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RS100 class Virtual Regatta test event a success (for some)

by Clive Eplett 6 Apr 20:52 BST 5 April 2020
Virtual Regatta © Virtual Regatta

One of the many great things about the RS100 is the craic within the fleet. Many of us may be far older than we used to be, but that does not mean we really have to have grown up completely does it?

But, to disprove that theory, your correspondent's proposed experiment to see whether we could make a Class social get-together on Zoom work was hi-jacked. None other than multiple past class champion, the RYA's own Alistair Dickson proposes he set us up a virtual regatta computer game to try. At 10am on a Sunday. I know we live in weird, lockdown times, that's too early even for me to be hitting the G&Ts, which was really my only goal, not "kids'-games".

As a trial, it turned out to be, er, trying, with the youngsters definitely seeming to have an advantage, but nevertheless an event it looks like the class should open out to all next weekend - standby for further announcements.

What we learned from our three races, in ever faster boats, was:

  • The young Ed Jones and aforementioned Mr Dickson seemed to know what they are doing. As ever.
  • He'd deny it, but the ultra-competitive David Smart had been practising all night (or is spending his retirement playing computer games).
  • Greg Booth refused to turn up, citing slow internet in the wilds of Wales but really 'cos he knew his legendary ability to hike all day would be of no benefit.
  • The lack of enthusiasm for computer games expressed by Huw Powell and your correspondent was clear from our woeful performance.
  • But at least we'd worked out there was a button to launch a spinnaker - gentlemen Giles Peckham spent the regatta wondering why he was so slow downwind, until the last run of the last race when he finally sussed it.
  • Andy Jones can get lost in a F40 race between the last mark and the finish. That's nothing. I never even found the first windward mark and was 6km behind the leaders and parked up for a picnic when they finished.
  • That might be because i never worked out that the VMG button (it's an autohelm cheat for the uninitiated) does not work on those F40s. The others sussed this rather sooner! Even Mark Harrison. Oh the shame.
  • Whoever wrote the software paid no heed to software design conventions - you should not be able to click under a pop-up. if you don't know that you can here, you cannot even get in to join your race. Grr.
  • David Smart will be spending this week using his lockdown time to try and work out how to add a wobbly blue stripe to his virtual boats (as well as practising further) for next time.
  • I'm probably missing something here too, but it seems that if you don't take a quick screenshot of the race results as the game finishes, they're gone. Which is why this report does not have any results, not because I did so badly (honest guv). But I'd guess the top two were Ed and Al, followed by Andy and Smartie. The Chew Valley Lake SC team definitely won the day anyway.
All in all, it was quite fun and good to get some of the gang together. Humiliating, clearly, but you can't have everything.

RS100 sailors, keep a weather eye open on the class Facebook page for further announcements regarding the first 'proper' event, pencilled in for Easter Sunday.

Some of us (or may be that's just your correspondent) are hoping the start time is after gin o'clock. And that the 'never-win-the-practice-race' adage applies here too. One can always hope...

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