Bloody freezin' Mary

Andy Nicholson reports as 255 boats compete in the annual pursuit race around Queen Mary
When it comes to running Open events in January, you have to really keep your fingers crossed for some good weather. That is exactly what greeted the organisers for the 30th annual Bloody Mary Pursuit Race held at Queen Mary Sailing Club on Saturday, bright, with 10-16 knots of chilly northerly. An anticipated turn out of 200 was well exceeded as the final entry list numbered 255 boats, ranging from an 18 Foot skiff through to a Miracle and including representatives from pretty much every active dinghy racing class. The race is a mainstay of the winter calendar for many enthusiastic sailors, many of whom come from all over the country to catch up with friends in the depth of winter. The race was originally put on to coincide with the London Boat Show, so that sailors visiting the show also had an excuse to bring their boats to London too. The relationship with the Show is now much less important as for many dinghy sailors the Sailboat Show in March is the one that really interests them. The race has also changed, with a drop in junior entries. Charles Wand-Tetley, General Manager of QMSC explained “With the race being two and half hours long, many juniors, sailing their Cadets, were just finding it too long and so the number junior entries have been falling away. The Topper is now the slowest boat which starts off the race.” By starting with the Topper, this gives the rest of the fleet and additional fifteen minutes of racing which Charles says is important: “Modern asymmetric classes are much faster boats now and this situation [no Cadets] means that they get a better value, longer race”. QMSC have not just forgotten their younger sailors and have introduced the Junior Bloody Mary for this year, which will run