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News 1999

Bloody Mary 2002

The Bloody Mary is one of the best knows dinghy races. It is held at Queen Mary Sailing Club at the beginning of each year - corresponding to the beginning of the boat show.

It is a persuit race with a pandemoniun of around 300 boats of all kinds including Lasers, Enterprises, international 14s, Thames "A" Raters and RS classes.

Saturday 5th January 2002

This year the theme was fog! never before have I known people missing the race because they could't find the start 100m from the club! The fog was a blessing as it was positively warm after days of hard frost. Again a shade short of 300 entrants and miracles worked by the organisers meant almost everbody got to their starts on time. Val Nedyalkov was crewing an International 14 in a race for the first time, with me. Jon Smith helmed my wife Vian's 14 GBR 1337 Tickle, for his firat 14 race.

14s started 54 minutes after the first boats (toppers & 2.4s). Much of the race was so foggy, finding the start was a nigtmare, you couldn't see both ends of the line at on time! It was also very light we never used our harnesses, and Val spent the entire race in front of the mast. But when it began to lift we were pleasantly surprised to see that much of the fleet was behind us. On the way round we both passed Julian Pearson in a Laser (not a laser day).

In the end Jon had made it to the first 200's with 171st and we were very pleased to to be the first 14 at 31st.

Martin Dixon GBR 1386 English Rose


Bloody Mary 2000


Jonathan Smith's Bloody Mary 2000 Diary

Here's my Bloody Mary Diary:-

3rd Dec 1999
Go to Surrey Uni Sailing Club Christmas Party. Begin plying commodore with alcohol and persuading her what a good idea it would be to lend me one of her lurvely Laser IIs for the Bloody Mary. After all we brought back the one from Cowes Dinghy Week in one piece!...

Meanwhile my usual partner in crime is at the London Uni Sailing Club christmas bash and falls down stairs, hospitalising himself.

2nd January 2000
Remember about Bloody Mary and begin planning in ernest. Potential crews are going to scotland, sailing their own laser and driving home unwell relatives. The boat is secured however.

7th January 2000
Having exhausted address book, ask brother to crew. Go to Datchet and procure foils, sails and other "bits" from the lock-up. Load boat onto trailer. Brother arrives in London and announces that whilst a reasonable laser sailor he hasn't used a trapeze or spinnaker ever. Oh dear...

8th January 2000
The big day. Get up very early. Take a wrong turning on the way to QueenMary doing almost a complete circumnavigation of Heathrow Airport! Arrive at Queen Mary and rig boat. Discover the lack of one essential "bit". Drive back to Datchet in a hurry to procure a spinnaker pole. Try to raise sails and find that the mainsail will only go 2 feet up the mast. Luckily Uni commodore is on hand and helps capsize the boat in the dinghy park to tie sail to top of mast.

Launch boat. Begin coaching brother in essentials of trapezing. After a few dodgy moments of losing footing but not quite flying past the forestay he gets the hang of it. Quick spinnaker hoist to make sure he knows where everything should go. Approach start. Two boats are stationary at the committee boat, one trying to stop the other from getting to the line. Sneak behind them and cross the line only a second after the gun at full speed and only 10yards from the committee boat. Lose concentration for a little while whilst celebrating a darn good start.

Try to identify windward mark amongst the mass of boats to windward of us. Give up and follow the leading Laser II which has just passed us. Round windward mark. Shout at brother lots as spinnaker takes ages to set. Now lying third of the Laser IIs and the Merlin Rockets steal all my wind. First spinnaker gybe goes OK. We're still doing very well here. Approach leeward mark. Lack of communication leads brother to remove spinnaker pole and make ready for a beat when it's actually a beam reach. Eventually get everything set and enjoy our only screaming three sail reach. Go easy on brother and allow an early spinnaker drop for the mark. Nice upwind leg with a little more wind. Brother looks like he's seriously getting the hang of this trapezing business. Casually cream past the RS200 rear guard. Followed by a rather boring two sail reach across the top of the pond and no place changing at all.

Second spinnaker hoist goes lots better. Downwind leg sees us fighting off a 4000 going rather slow and various others. As we approach the leeward mark in a serious battle with said 4000 I push my brother hard for a fast spinnaker drop. Rounding mark, notice that wind has got up seriously as the sheet is now very heavy. Enjoy almost four minutes level pegging with an overpowered 4000. Tack and suddenly realise in dismay that all is lost. Pushing brother too hard was obviously a bad idea as spinnaker pole is now wrapped around shroud. Obviously the boom was against the shroud when he stowed the pole and the shroud was caught between the pole and the boom. No wonder the sheet was so heavy, I was bending some serious metal!

Remove pole and stow up spinnaker shoot. Decide to carry on. It took all that effort to get here after all! At the next leeward mark we see another Laser II trawling for fish with their spinnaker. Try hard not to laugh at the misfortunes of others. After all, everyone could see us beating up with a pole wrapped around the shroud... But still, a small amount of pleasure is gained. We may not come completely last! Limp around the remainder of the course to be passed by all those RS200s we passed before.

We came in 234th, 3rd of the five Laser IIs who finished. And I'll be back next year.
Johnathon Smith


The final results were published late on Sunday. Of the 294 starters, one was disqualified, 46 retired and 248 finished.

The winning 49er Helm
Second - an Int 14 helmed by Johnathon Pudney
The first Queen Mary boat
International 14 dave Spragg / Andy Loukes

This year wasn't the best for our club. London Corinthian was represented by Johnathan Smith (helming a Laser II finished 234th) Martin Dixon (helming an International 14 Rtd) and Vian Eisnaes (crewing a classic 14 Rtd).

Copyright © London Corinthian Sailing Club, 6 Jan 2002