This years Bloody Mary Pursuit Race started with the postponement flag flying as the fleets waited for the wind to drop. The sailors of the 5th leg of the GJW SailJuice Winter Series did not have to wait long for the 42nd Bloody Mary to get under way at Queen Mary Sailing Club. This year attracting 235 entries in 58 classes from 101 clubs all around the British Isles and over seas from Santa Cruz YC, California, USA to a fleet of RS Aeros from Luxembourg.
Even after a violent line cold front with its associtaed wind and rain had passed, the weather treated sailors to a steady Force 5 with some tasty gusts in the 30 knot region.
A humbling list of sailors graced the water, every second sailor seemed to be a world or national champion. This did not seem to deter the early starters. Molly Sacker led the Toppers for much of the race with a masterful demonstration of heavy wind sailing. The radial fleet was the largest with 28 entries with Steve Cockerill and Queen Mary’s Daniel Martin hungry in the chase to catch the Toppers. As the event unfolded the usual suspects of Nick Craig in a Merlin Rocket, Michael Sims in his Solo and Stuart Jones in a Contender who made the breeze look easy and battled at the front.
But of the 69 finishers it was Fireball sailors Tom Gillard and Richard Anderton who took the lead at the two hour mark, held off the chasing Fireballs and 505s right to the finish and took the finishing gun to win the Bloody Mary!
The Top 10 places were
1. Tom Gillard and Richard Anderton, Shefield Viking and HISC, Fireball 15081
2. David Edwards and Vyv Townend, Bewl Valley, Fireball 15096
3. Mike Holt and Tim Needham, Santa Cruz YC, 505 9072
4. Stuart Jones, Datchet Contender, 2465
5. Ian Pinnell and Alex Davies, HISC, 505 9136
6. Paul Allen and Adam Whitehouse, Weir Wood, Fireball 14898
7. Steve Cockerill, Stokes Bay, Radial 181920
8. William Warren and Mark Oakey, Shoreham, Merlin Rocket 3756
9. Angus Hemmings and Steve Chesney, Stokes Bay, Fireball 14791
10. Michael Sims, Carsington, Solo 5491
First Lady helm was Courtney Bilbrough sailing with Harriet Ward, for the VR Race team in a 29er 1220.
First Queen Mary Helm, 11th overall and Winner of the Grand Master was Michael Hicks, sailing with his Brother Patrick for Queen Mary in a Flying 15 3900.
First junior and 13th overall was Daniel Martin of Queen Mary, sailing a Laser radial 203973.
Class prizes were also awarded to:
Laser – Cameron Tweedle, Oxford Sailing Club, 202471
Laser Radial – Steve Cockerill, Stokes Bay, 181920
RS200 – Chris Martin and Katharine Martin, Oxford Sailing Club 1540
RS Feva – Will Taylor and Matt Taylor, Royal Mersey YC, 5028
RS400 – Matt Sheahan and Ellie Sheahan, Netley, 1051
Topper – William Cook, HISC, 45710
National 12 – Jeremy Hartley and Luke Hartley, Stokes Bay, 3519
Merlin Rocket - William Warren and Mark Oakey, Shoreham, Merlin Rocket 3756
29er – Tom Johnson and Flynn Davies, Burnham, 1221
Matt and Ellie Sheahan in their RS400 took the Gul Spot prize for 47th place – innovative solutions keeping you warm for 47 years. The Virtual Rigger mid fleet prize went to Ollie Perry of Silver Wing in his Radial 190861.
The overall winners thanked the race committee and all at the club for running the race so well in challenging conditions.
Boat Tracking was used at the Bloody Mary and a full replay can be viewed following the link below. Trackers were used on the leaders of the GJW SailJuice series and on known top sailors across 21 fleets, from Toppers to Musto Skiffs. Speed bragging right’s can go to Ian Pinnell and crew in their 505 hitting 19.4 knots and Stuart Jones in his Contender hitting 16.9 knots, the fastest double and single handed sailors of the bunch respectively.
Queen Mary would like to thank our sponsors Volvo Cars Sailing, Sportography, Virtual Rigger, 91 Consulting and Spiral Studios whose assistance was greatly valued in running the event. To those who braved the condition and had faith in the weather forecast we salute you and hope to see you all next year for another magical day.