Congratulations to Henri Levenspiel who has been crowned the SSCBC eSailing Club Champion, beating all competitors, some decades older. Members of all ages competed, from juniors like Henri to the more “mature” Couta Boat sailors, (even a past Commodore!), yet it was our talented junior sailor who took out the Championship, coming down to the last race in the series. Henri (aged 10) just pipped Rhys Tucker and Jack Lewis by one point by winning the last race. Henri will now represent SSCBC at the State Championships over the weekend of 23-24 May 2020.
Since Australian sailing launched the eSailing State/National Championships, it has given some sailors the opportunity to keep their sailing brain busy. As this is a new concept, I did not initially know what to expect. At the very least, I thought it would be a good way to keep some Members in touch from a safe distance.
The SSCBC eSailing has been active since mid April, with 3 race sessions a week. To coordinate start times, we used WhatsApp, which also gave Chris Malkin a platform to put a smile on our faces with his witty humour! Each Race session had three 8-minute races which were in the J70 class. Initially, we had two groups (Junior/ Youth and an Open) running 3 sessions a week, but when I saw our Junior/Youth sailors staying up to race their parents, it was a sign to join the groups.
While there is no substitute for being on the water, from my point of view, virtual sailing is a great tool to isolate some tactical situations. Like most things in life, virtual sailing had a few things to get used to, but after a little while everyone’s “boat handing” was pretty similar. The recipe for success was quite similar to an on-water race: you need a clear start, win your micro battle with the boats around you and make sure you’re on the long tack to the mark on the upwind. On the downwind, it was about angles with the kite up, dirty air and using the rules to your advantage.
Our SSCBC eSailing Championship was designed to give everyone the best practice platform, allow for technology errors and also create the same environment that the eSailing States and Nationals will be held in.
We did this by having two Qualifying series on the Saturday which was made up of four races with one discard with the top nine progressing to the SSCBC finals on Sunday. The final series was five races added to Qualifying position with two discards (allow for technology issues).
In the end, there were three competitors who were separated by a point, which was decided in the final race. Henri Levenspiel just pipped Rhys Tucker and Jack Lewis in the final race which not by design acted as a medal race. Henri is 10 years old and to some people they might say his “game skills” won, I don’t know what if Henri plays games, but what I do know is he was first under 11 at the Optimist States held at SSCBC and the decision making would be very similar.
I would like to wish Henri the best of Luck at the upcoming eSailing State Titles and I hope he enjoys the experience.
Not taking away from Henri’s victory, the biggest success for me was seeing all different age groups interact and to have four parents race against their kids in the finals is a pretty rare thing. We will still be running fun race sessions each week.