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The Capital Regatta

The greens next to the Grand Canal were packed with spectators. The Canal itself was filled with ships; mostly power-sails, but some older windclippers and cutters were in the crowd. The participants in the Regatta were behind the first of the canal locks, and their lock was rapidly draining water. Vendors were hawking cheap toy spyglasses, and Wudao handed one a florin. He raised the spyglass to his eye; there was a siege-sail at the canal exit, a huge hulking mass, and a small figure was standing at its bow, flanked on both sides.
"Constantine's having a big show, isn't he?" The mercenary squinted as the figure raised both arms, then dropped them.
A collective gasp emerged from the crowd, as the canal locks gave way. The Regatta was on, and the power-sails began churning their way out of the Grand Canal en masse. Two hit each other with a crash of wood on metal, and the other power-sail captains were frantically trying to navigate around the foundering mess. The move was prudent, as a moment later a massive geyser of water erupted under one of the sails, launching debris skyward. It's flywheel had lost containment and contacted the water, and had likely exploded. The crowds cheered as the other competitors rallied to get clear of the Canal.


The Capital Regatta is an annual sailing race held in the Etoile Capital City to showcase advances in both private and Principality ship-making ability. Each year, the Princeps of Etoile presides over the race, and each year the power-sails become faster and more sophisticated. As the Regatta has progressed, many power-sails have been made that serve no useful purpose other than capturing first place in Regatta racing. The more infamous designs include single pilot power-sails with no other crew, power-sails that are little more than a flywheel coupled with a pair of propulsion screws, and in one well-known instance, a power-sail that attempted to put the flywheel directly in contact with the water for propulsion.


Race setup begins with racers queued up in the water locks in the Grand Canal. Upon a signal from the Princeps, the first lock opens, sending the power-sails on the Grand Canal out into the Feryll Sea and towards Patino, the Machine City. Power-sails are expected to recharge there and return, and the first returning power-sail to link Power at the Capital docks wins the race.   Winners of the Regatta earn a cash florin prize in the five digit range, and the designers of the winning ship are typically approached by the Principality to participate in the engineering of the next generation of Power-sails.

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Anyone with a ship of any sort can enter the Regatta, as there is no entrance fee. Most entrants are power-sails, but occasionally the odd wind cutter will participate and easily become the crowd favorite. There is, however, no recourse or compensation for ships lost or foundered during the race.


Huge portions of the population of the Capital turn out to watch the start of the Regatta race. The Princeps of Etoile is the traditional starter of the race and signals the launch from the deck of the Etoilean Navy's flagship.


The summer solstice is the traditional day of the Regatta, as the seas are typically calm and visibility is at its peak. The day of the Regatta is informally considered a holiday in the Capital.
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