Please select your home edition
SW newsletters (top)

Its a win for the Laser Standard Class in the RYA eSailing Spring Class Championship

by Emma Slater 22 Jun 05:56 PDT 20 June 2020
Class champs final race course - RYA eSailing Spring Class Championship © RYA

Whittled down from 788 racers, representing 26 different classes, the top 19 eSailing class champions took to the virtual waters on Saturday (20 June) to battle it out for the title of RYA eSailing Spring Class Champion.

Racing was incredibly tight throughout but it was Mike O'Donovan (Deja-Vu), representing the UK Laser Association - Laser Standard class, who, with some consistent racing throughout, clinched the championship title.

"It was really tight racing through-out and I'm really happy to win. It all came down to the final race where I had to make some strategic decisions," commented Mike.

With commentary provided by RYA Keelboat Development Manager, Jack Fenwick and Sam Usher, RYA NE Regional Development Officer, the final consisted of five, two lap races, with two discards and penalties resulting in racers being auto slowed for 10 seconds.

Mike started his championship campaign with a win in race one, closely followed by Sam Whaley for the WASZP class, who would end up challenging Mike (Laser Standard) throughout the final, coming in second and third going to Tom Jeffcote for the Scorpion class.

Arthur Henderson for the Merlin Rocket's clinched the best start, but fell back down the fleet due to too many penalties, "I had a great start, but it's more important to have a great finish", commented Arthur.

Race two and there was lots of bunching on the start line. At the first mark Arthur Farley for the Laser Radials was leading the fleet, being chased down by Rory Chalmers for the RC35 Scotland class, before Rory claimed a penalty and was pushed back to fourth.

Heading in to the final run and it was very close between the top three boats. Arthur pulled away but it still remained extremely close for second and third. Arthur held his lead and took the win for the Laser Radial, with second place going to Stephen Videlo for the Larks and Rory Chalmers taking third for the RC35 Scotland.

It was a battle for the pin end to start race three, with Mike O'Donovan (Laser Standard) once again challenging for a place at the head of the fleet. At the spreader mark the top three boats were within inches of each other, but as they came over the finish line it was a win for Liam Willis for the RS Aero 9, with Mike O'Donovan clinching second and Rory Chalmers (RC35 Scotland) taking third.

With no clear leader heading in to race four and with two discards available "it's all still to play for" commented Jack Fenwick.

It was a great start for Will Hitchman for the 2000 class, but it was Donnie Gillies, who is also currently the number one ranked UK esailor, for the GP14 class out at the front of the pack at the first mark, closely followed by Sam Whaley (WASZP).

With ten boats all on the port tack lay line, it was penalty after penalty at the rounding; luckily Donnie (GP14) got around unscathed and raced on for the win. Sam Whaley (WASZP) took a very close second, with less than a second between him and Donnie, and Dan Bullock (DanBullockArt) for the RS Aero 7 claiming third.

With the leader board extremely close, anything could happen in the last race!

RS Aero 7 racer Dan Bullock lead off the line but it was Arthur Farley (Laser Radial) who, with his spinnaker flying moved to the head of the fleet. Another interesting windward mark rounding but Arthur maintained the lead, followed closely by Donnie Gillies (GP14). Arthur continued to pull away from the fleet and went on to take the win. Rory Chalmers (RC35 Scotland) claiming second and Mike O'Donovan (Laser Standard) racing in to the third place.

  • Will Hitchman - 2000 - "A fantastic event with a very high standard of racing. Felt great to have some competitive sailing, in any way possible! A massive thanks to the RYA."

  • Donnie Gillies - GP14 - "Well done Mike. Another cool performance to win. Good racing though the fleet, very tough!"

  • Greg Eaton - Firefly - "Thanks to all the RYA staff for organising a great couple of weekends racing. Seriously competitive finals, so thanks to the other racers... well and truly thrashed."

"It was amazing to watch such close racing which can been seen with four different race winners from the five races. Well done to Mike on an impressive win, it was great to see it come down to a final race showdown and the tactical battle that created", commented RYA eSailing guru Adam McGovern.

Don't worry if you missed the action, you can still watch it on the RYA YouTube channel

As well as the claiming the Championship crown, Mike wins an Essential 45L Dry Tube, courtesy of Musto, a dryrobe plus a virtual Q&A session for their class with a member of the British Sailing Team.

Overall Results:

1UK Laser Association - Laser StandardMike O'Donovan
2UK Laser Association - Laser RadialArthur Farley
3WaszpSam Whaley
4RC35 ScotlandRory Chalmers
5RS Aero 7Dan Bullock
6GP14Donnie Gillies
7LarkStephen Videlo
8RS Aero 9Liam Willis
92000Will Hitchman
10Merlin RocketArthur Henderson
11International 2.4m RMegan Pascoe
12UK Laser Association - Laser 4.7Max Steele
13SB20Isabelle Waha
14RS Tera SportFreddie Sunderland
15StreakerGiles Therkelson‑Smith
16ScorpionTom Jeffcote
17MiracleIan Fryett
18FireflyGreg Eaton
19HornetJustin Jones

"The racing has been phenomenal throughout the whole championship, and the skill and quality of racing in the final is testament to that" commented Celia Edgington, RYA Shows and Promotions Manager. "We are delighted that so many racers and classes got involved in the championship, helping not only sailors to continue practicing and honing their race skills, but also as a means of keeping the racing community engaged and in touch with each other."

Next on the RYA eSailing calendar is the RYA Sailability eSailing Multiclass Regatta.

If you want to find out more about how you can get involved with eSailing or want to pick up some eSailing top tips then visit for more information.

Love Boating? Then why not join the association that promotes and protects, safe, successful and rewarding British boating. Join today and support the RYA in protecting your boating rights and freedoms. Take advantage of free advice and support on all aspects of your boating, as well as enjoying a range of fantastic personal member offers. Find out more by calling 02380 604 159, email or visit

Related Articles

French player qualifies for eSailGP Grand Final
MCES pepito claims penultimate spot following Pop-Up Qualifier Following a closely fought virtual battle, the penultimate place in the eSailGP Grand Final has been claimed. MCES pepito beat Javinho of Spain in a nail-biting match race to secure France's first spot in the inaugural championship final Posted today at 6:40 am
Rolex Fastnet Race to run with Virtual Regatta
The first part of the RORC's premier offshore event remains the same Potential competitors, armchair sailors and gamer enthusiasts from all over the world will have the opportunity to try their hand at competing on the new course for the Rolex Fastnet Race, in the online game created by Virtual Regatta. Posted on 27 Jul
Entries now open for Virtual 24 Hour eRace
West Lancashire Yacht Club's eSailing alternative to be held on 19-20 September Today West Lancashire Yacht Club opened entries to their unique eSailing endurance event, WLYC 24 Hour eRace. This virtual event temporarily takes the place of the on-the-water WLYC 24hr Hour Race which has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Posted on 10 Jul
National 12 Dinghy Shack Virtual Regatta
Fourth event of the National Series held online The National 12 fleet were disappointed that the fourth event in the Dinghy Shack National series, scheduled to take place at Royal Harwich, had been cancelled due to the ongoing lockdown restrictions. Posted on 8 Jul
RYA confirms eSailing Nations Cup selection policy
How the GBR team will be chosen for the international knockout tournament At the beginning of June, World Sailing announced the launch of the 2020 eSailing Nation's Cup; an international knockout tournament which will see nations across the globe battle it out for the eSailing Nation's Cup. Posted on 3 Jul
Lark eOpen at Banbury
Six local boats joined by 12 visitors Six local Banbury boats were joined by twelve visitors, including a bus-load from Waldringfield, for a virtual open meeting to replace the cancelled Banbury Lark Open on 28 June. Posted on 30 Jun
Hansa GUL VR Series 2020 Series 1 overall
17 sailors take to their tablets, smartphones, laptops on the final day On June 23rd 17 sailors took to their tablets, smartphones, laptops, and computers to compete in the final 8 races to complete the ten week series of races. Posted on 29 Jun
eSailing Racing Facebook Group
Sam Whaley gives us this update Over the lockdown period with everyone at home unable to sail, I decided to set up a Facebook group, now called eSailing Racing. Throughout lockdown the group have been racing on Virtual Regatta Inshore every evening at 9pm. Posted on 29 Jun
Sigma 33 Virtual Regatta Championship
34 boats racing in Virtual Cowes! Congratulations to Peter Tindal (from Miss Behavin'), our 2020 Sigma 33 Virtual Regatta Champion! Racing took place in Virtual Cowes where we had glorious sunshine, 20 knots and a total of 34 boats racing! Posted on 29 Jun
Weston Sailing Club eSailing Open Series
A 16 race series throughout May and June on Virtual Regatta Throughout the UK's lockdown period, sailors from around the country have been getting their racing practice in using Virtual Regatta. Weston Sailing Club has put this to good use, running a 16 race series throughout May and June Posted on 24 Jun
MBW newsletters (top)