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SailX Finals at the RYA Volvo Dinghy Show

by Amando Estela 6 Mar 2012 16:45 GMT 3-4 March 2012

A world-first for a virtual sailing event

Over the weekend of 3rd/4th March the FREE online racing and training game, SailX.com, hosted the final regattas in the 'RYA Volvo Dinghy Show SailX Championships 2012' - a championship that has been running 24/7 for the past seven weeks.

In total 652 individual competitors entered the Championships, representing 69 classes and 51 nationalities (more classes than nationalities – but that's another story!?). Over this seven weeks, SailX hosted 1,071 highly-competitive Championship races involving just under 7,600 boat finishes (online there are many more starts than finishes!!) and a total, highly-engaged, user racing time of 1,850 hours, or 77 days, solid.

[Aside: And that was just the Championship racing. On top of this and over the same period, the full community of SailX users raced a further 13,000 races (involving 165,000 boats race starts and a total of 21,000hrs, or 882 days of user time) and spent even more time watching racing, discussing protests (approx. 200,000 ‘on the water' incidents resulted in nearly 13,000 protests being filed) and chatting with other racing sailors from all over the world.]

To wrap up the RYA Volvo Dinghy Show SailX Championship, SailX hosted two separate finals series - the 'Online Finals' and the 'Live Finals' and these two finals produced two separate Final Classifications.

Of these two, the 'Online Finals' was the more 'conventional' one (at least in a SailX context) - with three regattas being hosted at three different times such that users, no matter where they were located all over the world, had roughly equal chance to log in to SailX.com to race an Online Final regatta. Users could race in any or all of these regattas but only their best regatta score counted towards their overall result.

Even after all this racing the final regatta turned out to be the decider with, 'flow', a professional sailor and high school coach living in San Diego (and recent winner of the grade one match race Congressional Cup and the Etchells Worlds among other events), managing to overtake the previous leader, Peruvian '249'. Ultimately the final regatta was an unfortunate one for '249' as has was relegated to third position by fellow Peruvian, 'PER311' who finally secured second position overall with stronger final regatta. The Peruvian community has been using SailX for years to hone team-racing skills in the youngsters squads, and it shows!.

If the 'Online Finals' was conventional the 'Live Finals' was very definitely NOT! This finals series comprised two regattas for SailX users who could come to the RYA Volvo Dinghy Show - and involved hosting a fleet race regatta LIVE between ten competitors at the RYA Volvo Dinghy Show and twenty competitors connecting in live from all over the world. In total 50 competitors took part in the two regattas from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Peru, Spain, UK and USA.

To add to the pressure, this event was held on the Volvo Main Stage and shown on the big screen - with six competitors sitting on the stage itself and four in the audience, with commentary provided by Paul Goodison (Laser Gold Medallist, Beijing 2008 Olympic Games), Hugh Styles (Skandia Team GBR Olympic Coach) and Mark Jardine (editor YachtsandYachting.com)!

Given the scale of the challenge of connecting so many people from so many places together in a real-time interactive game this was about as scary as a live event could ever get - but the SailX team pulled it off - and what a great result!

As far as we are aware this was a World First - and the audience was treated to an absolute master-class of racing together with expert (and entertaining!) commentary.

Ultimately it was SailX user Seb Baucutt, a young and competitive 29er (and RS Feva) sailor from Thorpe Bay in the UK that prevailed – taking the overall ‘Live Finals' win – and the honour of being the very first holder of the new Virtual Endeavour Trophy as a result. Along with his trophy Seb took home a fantastic haul of prizes – a long-weekends use of a Volvo XC90, a beautiful pair of Bollé sunglasses, a 12-month subscription to Yachts & Yachting magazine and a Tacktick Microcompass from Raymarine – the ultimate racer's tool.

And if this was not enough, as a result of Seb's win and strong performances from three other fellow 29er sailors, the 29er class took the overall class prize and the first ‘RYA Volvo Dinghy Show SailX Championship Trophy'. In post regatta interviews a proud and excited group of young 29er sailors said they would be back to defend this class win ‘with their lives' – for sure its going to be a fight to take it off them in 2013!

So that's it for now apart from to say a big thanks to our co-organisers, the RYA and the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club and, to our sponsors, Volvo, Bollé, Yachts & Yachting and Raymarine / Tactick.

Until next year...

Final Results and Statistics

Live Finals Results: (mixed in-person at the Show & online)

Top-3 Individuals (only those present at the Show were scored)

  1. baucutt (UK / 29er)
  2. K11 (UK / RS200)
  3. George377 (UK / RS200)
Top-3 Classes (only those present at the Show were scored)
  1. 29er
  2. Fireball
  3. 18ft Skiff

Online Finals Results: (for online competitors only)

Top-3 Individuals

  1. flow (USA / 49ER)
  2. PER311 (Peru / Laser 4.7)
  3. 249 (Peru / Laswer)
Top-3 Classes
  1. Laser
  2. 49er
  3. Laser Radial
Top-3 Countries
  1. UK
  2. USA
  3. Ireland

For detailed overview of results see www.sailx.com/rvds-scoring

Final Championship Statistics:

  • Individuals entered: 652
  • Classes entered: 69
  • Countries represented: 51
  • Races started: 1.071
  • Boat race finishes: 7,600
  • User racing time: 1.850hrs or 77 days

Additional SailX activity during the Championships: (over 7 weeks)

  • Races started: 13,000
  • Boat race starts: 165,000
  • User racing time: 21,168hrs, or 882 days
  • Over 200,000 ‘on the water' incidents
  • Protests filed: 12,673

Latest SailX User Stats:

  • 26,378 registered users
  • 119 countries represented
  • Top 5: USA, UK, Spain, Italy & Australia

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