North Sails LOFT NEWS
Story Contributors: Jack Lewis
NEW NORTH SAILMAKER WINS BLOODY MARY
Jack Lewis and Dylan McPherson Beat 288-Boat Fleet
Having worked for North Sails Gosport as a sailmaker for just two months, Jack Lewis has already made a reputable name for himself after winning the Bloody Mary Regatta against an immense 288-boat fleet on Queen Mary Reservoir near London.
The regatta runs at the beginning of every year and is hosted by Queen Mary Sailing Club. Open to dinghy classes with a PY number equal to or lower than the International Topper and to selected keelboat classes, the race runs for 150 minutes and the leading boat when the time is up is crowned the winner.
This year brought the full package; 288 entries, 59 classes, and winds topping out at 30 knots. It was 17-year-old Jack Lewis and 16-year-old helmsman Dylan McPherson who managed to gain a convincing lead in their 420 to secure the win after over two hours of racing. Jack is no stranger to a big fleet having sailed the 420 World Championship last year against 89 teams.
Growing up near Rugby, Jack began sailing RS Tera’s at Draycote Water when he was seven, followed by the RS Feva as well as some Miracle sailing with his Dad. Dylan and Jack earned themselves a place in the National Youth Squad last year and have since been training and competing almost every weekend at various international venues.
What makes their Bloody Mary win even more astounding is that the pair have been sailing together for just five months. Jack used to helm the 420 in his previous partnership and explains that his time as a helm helps him be a better crew now: “It is really helpful being able to understand what the helm is doing. This is my fifth year in the 420 and Dylan is fairly new to the boat. I contribute my experience of how the fleet works so when it comes to tactics, we bounce ideas off of each other and talk them through. We also don’t have an issue telling each other if we think their idea is silly!’’
Jack and Dylan sail with the new-design M-11 Mainsail, J-12 Jib, and S-05 Spinnaker. “Since we started using North sails,’’ Jack explains, “we noticed a big difference in sail trim and an improved sail shape which becomes particularly noticeable in heavier winds. This allows us to gain a better boat setup overall, as well as increasing boat speed and point.’’
“The Bloody Mary was a lot of fun, but scary at points because there are so many boats very close together! It got more relaxed by the time we had worked our way to the front, but then the wind died so much we even struggled to fill the spinnaker. Considering at the start the wind was blowing 24 knots, we certainly had a wide range of conditions that day!’’
Jack and Dylan are looking forward to a jam-packed 2020 with both the Worlds in Crozon-Morgat, France, and Europeans in Warnemunde, Germany happening in July. Closer to home, the Youth Nationals in April is the next major event on their schedule.
Congratulations on this success and we can’t wait to follow the progress of this young and enthusiastic team.