The regatta has been a tradition since 1820 and will be held online this year
Translated by Thomas Ansell
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, both Skûtjes (a traditional Frisian boat type) captains and their crews cannot take to the water for the annual regatta this year. So, instead, the SKS (Sintrale Kommisje Skûtsjesilen, the organising body) is organising a virtual race, reports the Omrop Fryslân.
The virtual regatta will be carried out with the help of a free online sailing simulator game, and will be broadcast on Facebook, says fan Harm Bakker. “I have been busy with the online game since the Volvo Ocean Race, and I am also a watersports fanatic. ‘E-sailing’ usually has really short races: sprints, Olympic courses, and more”, he said.
The idea for the regatta started with a message from Johannes Meeter, captain of the It Doarp Huizum. “At the moment, the captains have nothing to do”, says Bakker, “they can only paint the boats at the moment, because they cannot train. So, I said: why not do a virtual regatta? Then they can still practice a little because all of the rules are nearly the same”, he added.
After that, invitations were sent out to the Skûtjeseilen community. “We have a complete community. Willem Zwaga will be participating from Frankfurt, for example. We can ‘sail’ with around 20 people”, said Bakker.
The first virtual race will take place on April 6, and will be live-streamed. The organisers have asked for sailing commentator Gjalt de Jong to participate in the broadcast.
More information is available on the Virtual Regatta Facebook page