Just like the crews aboard the Volvo Open 70s, virtual racers will compete in real time and real weather conditions on the same race track against the Volvo fleet. They get to use the weather data available to choose their headings and sail plan.
Developed in partnership with UnitedGames, the game is free to play but players can also purchase additional information with a share of the proceeds going to The Save the Albatross Campaign.
According to Marijn Harinck, CEO of UnitedGames, the game has been designed to be as close as possible to the real thing. "We built the game together with our partners from Virtual Regatta who are sailors too," he said.
"Their knowledge about virtual sailing and our knowledge about gaming makes this game unique. It is a game by sailors for sailors."
Andrew Ferguson, head of Technology and New Media, added: "We launched the new look website, online TV channel, and most recently our mobile channel.
"To enhance the package further we are now giving race fans the opportunity to take part in their race, with our virtual game – the competitors can create their own nine-month, 37,000 mile ocean marathon, without the salt spray and freeze-dried food."