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, but these days the GP14 is more commonly seen with the full rig of mainsail, genoa and spinnaker.
In the early 1990s a new internal layout was introduced, with built-in underfloor buoyancy. Commonly known as the “Mark 2” design, one of the great benefits that this introduced is that following a capsize the boat comes up with very little water in it.