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Newcastle Sailor Luke McIlwaine Fifth In RYA eSailing Spring Club Championship

5th June 2020
Luke McIlwaine’s virtual boat racing in last weekend’s Spring Club Championship final Luke McIlwaine’s virtual boat racing in last weekend’s Spring Club Championship final Photo: RYA/YouTube

Newcastle Yacht Club’s Luke McIlwaine has claimed fifth spot in the RYA eSailing Spring Club Championship after battling it out against nine other competitors.

The other sailors came from right across the regional and home countries. Instead of taking to the water, this time they logged on to compete against their fellow racers virtually, in a series of five races with two discards.

With live commentary from Yachts & Yachting’s Mark Jardine and RYA Pathway coach Johnny McGovern, who himself competed in the eSailing Lockdown Cup and was part of the winning ‘Splashes’ team, racing was extremely tight throughout the championship final.

A total of 2,932 sailors, from 178 different clubs from across the RYA regions and the home countries, took part in the RYA eSailing Spring Club Championship, competing in club and regional championships before whittling down to just 10 finalists.

McIlwaine earned his spot in the final with his win in the Northern Ireland regional event last month.

RYA Northern Ireland’s chief operating officer Richard Honeyford said: “eSailing has been a fantastic way for our sailors to keep in touch and continue developing their race skills over the last few months while we were unable to get out on the water.

“Luke put in an impressive performance and we are delighted with his success.”

If you missed the action, you can still catch it on the RYA YouTube channel.

Next on the RYA’s eSailing calendar is the Spring Class Championship. For more visit www.rya.org.uk/go/esailing

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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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