While the rest of the world is on strict lockdown and in self-isolation, I am cruising the seas, sailing without restrictions, bottle of rum by my side, exploring the Shearwater islands.
Need to sheet in both the jib and mainsail, send the crew to their positions, engage the auto-pilot, bark out orders and go below to check the charts. We are in search of the wreck of the Princess Zara, and it’s uncharted position will be tricky to find. This old brig went down years ago and legend has it that it went down with a load of treasure, which is yet to be found. Once located, we will have to dive down to find and retrieve this bounty. We are cruising at a steady 7 knots but it’s not enough, time to motor-sail. Start the engine, full speed ahead, and soon we are moving along nicely at 8,5 knots.
This is the esail sailing simulator and it’s not only a lot of fun, it’s also very realistic and offers many aspects of sailing which will be of interest for those wanting to learn basics, practice certain skills or just have fun. I am in no way affiliated to this software, i am just a customer.
So, what can it offer..? If you are new to sailing, there are tutorials and challenges which will help you learn the terminology involved and there are introductions on how to operate this actual virtual vessel. There are also quizzes which test your knowledge on the various parts on a vessel. If you an intermediate sailor, then you can enter the live sailing arena and explore the island group, collect POIs (points of interest) and open up additional arenas. If you’re an advanced sailor then you will probably spend the time complaining that the lateral forces on the mainsail are not accurate and the anchor chain is too shiny. This is after all, just for fun.
The simulator can be found at https://www.esailyachtsimulator.com/ for an affordable $24.99. You will probably have to sign up on the Steam platform, but this is good, as it keeps leaderboards and records of other online users. This does not mean that you have to be connected to play.
By using the “learn to sail” option, the program puts you through your paces by assigning different tasks. This will teach you how to operate the motor and both it’s forward and reverse gears, the compass, the chart table, the auto-pilot and your two crew.
Further challenges include hoisting and unfurling of sails, reefing mainsail, using the anchor and how to operate the winches. The simulator has not left much out, and expect to know your sequence for topping lifts, kicking straps and jammers.
When using anchor, you even have the options of going under water to check if your anchor is holding.
There are also challenges which covers mooring, including preparation of fenders and mooring lines and using spring lines once bow and stern mooring lines are secured. When you are ready to depart, first set slip lines… all very nice…
Once you feel comfortable with the vessel and all challenges have been completed, then you can move onto live sailing. While live sailing, you can look for POIs to collect. Also great for realism, the time is running in real time, so if you start at a certain time, chances are you could enjoy the sunset. This game, however, runs in proper real time so the sun will only rise again in around 12 hours… There is a way to get around this, just set the amount of minutes in a day and you can have daylight again in less than 5 minutes. Some POIs are not charted so you will have to sail the whole area to see if you can locate the various sights and items. Once the first batch of 13 have been found, the game arena opens up with more POIs to locate. Use the chart to calculate course to steer and distance, set the auto-pilot and have a glass of rum..
If you encounter any issues or have any questions while playing, then just go the eSail community on the Steam website and check it out… https://store.steampowered.com/app/794860/eSail_Sailing_Simulator/
It’s all very cool and can provide hours of fun…