Andy Rice
Sailing Today|March 2021
The absence of tangible dinghy racing action led me to take a look at the history of the Bloody Mary pursuit race - and unearth some gems of knowledge
Bloody Mary

Without question, I can honestly say this has been the least thrilling edition of the Selden Sailjuice Winter Series. As I write, just the Datchet Flyer has taken place, with only the slimmest prospect of any other events taking place this season. At least us dinghy racers can live vicariously through the excitement of the closest ever Vendée Globe along with all the unpredictables twists and turns of the Prada Cup in New Zealand.

In the spirit of trying to make something happen on every weekend where we had been due to have a Sailjuice event, our Facebook Live gatherings have unearthed some fascinating facts from the dim and distant past. “The History of the Bloody Mary” was a particular favorite thanks to past Queen Mary Sailing Club commodore Chris Simon and current commodore Andrew Craig’s delving back into the archives of the most famous Pursuit Race of all.

Most famous? I would say that’s true, but more remarkably, did you know it is believed to be the first-ever Pursuit Race in the sport of sailing? Chris relates the story: “It was a race that was brought about by popular demand because in 1972, after long negotiations with what was then the Metropolitan Water Board, access was allowed to the reservoir for recreational sailing, which had taken a long time and even some law changes to achieve it.

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