Sailing (and eSailing) at the FC St. Pauli

Compared to others, it has only been a piece of minor news at the club’s homepage last week which however triggered our interest.
“eSports” is pretty familiar. Console, Controller – and then FIFA/Madden/F1/NBA/NHL, so far so good.
But sailing? It got time to look a little closer.

So, I (virtually) met up with Enno, who is the same person who got interviewed on the club’s homepage.
Because every Monday and Thursday, the sailing department currently offers training units open to the public. Of course, also just virtually.

And we admit: The following picture is simulated, Enno doesn’t always sit completely outfitted on beer boxes when he’s e-sailing.

The sailing department at the FC St. Pauli

Let’s start with some basic information. The department is one of the most recent ones of the club, it was founded in January 2018 only and has been (still is?) the only sailing department within a professional football club in Germany ever since.
From the very beginning, the department was planned as an active one which is devoted to the aims and values of the FC St. Pauli’s fan-scene and has thus also planned political and social action as a key value of the department.
Furthermore, one aimed to get rid of the prejudice that sailing is an elitist sport for the upper class only. The membership fee is priced as a usual sports club membership and thus compared to “normal” Sailing club a real bargain. Specifically, children and youth members only pay a fiver a month which is offering deliberately low barrier access – which could, however, even get more accepted by the kids.
Beginner-courses (as well as special courses for children and youth) are held regularly – but those courses could also get more attention.

eSailing

But before “real” courses and sailing-trips can continue, Corona and the lockdown are still in place and thus changing certain things. While every sports club and every team is trying to somehow bridge the time during this forced break, Enno discovered a way to transfer the department’s everyday life into virtual spheres.
The magic word in this regard is “virtual regatta”, which is technically the FIFA-game for sailors.
It can be played for free as a browser-based version but there’s also an app for mobile devices. And as in every other game, supportive tools can be purchased as in-app-purchase for real money. However, this is not mandatory, specifically not for beginners.

On first sight, the game reminded me of the classical car race games but it is surprisingly realistic – whoever tries to join a “custom race” as a lays person or landlubber will be wrecked instantly. However, not in the original sense as there’s no chance to capsize but my first race was a total disaster.
Against the wind in a 40° angle, setting the additional sail with the wind, a quick turn, evade the other boats, pass the buoy from the correct side … the free tutorial was for sure a little help but without the additional remote help of Enno, I would have been even farther behind than I was anyway.

But: With some practice, you’ll get instant results and when I participated in a few more races after the official department’s training had finished, I even ended up as the second or third last in an international competition. Ha!

Besides taking the online-tutorial, it is of additional help if one witnessed the one or the other race at Olympia or live already to better understand the correct crossing of the start-line in a flying start. Additional technical refinements such as the right of way or similar things will then become clearer while playing.

In fact, the app is currently very often used by professional sailors due to a lack of real sailing opportunities outdoors. This is for sure due to the app being designed in a very realistic way. The race tracks are adapted from real-world examples, wind conditions appear realistic and do change in the course of a race, the behaviour of the boat is also very close to the original.
But you’ll get less wet and of course, the craftsmen’s tasks onboard are limited to the keyboard or the touch-screen only, however, sometimes you even compete against real pros.
Admittedly, most of us without recognising it, due to a lack of familiarity with their names.

So, be brave, click this link and sign up or play as a guest user.
Inshore-mode, tutorial, custom race and soon you might find open races which you can join.

The Jolly Roger Cup

The highlight for all sailing clubs are of course the own regattas – and as the FC St. Pauli could not host their own regatta so far, they took the Corona time as a chance to start one virtually.
“First Jolly Roger Cup – Virtual regatta on the 16th/17th May”
To participate, just sign up by using the provided email address in the link but also participate in the open training sessions of the sailing department for better outcomes. The open training happens every Monday and Thursday at 7.30 pm. If you’re in need of special tips, you’ll certainly get the necessary support there.
The regatta will take place with qualifiers on Saturday and the finals on Sunday, participation in the regatta is free of charge.

And when the whole Corona-time will be over at some stage – visit the department’s website and also visit the offered activities. Specifically for (but not limited to) children and youth, this is a brilliant (and cheap) opportunity under alfresco conditions.

Thank you Enno for taking care of and coaching me while I sailed my first nautical miles, I had a blast!

//Maik (translated by Arne)

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