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Newcastle Yacht Club Sailor Ready for RYA eSailing Spring Championships

27th May 2020
Newcastle Yacht Club sailor Luke McIlwaine on the wire in  a 29er skiff before the lockdown Newcastle Yacht Club sailor Luke McIlwaine on the wire in a 29er skiff before the lockdown

Since the RYA announced the launch of the RYA eSailing Spring Club Championship at the start of April this year, thousands of club sailors have been taking their tactics and strategies onto the virtual waters in an attempt to represent their club in the national final.

Getting through to the final not only means beating your fellow club members in a club championship, but it also means beating other local club champions within your RYA Region, which is no easy feat.

Around 80 sailors competed in their own club championships and 8 club champions then competed in the NI final on Saturday 16th May.

Newcastle Yacht Club sailor Luke McIlwaine showed his eSailing skills with 3 bullets and was crowned NI eSailing champion.

Luke comments: “There is definitely no lack of Virtual Regatta races to take part in; particularly involvement in the regular races that can be played every day has been excellent.

He continues: “These races have such a high skill level from all sailors and they are the perfect practice ground. After a really close regional final, with some tight racing, I am expecting the final to be very competitive. I am very pleased to represent NI in the final and I am looking forward to carb-loading on Friday night!”

RS400 and Laser sailor Luke now goes on to compete in the RYA eSailing Spring Championships. 10 competitors from around the UK will compete on Saturday 30th May to find out who will be the overall eSailing Spring Champion.

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Esailing & Virtual Sailing information

The concept of e-sailing, or virtual sailing, is based on a computer game sailing challenge that has been around for more than a decade.

The research and development of software over this time means its popularity has taken off to the extent that it has now become a part of the sailing seascape and now allows people to take an 'active part' in some of the most famous regattas across the world such as the Vendée Globe, Route du Rhum, Sydney Hobart, Volvo Ocean Race, America’s Cup and some Olympic venues too, all from the comfort of their armchair.

The most popular model is the 'eSailing World Championship'. It is an annual esports competition, first held in 2018 and officially recognised by World Sailing, the sports governing body.

The eSailing World Championship is a yearly competition for virtual sailors competing on the Virtual Regatta Inshore game.

The contract to run the event was given to a private company, Virtual Regatta that had amassed tens of thousands of sailors playing offshore sailing routing game following major offshore races in real-time.

In April 2020, the company says on its website that it has 35,000 active players and 500,000 regattas sailed.

Virtual Regatta started in 2010 as a small team of passionate designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs gathered around the idea that virtual sailing sports games can mix with real races and real skippers.

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