British eSailor Mike O’Donovan caused upset when he beat one of the pre-race favorites, Spain SailGP Team member Joan Cardona, to win the inaugural eSailGP Grand Final.
Referred to as the ‘plucky Brit’ in the event media, O’Donovan, 19, from Stokes Bay Sailing Club, in Hampshire, was the recent winner of the RYA eSailing Spring Class Championship, where he represented the Laser Standard class.
Eight the best eSailors – representing five nations – came together in the eSailGP Grand Final.
A second place finish in the final fleet race for O’Donovan saw him jump up the leaderboard and he secured his final place on countback.
Winning the final fleet race by a considerable margin and never off the podium in the previous two races, Cardona was the first player to book his spot in the eSailGP Championship Final Race.
A final five minute match race would decide the ultimate winner.
The ‘plucky Brit’ got the better of the Spanish sailor in the pre-start, before forcing a penalty on Cardona shortly afterwards, to gain an early lead.
Cardona continued to fight back and managed to close the gap before throwing the race away by hitting a turning mark and incurring a penalty.
This left O’Donovan to cross the finish line first and win not only the inaugural championship title but also a ride on an F50 in real-life plus automatic qualification to the eSailing World Championship Final.
Mike is originally from Aberdeen and become a member of Stokes Bay SC after moving to the South Coast to attend the University of Southampton.