Bloody Mary 2009

Infamous chilly pursuit race - 10 January
For the 36th time in as many years Queen Mary Sailing Club hosted the Bloody Mary Pursuit Race. On arrival, having driven through a snow storm, we were greeted by thick mist and freezing temperatures never to leave the minuses. With this and a forecast of 5 knot S.W. winds we did not expect a big turnout, however 177 boats turned up, 7 of which were Merlin Rockets. Chris Lewns was sporting a new suit of North Sails and Duncan Salmon and Ian Garwood had brought along a rather smart looking new Winder.

The day got off to a some what slow start with Chris Martins suffering from a frozen centreboard and Liam Dempsey turning up 10 minutes before the start, much to the relief of a rather worried looking Ross Jackson! They all, however, made it to the start line and got away cleanly.

We took up post on the spit overlooking mark 4, given that it was 1 of only 2 marks we could actually see through the slowly clearing mist. The first Merlin round was Salmon/Garwood now deep in the Laser fleet and catching the back end of the RS200’s. They were closely followed by Chris Lewns/Tom Pygall, Jackson/Dempsey, James Stewart/Ruth Johnson, Tony/Lou Johnson, Chris Martin/Ben Eaves and finally Jon Steward/Nick Yannakoyogos not far off the main pack.

By the time they reached the end of the first lap at mark 8, Lewns/Pygall had overhauled Salmon/Garwood and had pulled out a 4-5 boat length lead. Stewart/Johnson had overtaken Jackson/Dempsey for 3rd and Martin/Eaves had passed the Johnson’s for 5th place.

When they reached mark 4 for the second time, the only change was Jackson/Dempsey had slipped behind a charging Martin/Eaves. As the Johnsons rounded the mark, Martin Hunter in his Thames A Rater sailed round the outside of them and off after the rest of the fleet. The general opinion on the shore put the A Rater as favourite to take the line and he was looking good to back that up, however we had spotted a rather fast National 12 that looked like it could be hard to catch.

At the end of lap 2 and with just 20 minutes remaining the Merlin positions had remained the same with the A Rater catching fast. They looked good for the win at this point. With a dropping wind and a ticking clock they ran out of time and had to settle for 6th place just pushing Lewns/Pygall in to 7th place. The National 12 mentioned earlier held on for 3rd place with another two National 12’s line astern. A rather funky looking ‘Punk’ took 2nd place with a surprise winner of a Phantom helmed by Andy Couch of Blithfield. Well done Andy.

Report: Jeremy Deacon

See also:
    Full fleet results on Y&Y website
    Photo gallery on Y&Y website

Merlin Results:

7th		3666  	Chris Lewns & Tom Pygall
15th	3702  	Duncan Salmon & Ian Garwood
23rd	3656  	James Stewart & Ruth Johnson
55th	3543  	Chris Martin & Ben Eaves
63rd	3665  	Ross Jackson & Liam Dempsey
66th	3683  	Tony Johnson & Louise Johnson
99th	2997  	Jon Steward & Nick Yannakoyogos

Other ex-Merlin sailors:

11th	RS200	Roger Gilbert & Jane Willan
31st	Solo	Rob Wilder