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E-Sailing Proves Big Hit at Carlingford Lough Yacht Club

26th July 2020
Sailing on Carlingford Lough Sailing on Carlingford Lough

Carlingford Lough YC hasn’t been idle during the lockdown as members have enjoyed a Virtual Regatta, starting in early April, thanks to the RYA who arranged for sailing clubs to have a free subscription. To date, the club has had 165 races, 11 series of 15 races each.

CLYC is situated at Killowen on the northern shore of the dramatic sea lough straddling the border on the east coast, with Slieve Martin as a backdrop and the Cooley Mountains opposite, giving a broad expanse of water for water sports. For excitement within the lough mini-tornadoes or ‘kettles’ form during strong south-westerlies when squalls funnel down from the 600m high Slieve Foye in Co Louth.

Replacing all this activity on the water has been the racing in the Virtual Regatta which takes place every Wednesday and Sunday and all competitors join on a simultaneous Zoom session. This helps as everybody knows what is going on, rather than hanging around the start line wondering where everybody else is. It also allows hailing such as “starboard”, “you tack” and other polite exclamations! This is still going strong and although the dinghies are now sailing and dinghy courses continuing, normal racing has not yet resumed, although efforts are being made to have the cruisers racing on Saturdays.

Fourteen competitors and others from various parts of the globe including Ireland, North and South, England and Spain have taken part and there has been racing in Denmark, New Zealand, Italy, France, Germany, US, Spain, UK, and Australia. The class of boat is normally the J/70, but this has varied from time to time.
After 11 series overall leader is Typhoon 26 with 125 points, with Sulky Sue second on 126 points, followed by Far Niente (225 pts) and Legless (284 pts).
Kieran Cranley from CLYC says “

If you wish to join in email [email protected] and we can give you instructions about how the Zoom sessions and Virtual Regatta are organised. The craic is good, and the excitement is truly amazing!”

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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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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