GP26 excels at Sail Port Stephens

GP26 Rapid Transit excels in Sail Port Stephens Regatta

Bob Dempsey’s Fred Barrett-designed GP26 Rapid Transit, built by Aussie skiff builder Van Munster Boats and launched in December, has finished 1st overall in the recently-concluded Super 30 division and 2nd overall in last weekend’s Sail Port Stephens Regatta, organized by Yachting New South Wales. This is just the latest success of this GP26 sportboat in its inaugural summer sailing season on Sydney harbour, where it has performed well beyond expectations, with 1st, 2nd & 3rd podium positions in every series it has contested so far. 


And while this success comes in corrected time results, with a 3rd place achieved in the overall Super 30 Short Series during the summer sailing season, this GP26 has also shown some impressive all-out performance as well, logging a top speed of 19.6 knots with regular runs down Sydney harbour at speeds of 17+ knots. 

Over this past weekend Rapid Transit won 2nd   position overall in the Performance racing division of the Port Stephens regatta, with two wins from 4 races in the performance racing division. The little GP26 was the smallest yacht in class by more than 6 feet with some of its rivals nearly twice its size. In fact the GP26 masthead hardly reached the second spreaders of the majority of its competition. 

“The poor little thing was dwarfed [by the larger competition],” says designer Fred Barrett, “but the crew was fantastic! 

In the last two passage racing courses of the regatta, this little weapon managed to show her true potential beating home much larger and more expensive yachts, such as Sydney 38, Sydney 39CR, Archambault 40, Archambault 32 and a J/122. 

In Race 3 the Rapid Transit won the Performance racing division by over 7 minutes on corrected time in very light winds/ flat water conditions. This passage course on Saturday was just perfect for the GP26 with tight reaching courses that allowed very efficient use of the asymmetric spinnakers on most legs of the course. The light displacement allowed her to accelerate away from the larger heavier yachts, finishing a convincing 4th across the line. 

Race 4 finally saw the predicted weather conditions of blustery south-easterly gradient breeze of 16-24 knots greet the fleet for the last day of racing. The race committee elected for Course 8, with its tight reach to the first mark followed by a run to the bottom. With a great start, sound boat handling and strong tactics the little GP 26 showed pace beyond its length, scorching downwind at speeds up to 18.6 knots and rounding the bottom mark in first position. Only 4 of the 17 larger boats in the fleet had the speed to overhaul the little 26 footer before getting to the finish line. The 5th place finish over the line secured Rapid Transit with her second corrected time win of the series, and elevating her to 2nd position overall for the regatta. 

Due in part to the performance of Rapid Transit and a desire for a fast, seaworthy high performance keelboat of manageable size and price, Barrett reports he has another GP26 under build and significant additional interest in this design. 

For video footage of Rapid Transit in action, visit