The top real-world sailors turn out be virtually the best too!
The inaugural LTSC eSailing Club Championships sponsored by timeonthewater.co.uk were held recently, consisting of two group qualifying rounds and a final. The championships were sailed using the (currently rather overloaded) Virtual Regatta Inshore computer game. Each round and final was a 5 race series with 2 discards, sailing in J/70 keelboats at various exotic world locations including Porto Cervo and Portsmouth!
A total of 26 sailors entered the Championships, including one member of the British Sailing Team and at least two dinghy national champions, making the competition fierce from the outset. As always there were plenty of mid-fleet cowboy windward mark approaches on a tight port lay line with seemingly nowhere to go. One of the quirks of the game is that if you commit a "perceived" foul your boat becomes a ghost ship for 10 seconds and you can sail through people, and they through you, so sometimes a tactical penalty is the best option - unlike in the real version of the sport where you would become uninsurable!
During the qualifying rounds it was obvious that those in their 20s were coming to the front. They appeareed to have the right combination of both gaming experience and professional or high level amateur sailing experience. This enabled them to execute perfect boat handling (no mean feat) with fast and accurate decision making.
The top 13 sailors from the qualifying rounds went through to the finals, a series so tough nobody was able to dominate - the results show a relatively high scoring series. Added to the jeopardy of your screen freezing or another household member hoovering all the internet bandwidth, the 2 discards were a godsend, especially for the eventual winner Jack Collings. One of our sailors was onto his third device by the 4th race, and vowed to go shopping today for some proper PC gaming horsepower to improve his chances of finishing a race!!
Well done to Jack, a very recent new member of the Club who sailed smartly from the outset and was surprised to win! He now goes onto represent the Club in the Regional Finals of the RYA Spring Championships later this month.
Whilst all the talk in this report may be off putting for those who have not yet tried their hand at Virtual Sailing or feel a little intimidated, we are running ad hoc Virtual Regatta training sessions to get our members started, whatever their age or real life racing experience! Whilst it's "only" a game it's also a great reason to bring us together for a bit of fun.
Thanks to all of the sailors who took part and to Hugh Styles' at timeonthewater.co.uk for sponsoring the event and providing a pre-regatta coaching session and the opportunity for some of the sailors to join his highly successful eCoaching sessions.