240,000 Players From 103 Nations Competed in the “Nord Stream Race eSeries”
The premiere of the "Nord Stream Race eSeries" (NSR eSeries) exceeded the expectations of the organising St Petersburg Yacht Club in every way. In the first e-sailing series in the Baltic Sea, 240,000 international players started in three races on the gaming platform "Virtual Regatta" from March to May sailing for 2,200 virtual nautical miles.
While many regattas in Europe remain on postponement, the NSR eSeries offered many sailors a new, challenging opportunity to prepare for the season with three five-day races, each from Kiel, Copenhagen and Stockholm, finishing in St Petersburg. Playing on social media and in e-gaming groups, competitors from 103 nations were in constant communicated during the racing and enjoyed numerous friendly battles across national borders.
The biggest challenges for the participants included the demands of accurate route planning through the Baltic Sea with numerous small islands. Constant adjustments of the boat and the sails to the ever-changing wind conditions with more manoeuvres than in most virtual transatlantic or round-the-world races influenced maintaining the necessary sleep pattern at night. The same factors that sailors know from real offshore sailing came into play in the virtual contest. "I learned a lot about the navigator's tasks and take my experiences with me into the planning for the real Nord Stream Race," explains Christian Harding, skipper of the Swedish NSR participant 2021 Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet.
All three races in the NSR eSeries were won by participants from France: Jean-Claude Goudon, Jean-Jacques Neven and Philippe Metayer. Philippe Metayer is also the overall winner of the “NSR eSeries” securing 2,000 euros in prize money and a place on board during the Nord Stream Race, scheduled to take place in September 2021. He explained: “I started this race because I appreciate technical courses and I was sure to find it with all the islands and changing winds. Everything was there! Each new weather forecast is like dealing with a new chessboard for six hours and waiting for the next to come. It’s a very exciting game!”
The organisers from St Petersburg Yacht Club and the partners of the NSR eSeries, Gazprom and Nord Stream AG, were very happy with the outcome of this new venture. “Nord Stream Race is one of the longest and most challenging offshore races in Europe. Experiencing this unique race virtually and mastering the challenges of the Baltic Sea – navigating the islands and changing weather conditions – has been a great pleasure for the sailing community and us as organisers. We are happy to have connected players from over 100 nations, following our motto ‘Connecting Baltics Through Sport’,” says Elena Solovyeva, Head of Project of St Petersburg Yacht Club.
Nord Stream Race takes the sailors traditionally from Kiel to St Petersburg with stopovers in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki. At the same time this year, the "NSR eTrophy" will be held as a virtual non-stop race and fourth part of the NSR eSeries from Kiel to St Petersburg. The start is being planned to take place during Kiel Week this September. The final dates are yet to be announced.