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International Easter vRegatta Series at Christchurch Sailing Club

by Richard Phillips 16 Apr 06:32 BST 11 April 2020
Club2Class International Easter vRegatta Series © David Williams

Competitors from Canada and the UK representing the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron (RNSYC), Chester Yacht Club, Halifax, Nova Scotia (CYC), Christchurch Sailing Club (CSC), Itchenor Sailing Club (ISC) and Ancasta Marine Boat Sales (Ancasta) met via Zoom on Saturday 11 April 2020. A series of exciting eSailing races was hosted by David Williams (Club2Class). The Virtual Regatta platform was used for sailing with online entry and event organisation provided by Club2Class.

Instead of racing their normal classes - Beneteau First 40, Finn, International 14, Laser, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, Optimist, RS200, RS800, RS Feva, Solent Sunbeam and Swallow - on their local waters, the participants raced the VR Open Day Boat Class.

The virtual venues selected included Cagliari, Fe Camp and Sydney. Many other virtual venues could have been chosen. Similarly racing could have been in other virtual classes. The sailing characteristics of each virtual class of boat is similar to that of the real class. Competitors were very favourably impressed by the virtual reality experience.

The venues and boats appear real, although the boats lack images of sailors. Start lines match size of fleet, wind shifts, gusts and wind shadows provide similar thrills and spills as on a race course (without experiencing the physical aspects of sailing!).

The Racing Rules of Virtual Sailing are strictly enforced by the VR software with no right of appeal!

Penalties range from slowing down the boat for a short period of time through to disqualification. There were many penalties as competitors gained familiarity with the controls and gaining experience on how much adjustment needs to be made to avoid hitting boats and marks or being OCS!

Most of the participants had no previous experience of using Virtual Regatta. David Williams hosted three Zoom meetings during the week before the Easter vRegatta. Participants were shown how to register with Virtual Regatta, use the Virtual Regatta Training School, how to select the various Virtual Regatta aids and how to enter a race. The various technical issues and queries experienced by competitors were quickly and expertly answered by David with on-screen demonstrations.

On Race day, there was a Zoom briefing by Principal vRace Officer, David Williams, who then ran two practice races. Entries had been closed the previous day. The fleet was split into a Dinghy Fleet with 19 entries and a Keelboat fleet with 16 entries (20 is the max size fleet in Virtual Regatta).

Richard Phillips (Christchurch Sailing Club) acted as vRace Officer for the Dinghy Fleet.

Communications between the two race courses was managed via Telegram (a cloud-based instant messaging and voice over IP service). David dealt with fleet communications via Zoom (video-conferencing software).

At the end of each race the VR results were captured by photo/screen shot and then immediately input into Club2Class by the vAROs Lauren Williams (Keelboat Fleet), Susan Burgess (Dinghy Fleet). Results were published before the start of the next race. five back-to-back races were run for each fleet. This was followed by a prize-giving via Zoom. The top three in each fleet were named and applauded. The Race Team and competitors were thanked and David was thanked for the initiative and work setting up the vRegatta. Competitors applauded all the effort.

RYA guidance on eSailing and Virtual Regatta is published at www.rya.org.uk/Pages/virtual-regatta.aspx

Dinghy Sailor Results:

PosUsual ClassHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1FINNFlynn AtkinsChristchurch Sailing Club131123
2INTERNATIONAL 14Rob StruckettItchenor Sailing Club312514
3FINNAlex AtkinsChristchurch Sailing Club225689
4LASERSully NakatsuRoyal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron443259
5LASERFinley NakatsuRoyal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron5548914
6RS FEVA XLWilliam Sears 7673615
7INTERNATIONAL 14Gareth James Christchurch Sailing Club9767316
8FINNRussell NewChristchurch Sailing Club6884717
9FINNRichard PhillipsChristchurch Sailing Club1010109423
10FINNRay NewChristchurch Sailing Club899101126

Keelboat Sailor Results:

PosUsual ClassHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1BENETEAU FIRST 40Tillie BrownAncasta121534
2BENETEAU FIRST 40Sam RoomAncasta215255
3SOLENT SUNBEAMSimon PerkinsItchenor553148
4INTERNATIONAL 14Ian LodderItchenor3DNC6DNF211
5SOLENT SUNBEAMBecky Wickens Itchenor6743613
6SWALLOWTim BoswijkItchenor8394714
7BENETEAU FIRST 260David GroomChristchurch7887115
8SWALLOWAlistair ImpeyItchenor41176817
9BENETEAU FIRST 40Ashley OvertonAncastaDNC42DNFDSQ19
10SWALLOWJeremy SibthorpItchenorDNF10108927
11SOLENT SUNBEAMJohn and Petra TannerItchenor99119DNC27
12SOLENT SUNBEAMTamsin SaundersItchenor10612DNCDNC28

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