Russ Hopkins at a very windy Bloody Mary Photo (c) Tom Gruitt

Saturday 10th January 2015….a fairly innocuous date.  A date however that would be remembered by many.  For it was the date of the 2015 Bloody Mary the 5th in a series of 8 events that make up part of the GJW Sail Juice winter series.  More importantly, it was the 4th round of the much coveted D-Zero winter travellers’ series.

Much had been made of a new weather phenomenon.  A phenomenon that was confusing meteorologists around the world.  Christened the ‘Russ Hopkins’ Effect.  This effect had the characteristics of turning an otherwise well forecasted sailing event into a drift-athon.  Scientist were confident this effect had to come to an end eventually.  Luckily for our committed hard core winter racers they were proved right.  What then followed however, was not planned.

From as early as Monday last week there were mutterings around the sailing community.  Mutterings of biblical winds sent by Aeolus as a punishment for the Great Lakes handicapping system…This did not deter 5 maniacs from the D-Zero fleet pre-entering (either that or they had money to launder)

Saturday Morning had arrived, with a true to forecast 25 knot gusting 40knt wind.  Frankly if the wind did not drop slightly the race would have either been complete carnage or abandoned.  Hopkins arrived early….too early, this lad is so keen to beat Daniel Holman in any way possible, that getting to the club earlier is now becoming a competition!  Some say that’s sad…Hopkins Mum would say its character building!  Sadly only 3 D-Zeros made it to the start line with the others that had been pre-entered or planned to enter on the day making excuses. (I’m not sure Stuart Bailey knows what a wet look perm is, perhaps he should of googled it before using it as an excuse)

After a short postponement for the winds to die the fleet were launched into a now constant 20knt.  The D-Zero’s were start 36, sharing with the Phantom and Halo fleet as well as the Aero 9.

Dan Holman leaves the shore to head into the fray Photo Credit: Jeremy Cooper

Holman shot off leaving Hopkins to wondering why his GoPro kept falling off and why both his watches hadn’t beeped.  Cooper was somewhere in the lake.  But couldn’t be seen.  Eventually the other two Zeros crossed the line.  To be honest the race officer could have swapped the gun for a Russell Crowe sound bite ‘On my Mark unleash hell’ because frankly it was!  Hopkins held his own overtaking some slower boats and pulling places until a massive capsize left him in a worse position than when he started.  Sadly for Cooper a big capsizes had flung him onto his mainsail causing some damage which put him out of contention.  Holman was flying and finished a respectable 15th Hopkins survived and finished (at least) in 52nd.

Overall results leave Hopkins in 10th place overall in the GJW sail juice series with Holman closely following in 15th.

Next event sees the D-Zero fleet descend on Northampton sailing club on the 18th January for the Steve Nicholson memorial race. With 6 D-Zeros pre-entered it looks to be hotly contested yet again!

Some video footage from the event:

Full Results can be found here: Bloody Mary Results

Plenty of chat on our Facebook page

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