November 2017

Virtual Regatta - Sail virtual, sail dry

Sail virtual, sail dry

The sport revolution of the last decade

Unless you have been travelling the oceans for the last 10 years, you most probably have heard of the fantastic advent of eSports. With over 225 million people participating to or following eSports competitions in 2015, this is undoubtedly much more than a short-lived fad. Needless to say that the estimated US$ 325 million in revenue has left few business people indifferent and sailing enthusiasts were not the last to jump aboard.

Philippe Guigné, founder and CEO of Virtual Regatta

Once again in the world of sailing, we owe the first eSailing game to those "bloody Frenchies" and more especially to Philippe Guigné, a former pro-sailor and internet pioneer who foresaw the thrill people would get from racing their own virtual Class 40 across the Atlantic at the same time as the actual sailors. All that without having to deal with wet clothes, limited communication and salty water. Sleep deprivation seems however to have made its way into the life of virtual sailors with many players setting up alarm in the middle of the night to "make that tack just in the good pressure".

A success story "à la française"

Launched in 2006 for the Route du Rhum, Virtual Regatta gathered over 50,000 players for its first ever race. Despite being already strong numbers, especially in a niche market like virtual sailing, it was only the beginning for Virtual Regatta and Guigné. The big-bang moment takes place for the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe with 340,000 players crossing the starting line. Since, the success hasn't died down and Virtual Regatta became the first ever "virtual yacht club" in 2011, a status granted by the French Sailing Federation.

As soon as 2009, Virtual Regatta starts to organise challenges with world-famous offshore sailors such as Loïck Peyron, Samantha Davies and Roland Jourdain to bridge the virtual gap between armchairs sailors and their slightly more adventurous counterparts. This will lead Star Sailors League and Virtual Regatta to team up to promote sailing over the world and the sailors in particular.

The first eSailing World Championship

During its Annual Meeting 2017, World Sailing did not only promote the Star Sailors League into the restricted club of Special Events but agreed to award a new eSailing World Champion title. Unsurprisingly, Virtual Regatta was selected as the game of choice and the first edition will take place in November 2018 in Sarasota, USA.

The eSailing World Championship is probably one of the most ambitious and innovative projects in the world between a federation and a gaming company. eSports is opening a new audience to our sport as well as allowing sailors to practice their favourite sport everywhere at anytime.
- Philippe Guigné, CEO Virtual Regatta

Challenge the greatest names of sailing

During the upcoming SSL Finals, every sailor, virtual or not, will be able to challenge some of the greatest names of the sport in the crystal blue waters of The Bahamas. In true windward-leeward style, the race for the title of SSL Finals eWinner is open and the battle will be fierce!