How does LiveSkipper work?
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
LiveSkipper is a massively multiplayer sailing game which allows you to compete against the greatest real sailors in the world and thousands of virtual skippers, in famous races such as the Barcelona World Race and the Artemis Transat.

How? The LiveSkipper principle is simple: all the participants are equipped with the same boat and sails types in an environment which based the real (daily) meteorological data.

To use the LiveSkipper services you must create an account first (it’s free!).

1. Create an account

To compete against your favorite skippers and/or participate to a virtual race you must register and create an account for free.
Then, activate it by clicking the link which will be sent to your email address (don’t forget to check your « spams ») after registering.

2. Log in

To access your account, get connected to and enter your username and password. Then, click « Log in ».

3. Race registration

To participate any of the races you must register by using the RACES & CHALLENGES menu, located in the RACES section.

When several of your boats are sailing you can select the race you want to access in the MY TEAM menu.

4. The LiveSkipper race viewer interface


You will start the race from a starting point or line (1). The goal is to reach the finish line (2) taking care to validate the checkpoints/buoys (also known as gates) (3). Details of the course and rules for each race are explained in the Sailing Instructions (which are published when race registration begins). Using the information you find in the race viewer (7) concerning wind direction and speed you can set your heading (4) and the sail choice (5), and your boat (8) will move forward with a defined speed. To win, you must choose a more efficient route and perform better than your virtual (9) and real opponents (10). You can chose to view your boat only (useful when approaching tricky positions) by clicking on the "My boat only" button (21).

4.1 Setting your course and sails

To sail you must chose a heading of your boat and set a sail. Your boat moves according to these settings and the meteorological data. Its progresses updated every 10 minutes. This means that LiveSkipper only considers the last configuration (heading, sails) set before each ten minutes update.

4.1.1. Chose your heading

To define a heading to your boat, select (click) the desired direction (4) on the compass. Your can adjust the heading more precisely (to 1° intervals) by using the accuracy arrows (11).

The boat course can also be configured to sail to a specific True Wind Angle (TWA = the angle of the wind off the boat’s bow) by fixing the angle between the boat and the local wind. To achieve this set the compass heading at the desired angle (click on it) in relation to the wind direction indicator (6) and click on the wind steering button (12). Your boat will then follow the wind as it shifts maintaining the TWA you have set, until you deselect the wind steering button (12) by clicking on it again.

The angle can be adjusted with 1° precision by using the accuracy arrows (11).

When this option is enabled (the button is orange), the heading is automatically changed to follow the wind direction (even when it radically changes!). This is why, when the wind steering is enabled, it is recommended to periodically check for wind shifts.

4.1.2. Set your sails

To set the sail type you want to fly on your boat, click on the desired sail button. Left to right:

  • Anchor button (stop the boat)
  • Foresail
  • Genoa Jib
  • Code 0
  • Spinnaker

The name of the selected sail is mentioned below the sail buttons (5) and the button corresponding to the sail setting, is orange.

Performance diagrams (polars) and routing tools for the LiveSkipper boats are available in the IMOCA 60 Polars. These files are updated periodically and new versions are posted on the site.

4.2 Weather forecasts

The boats speed depends on your sail configuration (5), your heading (4), the speed and the wind orientation (6) – all of this information can be found in the LiveSkipper viewer (7). Understanding how LiveSkipper models the weather will help you to sail your virtual boat.

Five day meteorological data are downloaded every day from the NOAA website (between 0300 GMT and 0500 GMT – time stamped 0000hrs) and adapted to the LiveSkipper world model. If the download fails, LiveSkipper utilises the forecasts downloaded the previous day.

Weather within the game is divided into cells measuring 0.5 x 0.5 degrees (30x30 nautical miles). The weather (speed and direction) within each cell is uniform for the whole cell area. An indication of this weather is given by the weather arrows (13). These weather arrows represent the average wind speed measured in cells of 1.5 x 1.5 degrees (90 x 90 nautical miles). This can explain why, sometimes, local wind can be different from the weather arrows (13).

Wind direction for every cell is updated every three hours day and night following this time schedule: 0300 GMT – 0600 GMT – 0900 GMT– 1200 GMT – 1500 GMT – 1800 GMT – 2100 GMT – 0000 GMT.

The daily weather forecasts can be directly downloaded from the game webpage (22). It is a grib compressed (.zip format) file which can be read by Ugrib and Viperfish.

It is possible to show/hide the vector arrows (13) by checking/unchecking the weather button (14). When the option is enabled the button is orange.

5. Use the map

5.1 The zoom

The zoom level of the map can be set either by using your mouse wheel or by clicking on the zoom bar (15).

5.2 Move the map

You can move the map by clicking and holding on it and sliding your mouse cursor where needed.

6. Know the exact position of an object

The exact position of an object can be found by reading its coordinates (16). When the map is centered on your boat (see section 7.), the coordinates (16) refer to your boat’s actual position (for information, after game loading, the map is centered on your boat).

If you move the map (see 5.2.), the coordinates (16) refer to the white cross at the centre of the screen.

7. Center map on your boat

To re-center the map on your boat, click on the orange icon representing your boat (17). The map will automatically scroll to center on your boat’s position.

8. Interactions with others boat

8.1. See boat trajectories/track

To see another boat track, place your mouse cursor above the selected boat (9 and 10).

8.2. Get information on other virtual boats

To see information about the name and ranking of a virtual boat, you must click on its icon (9). A bubble displaying the data will appear. The bubble displays: the opponents name, its avatar (personal image or flag), its real time ranking, the time elapsed since its last connection, and a link allowing you to send it a private message (PM).

9. Show and hide checkpoints

You can show or hide the race checkpoints using button (18).

10. Ranking

When you are competing, your ranking is showed on the top left of the map (19).

You can also find the ranking of all your boats in the TOP RANKING which is in the RACES section of the website. This menu allows you to find the ranking of all your boats thanks to the button “Find my boats”.
The TOP RANKING menu also allows you to search the ranking of other LiveSkipper members. You must write the username of the member you want to see the ranking in the “Search a player“ area, and then click “Search“.

11. Add somebody to the friend list

LiveSkipper allows you to add up to 10 names to your friends list. The skippers on your friend list will always be displayed on the map allowing you to follow their progress. To add someone to your friends list, you must click on the “Show Friends“ button (20). The following menus will appear:


To perform a search, write the skippers name in the “Name“ area (a). Then, click on “Search“ to see the results (b). You can browse the results using the “Next “, “Previous“ buttons (c). Finally, click on the username of the member you want to add to your friends list.
To delete a member from your friends list, select the username (when selected, the username is red) and click on the “Remove“ button (d).
With LiveSkipper you can chose to show only your friends on the map, by clicking on the “Show Only Friends “ button (e).

12. Wrecking

The boat wrecks only if it collides with a coast. When this happens, your boat stops until you set a new heading and sail configuration.

13. Need informations?

If you need more information or didn’t find an answer to your question you can see the Support section, post your questions in the forums, contact your SuperSkipper (player representative) or contact us.

The LiveSkipper Team

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