New Zealand's top sailors are tonight competing in a virtual sailing event streamed live on Facebook.
Two teams of eight will compete in four different races. All sixteen sailors must compete in each category and the sailor with the lowest series score (i.e. the best results) will be crowned the winner.
The Real Rockstar team includes Peter Burling, Blair Tuke, Phil Robertson, Alex Maloney, Sam Meech, Leonard Takahashi, Chris Steele and Matt Steven – all of whom have had incredible experience and success in the 'real' sailing world and are all poised to enter the competitive world of eSailing.
"You're going to see our sports 'Real Rockstars' going up against some of our best eSailors the 'Virtual Rockstars'", said Hayden Porter, CEO of RNZYS. "We hope New Zealanders will get behind the event and cheer on their favourite sailors, in a virtual sense, engaging and making comments on Facebook to create a new piece of sporting history. During lockdown, the RNZYS has turned into an e-Club and we have an entirely new way of sailing to add to our illustrious history as we near our 150th Anniversary in 2021."
Burling and Tuke are very well known in New Zealand for their achievements. These include winning six 49er world titles, a gold and silver Olympic medal in the 49er, winning the America's Cup with Team New Zealand, and competing in the most recent edition of The Ocean Race.
Alex Maloney is an Olympic silver medallist and Sam Meech has an Olympic bronze medal to his name. Leonard Takahashi is one to watch and competes for the Japanese SailGP team, as well as the Japanese Olympic team, and is a product of the RNZYS Youth Training Program.
Phil Robertson is an experienced and highly successful sailor who has won World Match Racing and Extreme Sailing Series titles. He is currently sailing for the Spanish SailGP team. Chris Steele has many match racing event titles to his name, and currently competes on the M32 circuit in the Northern Hemisphere – both Robertson and Steele are also products of the RNZYS YTP. Completing the Real Rockstar team is three-time 18 foot skiff world champion Matt Steven.
The Rockstar sailors will be racing in unfamiliar waters on Sunday when they take to the Virtual Regatta eSailing platform, and they will be up against it as they take on the RNZYS's best virtual eSailors.