Welcome to the fourteenth post in the series “VR Sailors - MarineVerse Community” - introducing sailors racing in MarineVerse Cup.

Today, we are chatting with Rik based in Blackpool, England.

In virtual reality, you can meet Rik in MarineVerse Cup as Logan602041. In MarineVerse Cup Rik is racing in a “Pro Series” and as of today is #5 in the world.

We have asked Rik a couple of questions..

What is your sailing experience?

I am now 45 and have sailed on and off since I was 17, joining as I did then a College sailing club which let us loose on Toppers and Wayfarers.

When I bought my own home I made sure it had room to park a boat and drove myself all the way up to the furthest reaches of Scotland to procure my first boat a beloved and well used Dart 18, I named her “Damocles The War Pig” and I still sail her today.

Since then I have sailed GP14’s on occasion and a Seamaster 23 yacht, but mainly I blast up and down the Fylde coast (Blackpool beach) on my Dart 18, much to the eternal chagrin of my Mrs I now own the Dart, a Kestrel, a Wayfarer a great Viking sea kayak and am lining up a Fireball dinghy in my nautical cross hairs.

What is your favourite sailing memory?

It’s very hard to pick a favourite sailing memory as I’m making new ones all the time and each is uniquely memorable especially the capsizes.

Two memories I can vividly recall though….. one was about 2 miles off the coast, midway between Blackpool and Southport on an ebbing tide and running aground on a gigantic sandbar, we dragged that heavy wooden monstrosity for what seemed like an eternity into water deep enough to sail, it nearly killed me.

On the other occasion again off the coast of Blackpool a mighty seal head surfaced suddenly in front of us and passed between the catamarans hulls, his head turned to look at us as we sped off and I don’t know who was more surprised, that nearly killed him but made for a memorable sail.

Tell us something about your experience with MarineVerse Cup?

Marineverse Cup is a very surprising beast indeed, my step-son got an Oculus quest for his birthday and after he was sent to bed on a trumped up charge I fired up that headset and was bewildered by the feeling of immersion that virtual reality can provide, after a long time passed primarily shooting things dead I discovered Sidequest and through that Mareineverse Cup………….Wow!

MarineVerse Cup Quest

British weather is a bit schizophrenic at best and seldom do the stars align to the point where I get to go sailing, on those days when I thought I was going and the weather lets me down I sulk, I admit it…… I’m impossibly annoyed. MarineVerse team have somehow built a simulation which scratches that itch and does it so well that I don’t feel cheated by the weather if I don’t actually get to go out and get wet.

It is instantly immersive, the sounds are on point, the feeling of movement is incredible and the first few times I experienced it I fixed my eyes on a bearing and upon moving the tiller nearly stumbled over, for me it hit that reality trigger so hard that my body was totally fooled and I was blown away by it.

Then………..it gets really interesting, when I got used to the controls my attention was quickly captured by the strategy of sailing and with the introduction of other boats from all over the world your competitive edge is drawn out and you begin to start trying to shave seconds and then tenths of seconds off your time around a course trying to get to the top of that chart.

From the start of the race as the timer counts down to zero trying to find the best angle of attack, keeping up your boat-speed and trying to judge your distance to the line to get the best advantage you can is a captivating experience, get it right and you might have a chance, get it wrong and you spend the rest of the race watching the likes of Markolus, Capt Jay and Aaron Sawyer leading the charge on what may just be an unassailable (pun intended) lead.

But…..they might make a mistake, the wind might shift, they may sail too close to a buoy and their wind might vanish, alternatively you might find a gust that they didn’t and you’re back in the game, not that I call it a game because to my mind this is very much more of a simulation and a very, very good one at that.

There is nothing quite like trailing a better sailor for lap after lap (I repeat races a lot) and then suddenly you get it, you learn from them, you absorb the knowledge, you use it and then you keep up, stay at it and you begin to edge ahead and before long you’re making your own moves and it is you out at the front setting the pace that everyone is desperate to beat, on those rare occasions when the spinnaker is unfurled in all it’s glory you get an extra spectacular treat.

I remember one particular race where I had rounded the first mark and I had at long last edged ahead of Capt Jay and I was ecstatic, I had reached 5 knots and was bearing down on the next buoy and thought I had won this leg of the race at least, I looked behind me and watched in awe as his Spinnaker unfurled and he tore past me at a rate of knots I had thought previously unachievable, he rounded the buoy in front of me and I could not catch up, but in that moment I learned that the most direct route is not always the quickest!

Marineverse cup has taught me a few things I didn’t know about sailing too, there are things I do naturally having sailed for so long but when forced to think about those boat handling choices I found it surprising that I didn’t know what I didn’t know, I have found that this experience has forced me to consider certain aspects of sailing and better understand points of sailing that I thought I was thoroughly conversant with.

Who and why should try MarineVerse Cup

If you are a sailor, a fan of sailing, mildly interested or one of those that thinks sailing is boring….. you should all try Marineverse Cup, it’s a great sim in it’s own right, it is an invaluable training tool and for me it is relaxing, exciting, taxing and rewarding all at the same time, I cannot get enough of it and cannot congratulate MarineVerse team enough on an outstanding achievement.

Register for VR Fitness Summit at MarineVerse website: https://www.marineverse.com/marineverse-cup/vrfitsummit-2020

Any tips for those new to sailing that want to race in MarineVerse Cup?

My tips for the game: No chance I’m starting to catch up those leaders whom I have admired and chased for hours upon hours, I need every edge I can get to keep up with those top sailors and I’m jealously guarding that which I have learned from them.

If you twisted my arm I would say find a sailor better than you and follow them, keep following them and try and work out what they did and why they did it, when you get that figured out, you find the next guy up the list and you do the same.

When those tactics become second nature, experiment, try and get to the gusts as strategically as you can….. 2.7knots upwind is as low as I’m comfortable going, less than 4.9knots everywhere else and I expect the holy trinity of Markolus, Aaron Sawyer and Capt Jay to trounce me. But……..failure is the best way to learn!

MarineVerse Cup

MarineVerse Cup is all about the community. If you would like to try sailing join us. You can meet VR sailors at our Discord chat server and you can downland MarineVerse Cup on Steam or via SideQuest.

We hope you enjoyed this blog post in “VR Sailors - MarineVerse Community” series - stay tuned for more soon!