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GBR eSailing national champion announced

by Helen Skelton-Smith 24 Sep 15:20 BST 21 September 2019
(L-R) Chris Grube, Donald Gillies and James Peters © Paul Wyeth

The RYA, along with World Sailing and Virtual Regatta, is pleased to announce Donald Gillies from Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, as the first ever GBR eSailing National Champion.

Donald, also known by his eSailing name of 'Maradonnie' fought off tough competition from over a thousand eSailors from around the UK.

On his win Donald, a keen GP14 sailor, and member of Castle Semple Sailing Club and Plockton Small Boast Sailing Club, commented: 'I'm thrilled to win the first ever GBR National Championship. e-Sailing is perhaps the only class of sailing where a silver fleet GP14 sailor can take on some of the UK's best sailors without fear of annihilation. Indeed, in the game you can find both Olympic campaigners and people who have never set foot in a sailing boat competing at a top level."

Donald was officially crowned as the 2019 Champion at the Southampton International Boat Show on Saturday 21 September. After the ceremony presentation, Boatshow visitors were invited up to the stage to battle it out against 'Maradonnie' live on stage. Members of the public also pit their eSailing skills against British Sailing Team sailors, Chris Grube and James Peters, and other top GBR eSailors.

Celia Edgington, RYA show and promotions manager said: "The RYA is thrilled to announce Donald as the first ever GBR eSailing National Champion. It has been enthralling to watch the Championship develop over the year: culminating in the successful eSailing Showcase during Southampton International Boat Show in which top players including Donald showed off their eSailing skills. I'm sure the 2020 eSailing season will be even bigger and better."

The RYA partnered up with World Sailing and Virtual Regatta, the leading digital sailing platform, to launch the GBR eSailing National Championship at the RYA Dinghy Show in association with Yachts & Yachting, in March earlier this year.

The free-to-play online game provides players with an opportunity to race against friends, fellow sailors and real-world Olympic champions. All players from the United Kingdom are automatically entered into the exclusive GBR eSailing National Championship, racing the same challenges, seasons and playoffs as the eSailing World Championship and ranking both nationally and globally.

The 2019 eSailing season has now ended. The top ten British eSailors automatically qualified for the eSailing World Championship Finals Playoff, which concluded on Monday 16 September, with the top eight international eSailors advancing to the 2019 eSailing World Championship Final in Bermuda.

For those thinking of competing in the 2020 competition, Donald said: "Anyone can have a crack at the title next year. Anyone who's raced against me on the water will testify that you don't need to be a great real life sailor to be good at e-Sailing. The game is essentially free to play, and I have managed to be quite successful while not actually spending a penny on the game. Each race only takes around 5 minutes, so you can fit games in at any time to suit your lifestyle."

Aimed at everyone from expert sailors to sports gamers, the eSailing World Championship is helping World Sailing to inform, engage and inspire the next generation of sailors and sailing fans. The goal is to bring the excitement that comes with harnessing the power of nature to the phones and tablets of fans around the world.

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