|Draft||1,200 mm (47 in)|
|Hull weight||132.9 kg|
|LOA||4.27 m (14 ft)|
|Spinnaker area||8.4 m2|
|Upwind sail area||12.85 m2|
The GP14 is a popular sailing dinghy, with well over 14,000 built.
The class is active in the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and parts of north-eastern USA, and the GP 14 can be used for both racing and cruising.
The GP14 was designed by Jack Holt in 1949, with the assistance of the Dovey Yacht Club in Aberdyfi. The idea behind the design was to build a General Purpose (GP) 14-foot dinghy which could be sailed or rowed, capable of also being powered effectively by a small outboard motor, able to be towed behind a small family car and able to be launched and recovered reasonably easily, and stable enough to be able to lie to moorings or anchor when required. Racing soon followed, initially with some degree of opposition from Yachting World, who had commissioned the design, and the boat soon turned out to be an outstanding racing design also.
The boat was initially designed with a main and small jib as a comfortable family dinghy. In a design philosophy that is both practical and highly redolent of social attitudes of the day the intention was that she should accommodate a family comprising parents plus two children, and specifically that the jib should be modest enough for "Mum" or older children to handle, while she should perform well enough to give "Dad" some excitement when not taking the family out. While this rig is still available, and can be useful when using the boat to teach sailing, or for family sailing, and has some popularity for cruising, the boat is more commonly seen with the full modern rig of a mainsail, genoa and spinnaker. Australian boats also routinely use trapezes.
In the late eighties underfloor buoyancy was introduced to the foam-reinforced plastic (FRP) boats, and the internal layout of these boats underwent several stages of modernisation. In the early 1990s a new internal layout was introduced in the wooden boats (the "Series 2"), with built-in underfloor buoyancy.
This was further modified over the following years, led by boat builders Alistair Duffin, who builds in wood, and Holt Allen (later Speed Sails Ltd and now Winder Boats), who manufacture in GRP (glass-reinforced plastic) and FRP. As of the 2011 RYA Dinghy Show a new builder in FRP, Boon Boats, has entered the market with a significantly different interior layout, developed in agreement with the Class Association. The majority of wooden boats in recent years have been built by Alistair Duffin. Another highly respected wooden boat builder of the class, Tim Harper, has recently returned to building them after a period not doing so. New to the fleet of wooden builders is Gingerboats. A few boats are still amateur built, and one amateur-built boat won the National Championship in both 2002 and 2005 (and is still regularly winning in top flight competition), while another amateur-built boat came second in the 2006 World Championship. Racing honours are evenly divided between the wooden and the plastic boats. New boats are currently available in wood, GRP and FRP.
Of the three most recent GP14 World Championships, those held at Sligo Yacht Club, Ireland, in July/August 2006, and at Abersoch, UK in August 2008, each attracted entries of over 110 boats, while that in Sri Lanka (February 2011) attracted 38 boats from UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, Scandinavia (this Editor thinks), and Sri Lanka.
Each year the UK has a National Championship and a number of regional Championships, plus an Inland Championship and a Youth Championship, plus a considerable number of Open Meetings, and a Grand Prix awarded on the basis of points gained in a specified number of qualifying events from this list.
A number of owners cruise the boats, in some cases as well as racing them and in other cases in preference to racing, and cruises have ranged from the gentlest day sailing to such ambitious undertakings as crossings of the English Channel and the Irish Sea, and a circumnavigation of the Isle of Mull. Indeed in 1959 one intrepid owner sailed single-handed from Southend to Calais, and followed this in 1962 with a trip from Dover to Ostend. More recently, in 2011, two GP14s in company cruised the full length of the Great Glen, from Fort William to Inverness.
In the very early days of the class, when people used to a more traditional type of dinghy dubbed this new creation the "floating coffin", Roger Seal conclusively demonstrated her seaworthiness by sailing from Cardiff to New Quay, Wales, via St. David's Head.
Very occasional cruising owners camp aboard, although it has to be admitted that space for this is more than a little restricted.
Most serious cruising boats, even if only day-cruising, set dedicated cruising sails; these are constructed differently from racing sails and from heavier but more supple cloth, and are nearly always equipped with a means of reefing. The original design, with the small jib, provided for square gooseneck roller reefing for the main; modern boats usually prefer slab/jiffy reefing for the main, and some set fully reefable genoas by means of a headsail reefing drum and associated equipment (including a reefing spar).
An active Class Association supports both racing and cruising activities.
A creditable number of the very earliest boats of the class are still in existence, several of them still sailing, and others under restoration. The Class Association are very proud of this part of their history, and are now deliberately fostering interest in the vintage boats, both through specific events for them and publicising news of them. As of March 2011, of those boats with sail numbers less than 100 (all dating from 1951 or earlier) this Editor knew the whereabouts of no less than 19 of them, and 6 of those have sail numbers less than 10. Of those nineteen boats with sail numbers less than 100, at least eight were still sailing, at least four of them having had restorations of varying degrees; at least one (no. 2, no less) was understood to be in completely unrestored original condition, and had been owned by the same family throughout her life. No less than four boats with sail numbers less than 100 (nos. 2, 7, 28 and 64) were sailing in company at the inaugural Aberdovey Vintage and Cruising Weekend in July 2010, and it was hoped to double that number for the 2011 event; however in the event the turnout for 2011 did not achieve that higher number. Sadly no. 10 is understood to have been lost in a workshop fire.
As at 2018, boat No. 2, Pimpernel, has been gifted to the Class Association, and is currently being restored in preparation for a celebratory voyage in 2020, which is hoped to be the full length of the UK, celebrating 70 years of the Class.
- "Centerboard Classes". US Sailing. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "Portsmouth Number List 2016" (PDF). Royal Yachting Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 April 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- Stuart Fisher (5 January 2012). Rivers of Britain: Estuaries, Tideways, Havens, Lochs, Firths and Kyles. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-1-4081-5931-6.
- 50 Years On The Water, GP14 Class Association, pp. 89-92
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2011-03-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- 50 Years On The Water, GP14 Class Association, p. 107
- Mainsail, GP14 Class Association, issue for Winter 2011, p.48
- Mainsail, GP14 Class Association, issue for Spring 2011, p.37
- Mainsail, GP14 Class Association, issue for Summer 2007, p.35
- Mainsail, GP14 Class Association, issues for Spring 2006, pp. 45-6, and Summer 2006, pp.34-7
- http://www.doveyyachtclub.org.uk/index.php?s=vintage+GP14[permanent dead link]
- Mainsail, GP14 Class Association, issues for Spring 2010, pp.39 and 44-5, Winter 2010, p.44, and Spring 2011
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