Volvo Ocean Race gamers raise funds to save the albatross

Volvo Ocean Race’s new official game has not even started yet but 28,000 players of it have already chalked up a big win by raising more than €15,000 to help a creature close to every sailor’s heart, the albatross.

The organisers, Virtual Regatta, launched a five-day, dry-run Leg 0 game last month to wet the appetites of players around the world for the game proper, which kicks off on Saturday with the first leg from Alicante to Cape Town.

More than 28,000 players took part and the €15,254 raised is being presented to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Birds (RSPB) for its Save the Albatross campaign.

The albatross is hugely important to sailors who traditionally believe the souls of dead seamen and women take the form of the sea-bird.

Unfortunately, longline fishing has threatened the albatross’s survival and the donation – plus another €15,000 being donated by the Volvo Ocean Race itself – will boost the RSPB’s campaign.

An albatross called Wisdom is the symbol and mascot of the world’s leading offshore race.

“We’re delighted to help in this way,” said delighted Virtual Regatta’s CEO, Philippe Guigne.

“Entries for the Volvo Ocean Race game itself are already flooding in. We have more than 30,000 already – it looks really positive.”

Players will follow the route of the real boats and face the kind of tactical challenges the team skippers will need to confront such as when to alter direction and when to change sails.

There’s also one other aspect the game will have in common with the real thing: “Our players have been known to set their alarms every four hours so they don’t slip behind in the race,” says Guigne. “They’re going to need stamina!”

Players can keep track of their progress over the nine months online and also via a regular digital video show.

Leg 1 begins at 1400 CEST (1200 GT) from Alicante on Saturday. The race covers 38,739 nautical miles and visits 11 ports in all including a pit-stop in The Hague.

– VOR Media

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