Wednesday, October 1, 2008

You too can be a "Whitbread" Sailor

When I was a junior sailor and instructor at the Camden Yacht Club we would spend at least one rainy day each summer watching old videos of the Whitbread Round the World Race. My favorite boat was the bright red Steinlager ketch. These were videos from when these were essentially amateur sailors, in fact some of the boats were pay to sail vessels. While luxury vessels compared to the modern day "Whitbread" -- Now Volvo Ocean Race, they were still far from comfort and I will never forget the video of the guy who had to get his hands stiched up in the southern ocean after he slid down the wire rigging (how low tech were these things) to arrest his fall from up the rig. We all would have loved to be on those boats for a day... just a singular day mind you as it looked torturously uncomfortable for any longer.

The modern incarnation, the Volvo Ocean Race starts October 11th for the second time in canting keel Volvo 70's. I will be rooting for the local Puma Ocean Racing Team which called Newport home all summer and has several locals onboard.

I was excited this morning to read that I can partake in some of the action from the comfort of my office chair or couch by playing the Volvo Ocean Race Game. It is free to play, with additional features (such as autopilot to enable steer to wind or scheduled course changes) at what is promised to be moderate fees (not sure how moderate yet), with all proceeds going to charity. Basically you get to be the weather router (which I have had moderate success with). I am curious to see what they end up using for "actual" weather data to determiine how you do, an whether it will pay off to use other weather models to try to win the race or if it isn't that "smart". Still, should be fun, so join in....and join my group "Newport" if you want to. In any event, add me as a friend (ibsailn at gmail dot com). See you on the virtual water.

No comments: