A YOUNG sailor from the district will be competing on virtual waters for national honours.

Robbie Langford, a member of Kielder Water Sailing Club, will take part in the national Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA) eSailing Spring Club Championships after claiming the North-East title.

Ten of the region’s finest e-racers represented their sailing clubs to battle it out in an online game called Virtual Regatta on Saturday, May 16, and the top four places overall were incredibly close in the final reckoning.

After five races, with three to count, Robbie’s race results of a third, first and second were just enough to take the title from Tynemouth SC’s Justin Smith, who counted a trio of second places to finish on equal points.

Third overall, just a point further back, was Sunderland YC’s Danny Boatman with Derwent Reservoir SC’s Simon Weatherspoon in fourth, also with seven points.

The event was streamed live on Facebook @RYANorthEast with live commentary from RYA keelboat development manager Jack Fenwick, giving supporters a chance to tune in and cheer on their club.

As well as being a member of Kielder Water SC, Robbie is race captain for Sheffield University Sailing Club, whose team was performing well in national rankings prior to lockdown.

As 'Captain Rob' for his virtual racing, Rob was able to transfer his real-life sailing skills to the online game, which aims to provide the same tactical challenges.

Commenting afterwards, Robbie said: “It’s been amazing. When you get a load of high quality racers on this game, it’s really thrilling.

"It was so tight, I know the positions were changing constantly and I’m so pleased to have just snuck into first place. I'm very happy.”

The 20-year-old engineering student from Hexham is now looking forward to representing Kielder Water SC and the RYA North East region in the national final of the Musto-sponsored RYA eSailing Spring Club Championships, which will take place on Saturday, May 30.

RYA North East Regional Development Officer Sam Usher said: "It was incredibly tight racing and a really exciting event for all the competitors and for everyone watching."