2024 Virtual Race to Osaka

Results a Surprise

One year prior to the start of the 2025 Melbourne to Osaka double-handed yacht race (M2O) Swedish company SailOnline added a virtual race to their repertoire for keyboard racing enthusiasts around the globe. These are one design races and a Beneteau First 40 was chosen as an average handicap boat for the race. The navigation simulation uses six hourly NOAA GFS wind updates (no tides or currents) and assumes that boats are sailed at 100% efficiency, with slight performance loss at each tack or gybe. Navigation is key and this formula achieves some very close racing results.

Thanks to Rob Neilson, member RMYS who organised the race with SailOnline at very short notice, and who provided this information.

What will be of most interest to those preparing to line up in March 2025 for the actual race, was the route taken by the top 10 yachts. The winner, from USA, was one of the only two yachts that sailed through the Bismark Sea. (The other, from Germany, placed sixth.)  All other yachts who finished in the Top 10 sailed between Bougainville and Choiseul Islands. Those who stuck to the traditional rhumb line through the Bougainville- New Ireland gap, fell into a hole.

The winner finished the race in 28 days, 22 hours, 48 mins 10 secs, three hours 46 minutes ahead of second finisher France. Third place went to Italy, one hour 37 minutes later. There were 122 entrants from 26 nations, including USA (24), Sweden (11), France (10), Australia (9).

Individual placings came from:

1st USA

2nd France

3rd Italy

4. Great Britian

5. Australia (Robert Neilson)

6. Germany

7. Sweden

8. Australia (Canberra and RPAYC member)

9. USA

10, USA

The top 10 finished within 8 hours 52 mins 29 secs of the winner.

Paul Schulz from Musto has provided M2O race caps for the three place getters and there are plans for a more substantial, mementoes for the 2025 virtual race. Let your friends and family members know about the event at SailOnline. Many thanks to Rod Smallman for creating the graphics. Rod is the presenter on navigation at the M2O training sessions. In a recent training session Rod analysed 700 potential routes with the actual  recorded weather data covering many years – also very interesting conclusions.