NSR eTrophy: "It was harder than expected, but real fun!" Interview with winner Matthias Mermod
At the same time as the five teams were racing in the Baltic Sea for winning Nord Stream Race 2021, over 30,000 players joined the NSR eTrophy on Virtual Regatta. After 5 days, Matthias Mermod from Neuchâtel in Switzerland claimed the win in the non-stop race from Kiel to St. Petersburg. Read more about the "winning strategy" in the interview:

Since when are you e-sailing? Only offshore or only inshore? And what do you like about e-sailing?
I don’t exactly remember the moment when I started e-sailing. I think it was a few months before the Vendée Globe 2012-13. One of my friends was on a virtual transatlantic e-race and he introduced me to the game. I mostly play on the offshore platform. I like this game because it’s a complex game where you have to understand the meteorology, the race tactics, and the boat specifications (e.g. polars).

I also like the fact that it is a real time game based on true meteorological events. We have to find the good predictions to draw the route or tactics. I like the opportunity to e-race at the same time as the real race is taking place (Vendée Globe, Route du Rhum, Volvo Ocean Race, Nord Stream Race).

Finally, I like being part of a wonderful e-team (esST/e-sailing Swiss Team) that is sharing and giving information of all kinds. We support each other when one of us is near the top (or in this case at the top). Thank you guys!

Are you a sailor? If yes, in which boat classes?
Yes, I’m a real sailor. I began sailing on a Surprise and since 4-5 years, I’ve been a part of a J/70 crew (fleet racing and Swiss Sailing League).

Why did you compete in the NSR eTrophy?
Not for the money ;-) Basically, because it was a one-week race, it runs in a very rocky area and at first it looks like a very technical race. I was hooked! Most of the tense moments happened when the weather files changed, we’ve been through the rocks in Southern Finland during the night (no possibility to program all the taks)… It was harder than expected, but real fun!

What was your tactic for the race?
As always: Having a good start! My goal in this particular race was to manage all the waypoints with precision (as close as possible), not a real tactic, but it’s very important in the game – like being in the inside position on the downwind course.
But after a while, my position was very good and I’ve added more tactical layers in the race. Considering all the details regarding the positioning issues with others, marks and of course the route.

What was the biggest challenge of the NSR eTrophy?
Managing the time I can spend on the game (thanks to my family). It was a huge amount of time. One big challenge was to keep control of myself (in real) and the others (virtual).
Another big challenge was the last wind shift on Saturday midday (first gybe) — the shift — and the last tack on Saturday evening. In the beginning, I was well positioned but not good enough to win, so I bet on an early gybe with the hope of a better wind shift with the data from Saturday evening (last tack towards the finish line). I was lucky at this point and it worked.

It was a very technical, very interesting and time consuming race. No doubt, I’m very happy with the end to this story!

Photo: Private

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