Dobson and Tunnicliffe lead GP14 Worlds

More rain, poor visibility and shifty winds on the Harken sponsored Day Three of the GP14 World Championships 2008.

Racing continued today at the GP14 World Championships 2008 hosted by the South Caernarvonshire YC in Abersoch, despite poor weather conditions that included heavy rain, poor visibility and ten to twelve knot shifty breezes. Neil Marsden and Derek Hill kept their title challenge alive by winning the first race of the day but overall leaders Ian Dobson and Andy Tunnicliffe continued their consistent series so far with a second place to retain the overall lead.

Unfortunately the second race of the day had to be abandoned midway through when a hundred degree wind shift turned the racecourse inside out.

In Race One Neil Marsden started within a minute of the gate opening and held on starboard as a heavy rain shower moved across the fleet, dropping the visibility down to less than half a mile and flicking the breeze hard to the right. Somehow Marsden managed to find a small left hand shift to get him back across to the leading pack on the right and then used his pace to work his way to the front.

He rounded the windward mark about four boat lengths in front of Richard Estaugh & Simon Potts who were in close company with Matt Mee & Sam Brearey, Adam McGovern & Chris Robinson and Ian Dobson & Andy Tunnicliffe. Dobson made a concerted effort to soak below the pack of boats ahead and slid up into third place behind Estaugh at the wing mark.

Over the course of the next few legs, the front three boats eked out a significant lead over the chasing pack. As they started the final run, Marsden led from Estaugh and Dobson, but with the breeze down to around eight knots and moving around a great deal, all three boats had a chance of taking a much needed race win.

The three way battle for the lead was impossible to call as the boats separated, with Marsden and Dobson sailing in close company on the left of the run allowing Estaugh to work his way down the right. When the boats converged in the final few boat lengths from the leeward mark, Marsden had just done enough to round in the lead.

Behind him Estaugh initially crossed ahead of Dobson, but after the ensuing gybing match, Dobson gained the advantage and took the inside berth at the mark. There were no place changes on the final short beat meaning Marsden took the win ahead of Dobson and Estaugh.

In Race Two, the competitors had just completed the first triangle when the breeze began to shift rapidly to the right. Despite the race committee’s best efforts to lay change marks to compensate, the wind change began to accelerate and ended up as much as one hundred degrees further right, leaving no alternative but to abandon the race.

In the overall standings, Dobson and Tunnicliffe hold a three point lead over Marsden and Hill in second with Estaugh and Potts moving up to third.

The Silver Fleet is now headed by Mark Greenhalgh and Paul O’Neill ahead of Gerard O’Sulivan and Ben Saunders in second with Ian Sinclair and Alan Jones hanging on to their third place.

The Bronze Fleet also has a new leader. Jeremy Shinton and Austin Jackson have moved into first place ahead of Maurice Cooper & Karen Jewkes and Mike Butler & Steve Caladine in third.

Racing in the GP14 World Championships 2008 concludes tomorrow with the final two scheduled races.

Overall results after Day 4

Gold
1st Ian Dobson & Andy Tunnicliffe – Burwain SC/Royal Windermere YC, 5 points
2nd Neil Marsden & Derek Hill – Blackpool & Fleetwood SC, 8 points
3rd Richard Estaugh & Simon Potts – Chase SC, 10 points

Silver Fleet
1st Mark Greenhalgh & Paul O’Neill – Castle Semple SC, 87 points
2nd Gerard O’Sulivan & Ben Saunders – Sutton DC, 93 points
3rd Ian Sinclair & Alan Jones – Bolton SC/Nantwich CSC, 95 points

Bronze Fleet
1st Jeremy Shinton & Austin Jackson – Bartley SC, 210 points
2nd Maurice Cooper & Karen Jewkes – Derwent Reservoir SC, 218 points
3rd Mike Butler & Steve Caladine – Hollingworth SC, 221 points

Video clips of the racing on Day One and Day Three can be found on the Offshore Rules Website at www.offshorerules.com

The International GP14 Class Association is grateful for the generous support of their sponsors: Mailspeed Marine, Speed Sails, Harken, Goacher Sails and K. Drewe Insurance Brokers.