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The Lockdown Cup Round 1

by Mark Jardine 16 Apr 2020 03:59 PDT 15 April 2020
The Lockdown Cup Round 1 © Mark Jardine

Round 1 of The Lockdown Cup is complete and the five top British sailors have been chosen to take on our competition winners, who are yet to be selected. The racing was tight and the battles fierce.

Top sailing commentator Andy Green provided some superb colour to the action and the livestream was supplemented with introduction videos and a little more production this time. Did it run entirely smoothly? Of course not. We're learning on the job and switching between the many different pieces of software to enable the broadcast is a challenge, but thanks to the likes of Adam McGovern, Alistair Dixon and James Eaves at the RYA this is at least possible, and anything which is doable should be done in my opinion!

There was a noticeably different atmosphere compared to the eSailing Demonstration Event a fortnight ago. Were the sailors more subdued after another week of isolation? No, it was fact that selection was on the line. This may be virtual sailing, but these are strong competitors at heart and they all wanted to win, or at the very least make it through to Round 2.

After the racing I asked each of the sailors to give me their immediate reaction and Luke Patience, aka 'Weepearl', summed it up when he said: "A different competition - far more decorum out there today which was a shame. And that panda has been on a diet and was flying!"

There are some interesting excuses made for a poor race, and Stu Bithell wins the prize this week as he described: "It was going great till my 96yr old gran tried ringing in the second race and I didn't have the heart to hang up. Maybe I'll ask her to write a letter to the organizing committee to request redress. But seriously, another great showing of epic racing, every mistake being punished. Hats off again to Adam McGovern to take the win."

One sailor's excuse can turn into another man's luck and Nick Craig scraped into Round 2 by a single point.

"Thanks to my 10-year-old son Adam for teaching me to use an iPad and of course Stu's gran." Nick said continuing, "Adam then said, 'Is that the real Ben Saxton' while watching the livestream - he hadn't heard of any of the other sailors!"

It's getting very clear that cabin fever is setting in and, like the rest of us, our top sailors are raring to get back out on to the water as Ben Saxton described: "I'm missing the excitement of racing. Great to be able to get racing against friends during these lockdown times!"

For others there were more than a few parallels to real world sailing, perfectly summed up by Christian Birrell: "Watching Ben sail downwind was very reminiscent of watching him sail away from me downwind at the Endeavour Trophy!"

It was extraordinary watching Ben Saxton's downwind sailing. Even against this calibre of fleet he demonstrated an almost uncanny skill in spotting the shifts and gusts to race away from his fellow sailors at times.

So, who made it through to The Lockdown Cup Round 2? Once again Adam McGovern took the win with a superbly consistent series, Ben Saxton finished second, despite a 12th in the first race, Luke Patience came third thanks to two podium finishes in the first two races, Dave Hivey came fourth due to his consistency and Nick Craig scraped in fifth by a point. There was disappointment for Sam Watson and Fynn Sterritt, missing out by just a point. This was especially acute for Sam as a scoring error announced him as the fifth qualifier during the livestream and only later was the calculation error spotted... Sam was magnanimous about the situation, "Good fun, I need to work on my starting! Hope to do it again soon."

Adam was ecstatic about his win, "Lots of fun once again. Really chuffed to take the win against this amazing group of sailors, I just wish I was as fast in real life!"

The British Sailing Team's coach Jonny McGovern summed up the general feeling well: "It's great to line up against these legends again, I need to up my virtual game though!"

Fynn Sterritt added: "Gutted to miss out on the next round! The end of lockdown can't come soon enough so we can get out sailing for real."

Aye to that Fynn.

The Lockdown Cup Round 1 Results:

1Adam McGovernAdamNW1528
2Ben SaxtonSaxobank121114
3Luke PatienceWeepearl331016
4Dave HiveyDavidHivey48517
5Nick Craig 54918
6Sam Watsonsam gp14621119
7Fynn Sterritt 97319
8Stuart BithellBiffmiester 214420
9Sam WhaleyWhaleX116623
10Jonny McGovernJonnymcboatface712726
11Andy Davies (taxi)Taxi1410832
12Christian Birrell 8111332
13Matt MeeMattMee1091433
14Katie BurridgeKatieBurridge13131238

If you haven't done so yet, you've got a day to get your entry in the competition to enter Round 2 of The Lockdown Cup!

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