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The GJW Direct 45th Bloody Mary




29er takes all the prizes at the GJW Direct Bloody Mary

A good breeze with some spiky gusts greeted the sailors of this year’s GJW Direct Bloody Mary, the 45th to be held at Queen Mary and the 5th leg of the 2018-19 Selden Winter Series.

This year attracted 242 entries, representing 56 classes from 98 clubs. The force three, gusting four and later five testing the skills of sailors today.

Topper sailor James Crossley led from the second mark for two hours followed by Cameron Sword and Andy Peng also in Toppers. After two hours the 420 of Jack Lewis and Fraser Hemmings overhauled the Topper. Their lead only lasted fifteen minutes until Monique Vennis-Ozanne and John Mather in their 29er flew past them. As the clock ran down to the two and half hour finish, the 49er or Rick Peacock and Nick Murray was closing fast only 20 meters behind. The younger crew kept their heads to become the first 29er ever to win the Bloody Mary… and winning first Junior, first Lady helm, first 29er class prize and winners overall.

Monique Vennis-Ozanne said on coming ashore:
“It’s great! I’ve done it twice before in an RS Feva and a Topper and I can’t believe we’ve just won it! It was pretty hard racing and we’re just thinking ‘Come on, we’ve got to go’ as the 49er came towards us. It was so close and we know they were catching us, but they ran out of time. It was quite windy so good for the skiffs.”

Monique’s crew John Mather said:
“It was fantastic! Good conditions for the asymmetrics, a little bit of a wind shift meant we could hold the kite better on some of the runs. We were getting a little bit worried with the 49er and hoisted the kite on the penultimate run, but had to drop it a bit early, so it was nerve-wracking at the end. I’ve done it a few times, including in the Toppers at the front, so we knew to avoid the more traditional boats, stay out of the way and do our own thing. I learnt to sail at Wimbledon Park and sailed at Queen Mary quite a bit so am quite familiar with the wind and how shifty it can be – you’ve got to be ready for anything as the shifts can hit quite quickly. I’m sure the feeling of now winning the Bloody Mary will sink in when we’ve got the trophy home!”

Aerial Start

Well done to all who took to the water today. The Top 10 places were:

  1. 29er (2661) Monique Vennie-Ozanne and John Mather 
  2. 49er (224) Rick Peacock and Nick Murray
  3. 29er (2433) Oliver Evans and Willian Garman
  4. 420 (54487) Jack Lewis and Fraser Hemmings
  5. 420 (55242) Megan Ferguson and Bettine Harris
  6. RS800 (1166) Ralph and Sophie Singleton
  7. 2000 (22334) Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge
  8. Laser (214100) Jack Hopkins 
  9. Musto Skiff (544) Ben Schooling
  10. Osprey (1356) Ben and Simon Hawkes

  • First Lady Helm: 29er (2661) Monique Vennie-Ozanne
  • First Queen Mary Helm: RS400 (1441) Mark Oakey 
  • Grand Master: Merlin Rocket (3764) Tim Fells
  • First Junior Helm: 29er (2661) Monique Vennie-Ozanne

Class prizes were also awarded to:

  • 29er (2661) Monique Vennie-Ozanne and John Mather
  • RS Aero 7 (2439) Tim Hire
  • RS 200 (1688) Maria Stanley and Toby Lewis
  • RS 400 (1441) Mark Oakey and Dan Martin
  • Solo (5675) Tom Gillard
  • Topper (48232) James Crossley
  • D-zero (66) Nick Craig
  • Laser Radial (204122) Andrew Kerr
  • Laser (214100) Jack Hopkins

Planing 800

The overall winners thanked the race committee and all at the club for running the race and so many competitors for turning up to make it such a special day.

Results link

Glen Wallis from event title sponsor GJW Direct said about the event: “The race was so exhilarating and superb to watch with the result going down to the wire in the final minute. It’s a marvellous event, just being here today and seeing the variety of dinghies out on the water is pleasing. The competitors are from the grass-roots through to performance sailors and world champions, all abilities taking to the water and having a great day. The weather has been favourable and it’s superb to see so many people out on the water.”

Queen Mary would like to thank our title sponsors GJW Direct for their support, this allowed for new towering flood lights appreciated by all in the boat park. Thank you to our mighty team of volunteers both on and off the water whose assistance was greatly valued and much needed to run the event.

Colour Marine Insurance 004

What is the Bloody Mary?

The Bloody Mary Pursuit Race is the largest inland dinghy race held in the UK. Open to all dinghy classes with a PY number equal to or lower that the International Topper, it takes the form of a Pursuit Race with the slowest boat starting first and the faster boats starting progressively later depending on a handicap rating which is set by the Race Committee. This iconic event, which is in the Yachts and Yachting hall of fame as one of the Top 5 events in the world, draws competitors from all over the UK and the Continent.