Please select your home edition
Edition
Coast Guard Foundation LEADERBOARD 1

VR: Aspiration, inspiration, and education

by Mark Jardine 21 Feb 12:00 PST
VR WASZP sailing © MarineVerse

Having talked about the MarineVerse back in December, and following on from a couple of chats with Marc Ablett at KA Sails and Greg Dziemidowicz, the developer of the virtual reality sailing game, last week I had my chance to try it first-hand.

The Oculus Quest 2 does give you a truly immersive experience, and it's pretty incredible how much it feels like you're on the boat. The physics of sailing feel right, and I enjoyed my first race against Marc. It's incredible that we could be chatting away, sailing dinghies next door to each other while physically being on opposite sides of the planet!

You really do feel like you're 'in the game', and this was no more obvious than when gybing and I instinctively ducked when the boom came across!

I started off in a Laser / ILCA, and then had a go the WASZP and keelboat. Having sailed all these in the real world, I liked how the different boats reacted in different ways. Getting foiling in the WASZP required a bear away, a little pump, then up on to the side and heeling the boat to windward for maximum speed. It felt exhilarating!

Sadly, my virtual attempt at a foiling gybe met with a very similar outcome as when I tried to do the same thing on the wet stuff...

There is of course room for improvement, such as gusts and wind direction could be easier to read and holding the tiller is a little glitchy, but overall, the experience is hugely impressive and far further developed than I ever expected.

Chatting with Marc, I see exactly why he's so excited about the MarineVerse. The opportunities for it are nearly endless. For sailors watching the SailGP, imagine being able to don a headset and find yourself at the wheel of an F50, tearing around the race course.

Then think of all those days when sailing isn't possible, particularly when you're getting kids or youth sailors out on the water. A 'lost day' can be turned into a virtual training day down at the club, working on technique or understanding what to do in different situations. A club could invest in a few headsets, link them up to cast to a TV, and you've got a fun shoreside training setup, which can provide entertainment for those watching as well.

Until now, virtual sailing has been mostly limited to Virtual Regatta, which is itself an impressive platform with some great gameplay, and most definitely provided us with a bit of fun during lockdown, but the MarineVerse takes things to a whole new level.

Most of the 'big players' in technology are working on virtual reality, and I have no idea which of Facebook / Meta, Microsoft, Google, Apple and Sony will end up with the dominant product, but the MarineVerse theoretically isn't tied to any of them as it's developed on Unity, the cross-platform game engine which is used by many of the top gaming companies.

This really is an exciting development which could dramatically enhance people's experience of sailing, and could further break down barriers, leading to increased participation.

We move now from virtual sailing, to landyachts, with the news that Emirates Team New Zealand are making an attempt at the world wind-powered land speed record, which currently stands at 109.5 knots. This is a project that Glenn Ashby, the Australian who has had the need for speed on the water and on motorbikes since he was ten years old, has taken a massive interest in.

"I have never spent so much time on the computer as I have this past year," explained Ashby. "Basically, from the point that Dalts said 'let's look at it' after the finish of AC36, we have been all go. First job was a two-week in-depth feasibility study to ensure enough of a global understanding that this was something that could be done in a positive way for ETNZ and would not impact the team and its America's Cup objectives financially or resource-wise."

109 knots is very nearly what was recorded close to where I live on Friday. The Needles on the Isle of Wight has laid claim to the highest wind speed ever recorded in England with 106 knots. Having taken a walk to the clifftop just across the water, I can attest that it was properly blowing dogs off chains and not a day to be anywhere near the water.

The thirteenth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 is underway, where some of the top multihull and monohull teams in the world take on a course around eleven Caribbean islands, racing in typical north easterly trade winds of 12 to 17 knots.

In the monohulls we'll again be seeing the all-conquering VPLP-Verdier 100 Comanche and the mighty Club Swan 125 Skorpios go head-to-head.

While Comanche is a seasoned campaigner, the Scorpios are still learning fast about the boat, and have made some modifications to the keel and rudders. "We are improving, learning about the boat and are starting to understand the modifications to make the boat perform," said Scorpios skipper Fernando Echavarri.

Another 100 footer which can't be discounted is Leopard, which took line honours in 2009 and 2013. As navigator Hugh Agnew says, "It looks like a pretty conventional medium to light trades of 12-17 knots - so not hooning. That could be good for Leopard - we want more displacement conditions."

As with all events, we'll be bringing you the latest from the race, and we always welcome news from your club, class or event, however large or small.

I'm looking forward to seeing many sailing friends this coming weekend at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show, taking place at the new venue of Farnborough International. In the meantime, wishing everyone sailing fair winds, hopefully a little less than that seen at the western tip of the Isle of Wight on Friday. If you are stuck ashore due to adverse conditions then give the MarineVerse a go; it's worth it.

Mark Jardine
Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com Managing Editor

Related Articles

Streaming to Hobart with LawConnect.
Christian Beck's supermaxi, LawConnect, has already claimed first place in the 2022 Hobart race... Christian Beck's supermaxi, LawConnect, has already claimed first place in the 2022 Sydney to Hobart race. And for that matter, every race hereafter. No. No. No. We're not talking Line Honours, which is the prime directive of the campaign. Posted on 4 Dec
Chuck Begley on the LCYC's Long Distance Series
An interview with Chuck Begley on the last event of the LCYC's 2022 Long Distance Series I checked in with Chuck Begley, who serves as Lake Canyon Yacht Club's race director, via email, to learn more about the last event of the LCYC's 2022 Long Distance Series. Posted on 1 Dec
They come in threes
Ordinarily, you'd assume the worst when you see that line, but it's all good news! Ordinarily, you'd assume the worst when you see that line. It's like ‘Oh no', what's next if you're on the second, or ‘check this out' if you're looking back at all three in wonderment, if somewhat obscured by the tears in your eyes. Posted on 30 Nov
The Man in the Tower
We speak to SailGP's Chief Umpire Back in August it was a frustrated Sir Ben Ainslie who suggested that the onlooking Duchess of Cambridge should "send him to the Tower", referring to the Chief Umpire following a rule call at the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix. Posted on 28 Nov
Video Interview with Seldén's Mats-Uno Fredrikson
Taking a closer look at Seldén's electronically driven sail handling products at METSTRADE Swedish mast and deck hardware manufacturer, Seldén Mast has expanded its range of electronically driven sail handling products with the launch of the CXe45 two-speed electric Code 0 furler. We spoke to Seldén's Mats-Uno Fredrikson to find out more. Posted on 28 Nov
Interview with Sailmon's Kalle Coster
We find out more about the Sailmon Sailing App at METSTRADE 2022 Sailmon don't just make instruments, and the Sailmon Sailing App is becoming a powerful tool for analysis, event organisation, photos and video from your sailing, as well as sharing and connecting with the wider sailing community. Posted on 25 Nov
Interview about Yanmar's e-saildrive development
We speak to Igor van de Burgt and Bas Eerden at METSTRADE 2022 We spoke to Yanmar's Igor van de Burgt, Application Engineer, Engineering and Development, and Bas Eerden, Global Sales Manager, about the development of e-saildrive, scheduled for launch in 2024. Posted on 22 Nov
Interview with Jake Keilman and Todd Wilson
We take a closer look during METSTRADE 2022 Mark Jardine, Managing Editor of Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com talks to Jake Keilman and Todd Wilson of Vakaros at METSTRADE 2022 about the small, but incredibly powerful, Atlas 2 sailing instrument. Posted on 21 Nov
Location. Location. Location.
The Land Rats have it as a footnote on every page of their bible The Land Rats have it as a footnote on every page of their bible. In bold, too. And they probably chant it every morning at their group love-ins before hitting the phones. Posted on 20 Nov
Interview with Cyclops Marine CTO Ed Colby
We find out the latest from the high technology company at METSTRADE We spoke to Ed Colby of Cyclops Marine during METSTRADE 2022 about the latest innovations that they have made, including the world's first Wireless Load Pin for Sailing Yachts, which was nominated for a DAME Design Award. Posted on 17 Nov
Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTERUpffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTERHyde Sails 2022 One Design SALE FOOTER