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New Irish Esailing Series Gets Underway in Second Lockdown

23rd October 2020
Half Ton skipper Ronan Downing from Cork Harbour is racing in the Hicks esailing league Half Ton skipper Ronan Downing from Cork Harbour is racing in the Hicks esailing league Photo: Afloat

A group of Irish sailors and ex-pats that have been esailing during lockdown are sailing online again in the second round of COVID-restrictions.

Hicks VR sailing club is a group of like-minded people from all over the world that enjoy evenings racing on the Virtual Regatta platform, says one of the organisers, note dinghy sailor and coach Graeme Grant.

The sailors use Zoom to enhance the social aspect of the evenings racing often accompanied by 'cold refreshments', says Grant.

The Club is free to join and a wide range of sailors have participated in past series, 'young, old, fast and frustrated'.

Sailors currently racing also include Mick Farrell, Ronan Downing from Royal Cork, Graeme Grant, race judge Cxema Pico, Ron Finegan and GP 14 sailor Colman Grimes.

To join the fun for the upcoming frostbite series, the best thing to do is message the club on Facebook for the WhatsApp group.

Racing is from 9 pm - 10.30 (ish) Irish time. There are five races per evening scheduled. Zoom opens early for a warm-up race at 8.40 pm

A warm-up evening from 9 pm in a variety of classes was held last night for the proposed Frostbite series is:

  • 29th October J70s
  • 5th November 49er
  • 12th November Laser
  • 19th November Star
  • 26th November J70

One discard per evening, or one evening discard. Results via Whatsapp. Rules by VR platform.

Prizes and support are from the series sponsor Colman Grimes Estate Agents.

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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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