Apr 14, 2020
I doubt I am alone in being stuck in lockdown looking at such incredible sailing conditions over the Easter break. What is meant to be that exciting time of the year when we are all making the best of the pent up winter energy to finish season preparations or get started on a cruise or my personal passion, racing, has turned out to be quite the opposite, bringing a new meaning to landlocked.
It's hard not to remember the years of miserable weather over Easter, and now during a lockdown, a warm sunny and even windy weekend we find ourselves channelling that energy into whatever we can to fill the void. For a few of us, e-sailing has at least filled part of that void. If you invest in a desktop fan, you can even feel the wind through your hair. But seriously, e-sailing can get the heart pumping and can easily find you shouting 'Starboard' at your screen, much to the amusement to your fellow lockdown cellmates.
Following on from a very successful first round of the Spring Season e-Regatta and due to requests, a one-off Easter e-Regatta was organised. With the emphasis on 'fun' and after much debate about the format, a six-race format was agreed. The aim is to make an opportunity to allow both regular and new e-sailors to take part. One benefit of this 'dry sailing' is the ability to sail craft that would usually require years of training, let alone rigging, togging up, and large campaign budgets. Therefore, the regatta format started in the slower 50 footers and coming down in size and speed for each race, e.g. the 'Star' class, open day boats (similar to J70's), Olympic class 49rs and then two races in the relatively new 'Nacra 17' a 17ft foiling catamaran!
Competitors were offered two discards. These are needed given differing internet and device issues, the odd glitch, delay when rounding a mark and even being thrown out of the race - all of which can be frustrating, so discards play a vital role. So, at precisely 20:00 on Easter Monday, twenty brave souls began their approach to a rather hectic start line.
The first race saw an incredible display of e-seamanship, and it was evident that while some had only had a few hours practice on the platform, the on-water knowledge and highly competitive nature was beneficial. Another added benefit of e-sailing is the lack of insurance claims, which is just as well as collisions are a regular occurrence. Here they are solved quickly by automatically slowing the offending boat down for 10 seconds.
Having personally lost the odd drone into the sea while racing in the real world, another advantage of this digital activity is the ability to watch from any angle you like. This can be done if you are taking part in sailing or not. Watching boats from high above all cramming around a wing mark, hoisting spinnakers, scrambling for position and try to go in the right direction (accidental spinning out of control is not uncommon) is as fun as it is on the water.
With a well earned fifteen-minute break after the 3rd race, its a perfect excuse for a beverage and some banter. To be clear, for me this didn't help performance, and instead of 'Starboard' it's more like 'what shall we do with the drunken sailor'!
The medal race raised the level one last time, but by this time it was clear some people had been practising more than others. Apparently, it takes an average of 10,000hrs of practice to get to the top of any sport. This is no different. Let me check my diary. Oh, I’m free!
For those wanting to give it all a go, you can play on a smartphone or for most a laptop with an internet browser. A good internet connection is required, and participants are advised to set up an e-sailing account in advance. Sailing instructions are clear, the race organisers cannot offer technical assistance, so bring your own I.T. rescue boat. So in the heat of the moment, when you have the exhilaration of the perfect start, getting out in front practically first to the windward mark, remember you won't be the first to have your internet connection glitch and find yourself, within 10 seconds, at the back in the pack! Still, it's a perfect excuse...
Congratulations to all that took part on Easter Monday and, with some debate, here are the final results. The way this season is going the club might have to find some old silverware so we can have an awards dinner!
Jeremy Waitt, Unofficial Assistant e-Race Officer
Open E-ster Regatta Results
To join in with future impromptu Royal Southern eSailing events, join the Royal Southern eSailing Whatsapp Group by following this link or using the QR code below: https://chat.whatsapp.com/DXEy...
To enter upcoming Royal Southern events, find out more here: https://www.royal-southern.co.uk/news/new-esailing-series-and-rya-qualifier
|Thu 16th April, 1900||Royal Southern eSailing Series #2||Registration form:|
|Thu 23rd April, 1900||Royal Southern Spring Club Championship – Qualifier Round||Registration form:|
|Sun 26th April, 1000||Hamble River Junior Interclub Challenge||Contact Will Tahourdin at firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Thu 30th April, 1900||Royal Southern Spring Club Championship – Club Final||Entry is through the Qualification Round, enter as above.|
|Fri 1st May, 2045||Island SC International Virtual Team Racing Round Robin||Teams of 3 players can enter by emailing Will Overton at email@example.com|