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A virtual 24 hours

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Published 17:01 on 20 Sep 2020

2020 has been a strange year for sailing. With many on-the-water events cancelled due to COVID, a number of sailors have turned to the virtual world. Sadly, as a project, we have not been able to operate during the pandemic either. So, we have joined those getting their sailing kicks in the virtual world. Our sailors and volunteers have been out sailing weekly in the virtual world. Every Thursday evening, a team of volunteers and sailors head for Virtual Regatta to do some racing. The big advantage of using this virtual system is that we can stay warm and dry in front of our tablets and laptops. The big disadvantage is that it isn't real sailing even if that is cold and wet!

On September 19/20th the Project took on the ultimate virtual sailing challenge: a non-stop 24-hour virtual race. The race was organized by the West Lancashire Yacht Club and is normally a physical event, but this year was competed for virtually. Over 24 hours we took on 12 other clubs in a series of 73 races. This was a real (virtual) challenge for us. Just as in the real world, we faced variable winds and weather and some quite dramatic wind shifts as well as some fairly unpredictable maneuvers at times! The event took place in various different locations each with their own quirks. From Newport (Rhode Island) to Cowes via Copenhagen and Dubai, we took them all on over the 24 hours. Just to add to the challenge this was all done in a range of different boats including J70s, Nacra 17s, Formula 18s, 49ers and various offshore boats. The pace was relentless as soon as one person logged out at the end of their stint, the next person had to be there ready and waiting at all times of day and night. We finished 10th overall a great team effort considering all the challenges the (virtual) wind and weather threw at us. The 24 hours was also split into a series of 3 hour mini-series and the high for the Project was Sunday morning in the 09.00-12.00 series where we came second overall.

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Last updated 17:01 on 20 September 2020

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