Sailing launches eSport virtual competition

    The eSailing World Championship is the sport's attempt to engage new audiences.

    Story highlights

    • Sailing launches eSport virtual regatta
    • World Sailing develops eSailing World Championship
    • Sailing to vote on Olympic classes

    (CNN)It is the epitome of an outdoor sport, with wind in the hair, spray in the face and your boat bouncing over sparkling seas.

    But sailing has succumbed to the relentless creep of the digital age.
      Like Formula One, soccer's FIFA and sports organizations the world over, sailing's governing body World Sailing is tapping into the eSports generation.
      Innovation and expansion beyond their core areas is the buzzword for all sports these days -- from fantasy leagues and virtual simulators to shortened formats, added entertainment and even a revolutionary wave pool in professional surfing -- as officials, financiers and those with an eye on building the grassroots attempt to attract a new raft of engaged fans.
      And eSports is growing at such a rate worldwide that it will feature as a demonstration event at this year's Asian Games in Indonesia.
      As such the inaugural eSailing World Championship, launched at the organization's modern new London headquarters, is sailing's attempt to harness the global digital community and spread the word about the sport.
      The online platfom allows gamers all over the world to compete in virtual regattas.