MAPFRE star Ñeti Cuervas-Mons is a true sailing fan. Not only has completed a hat-trick of Volvo Ocean Races, and is currently competing in a fourth – but he also admits to another addiction: the Virtual Volvo Ocean Race.
Yep, the brave bowman, who currently finds himself sidelined on shore due to injury, is finding solace in the pixels of the digital world, and explains that playing the game makes him feel more connected to the rest of his team mates currently sailing on Leg 4 of the real race, from Melbourne to Hong Kong.
"It's really addictive," he admits, from his home in Santander, northern Spain. "For us Volvo Ocean Racers, it's usually impossible to play, as we're at sea, but with this injury I've been able to try it out – and the truth is that I'm obsessed!
"I think it's very well made. It's obviously a lot more comfortable than the reality, because you don't get wet, you don't sleep, you don't have a change of clothes – but still, it gets hold of you."
The bowman admits that he sets an alarm every six hours in order to check on the status of his boat – and check how he's doing against the other 140,000 skippers, battling it out day by day, in the Virtual Regatta game.
"I play with my mates, who are almost all sailors, and we are always fighting! In my group are some legendary Spanish sailors like Pichu Torcida (Galicia Pescanova, 1993-94), and the other day I went into Stealth Mode so that he couldn't see what I was doing!" he laughs.
"Now, the one who is killing me is my brother-in-law. He bought the whole package, so I had to do the same – if not it would be impossible to keep up with him!"
5 ways to instantly improve your Virtual Volvo Ocean Race game play, by Ñeti
- Buy all of the extras. They're not that expensdive if without them it's really difficult to keep up with the leaders. There are loads of different sails, cards etc to choose from.
- Check the weather on an external website to the game. I follow meterme and Predictwind. They're really useful to do the routing and to compare with each other.
- Pay attention to the game at all time. I've fallen way down the leaderboard some nights when I've not been focused on my positions. One day I remember going from 2,000 to 19,000 in just a few hours.
- If you really want to win, or at least finish in the top 100, it's a good idea to make a team with people at the other side of the world. I've met loads of winners of the game at different Volvo Ocean Race stopovers and many of them play in a team featuring people based in the USA, Europe and Australia, for instance.
- I really recommend using the computer rather than the phone for fine routing changes. For me, it's much easier than the mobile when you just want to change the heading by a degree or two.