CASTLE Cove Sailing Club members have found a novel way to keep their racing instincts sharp during lockdown amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Castle Cove has cancelled this year’s racing programme until restrictions are lifted but its members are still involved with yacht racing by using the virtual reality app Virtual Regatta.

This was the brainchild of club member Jon Emmett who proposed the idea and attracted competitors remotely through the club members’ Facebook page.

The first virtual race was held on Sunday and proved a new experience for many racers, challenging their IT as well as sailing skills and know-how.

The first race started at 10.30am with a second race following shortly after.

Emmett said: “I am really pleased with the reactions of the racers; they all seemed to enjoy the experience. There was a lot of interaction on Facebook and I am planning to use video conferencing in future races to provide more competitor involvement.

“I am also proposing to extend the series by holding races every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday in line with the club’s normal racing programme.”

In the real world of yacht racing, Emmett has only just returned from a successful visit to Australia.

There he finished in first position in five of the six races from March 15-17 in Melbourne to win the 2020 Oceania and Australia Master Laser Championship, a notable achievement.