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Two 17-year-olds in 29er win GJW Direct 47th Bloody Mary

by Katie Osborne 7 Jan 11:21 PST 7 January 2023

Two 17-year-old sailors won the GJW Direct Bloody Mary pursuit race, the sixth leg of the Selden Sailjuice Series, which was held at Queen Mary Sailing Club on Saturday 7 January 2023.

James Crossley and Noah Fitzgerald, from Hayling Island Sailing Club, crossed the line in their 29er after one-hour and 39 minutes.

They were among 146 competitors, representing 43 boat classes from 68 UK sailing clubs who entered the 2.5 hour race, which has not taken place for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A total of 99 boats crossed the finish line. A southerly wind, reaching top speeds of 22 knots, gusting 32, and blustery showers meant competitors faced very challenging conditions.

Winning helm, James Crossley, said: "It was pretty pumpy at the start and died towards the end which was nice because we were struggling. It was windy. But we were confident we could catch the boats ahead of us and come in first. The last time I did this race was in a Topper and it was a completely different experience."

His crew, Noah Fitzgerald, said: "We've done quite a lot of training recently and we've been pushing a lot recently to keep the stick up and make it look it pretty."

The pair are now looking to win the 29er World Championships later this year before moving into a 49er.

Martin Pue, race director, said: "The 47th GJW Direct Bloody Mary was a huge success with a great turnout, despite the challenging weather conditions. It was impressive to see nearly 30 youth helms, 16 Grand Masters and a whole range of ages in between.

"It was a competitive race, reflected in the top ten prizes awarded to boats across nine different classes. The race was extremely well organised, something we have come to expect from Queen Mary Sailing Club in recent years. Huge thanks must go to the 50+ volunteers and the race management team, safety teams and staff who worked tirelessly throughout the day.

"We would like to thank our title sponsors GJW Direct and also the Selden SailJuice Winter Series."

Jez Entwistle from event sponsor GJW Direct said: "It was great to see such a competitive race out on the water today. I was especially pleased to see so many youth sailors competing, which is a great testament to the RYA youth program and the UK dinghy sailing scene as a whole. The Bloody Mary really is a truly unique bucket list event which GJW Direct are delighted to continue to support."

Overall Results: (top ten, full results here)

1st - James Crossley & Noah Fitzgerald, 29er, Hayling Island Sailing Club
2nd - Sam Pascoe, Musto Skiff, Castle Cove Sailing Club
3rd - DJ Edwards & Vyv Townend, Fireball, Bough Beech Sailing Club
4th - Paul Brotherton & Arran Holman, 470, Glossop Sailing Club
5th - Joe Warwicker & Hugo Valentine, 420, Shoreham Sailing Club
6th - Ollie Meadowcroft & Will Martin, 420, Upper Thames Sailing Club/Cardiff Bay
7th - Ben Flower, ILCA 7, Paignton Sailing Club
8th - Simon Horsfield & Katie Horsfield, 2000, Thorney Island Sailing Club
9th - Tim Hire, RS Aero 7, LTSC/RLymYC
10th - John Meadowcroft & Zoe Ballantyne, N12, Upper Thames/Burghfield Sailing Club

  • First Lady Helm: Amelie Hiscocks, 29er, Weymouth and Portland Sailing Club
  • First Queen Mary Helm: Chris Eames, RS400, Queen Mary Sailing Club
  • Grand Master: Steve Cockerill, Europe, Stokes Bay Sailing Club
  • First Junior Helm: James Crossley, 29er, Hayling Island Sailing Club
Class prizes were also awarded to:
  • ILCA 6 - Samantha Edwards, Queen Mary Sailing Club
  • Musto Skiff - Sam Pascoe, Castle Cove Sailing Club
  • RS200 - Ian Whaley & Lorna Glen, Parkstone YC
  • RS800 - Ben Palmer & Dicken MacLean, Hayling Island Sailing Club
  • RS400 - Ollie Groves & Martin Penty, Beaver Sailing Club
  • Topper - Piotr Tokajuk, Queen Mary Sailing Club

GPS tracking from the race can be found here.

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