Epoxy. The original boats were often home built from kits supplied by Bell Woodworking of Leicester (from which it is said, the Bell insignia originates), and beautiful wooden boats are still being built, however most new boats are built in low maintenance GRP or Epoxy these days. The boat is suitable for competitive racing and good cruising can be had on inland and coastal waters. The GP14 is an excellent sea boat having a good freeboard. It is quite a stable and “forgiving” boat for beginners to sail and in fact has been widely used as a training boat at many sailing clubs. It has a fractional rig comprising mainsail, genoa and spinnaker and is an exciting boat to race in, especially in a good blow.  

Optimum weight of helm and crew is 120 – 185 kg. There are many clubs with GP14 fleets in the UK and abroad, and the World Championships 2014, will be held in Northern Ireland.

The GP14 is particularly suitable for clubs like Staunton Harold, having a handicap number (PY1130) in the mid range, which puts it at the fast end of the slow fleet in our usual race format. This means that in average conditions the GPs get clear air off the start line and can enjoy competitive tactical racing on a lake of our size, without “running out of room” as the fastest boats can do in a strong blow. When the wind does get up, the runs and reaches are exciting enough for most people without becoming an out and out endurance test.

The Midlands has a large concentration of active GP14 sailors and many enjoy the benefits of the GP14 Class Association (www.gp14.org) which includes tuning your GP, sails, buying new or second-hand and an events diary. For more local information, visit the Midlands GP14 web site (www.gp14midlands.org.uk).