There are two different kind of virtual sailing. The ocean racing approach with day/week long regattas accross various oceans and seas ( virtual regatta & sailonline) or the "around the cans" races of which sailX is the one I would recommend.
SailX, the growing plateform for tactics and rules
www.sailX.com! the plateform has been developped by sailors for sailors. This is a smart way of dry sailing working on tactics and rules. the plateform allows team racing, match racing and fleet racing including all parameters sailors have to think about.
I race on the plateform as tcsailingcoach.
Ocean virtual sailing is a growing aspect of sailing…
The Virtual Vendee globe and the virtual Volvo were used as promotional tools by the real races getting an opportunity to everyone to go around the world like their heroes in the comfort of an armchair. Virtual Regatta (www.virtualregatta.com) from Many players is the main provider out there gathering more than 40 000 players for each races. Forecasting, general strategy, weather and tide understanding, speed polars and routing are the main tool (with some time and a few euros in hand if you want to be competitive). Other websites are being developed. Each of them have their own strength. I personally like www.sailonline.org which I think propose the virtual sailing the closest to reality with dynamic wind changes and therefore can be used as a true strategy learning tool.
Virtual regatta interface ( mini transat 2009, end of leg one approaching Funchal)
Past and current races
After having being pretty active on sailonline and virtual regatta collecting some excellent finishes (4th at the VR mini transat 2010 in particular), I distanced myself a little from ocean racing as the addiction was truly kicking in. 2012, I am now racing on and off on sailX (great for rules work) and once in while I enter an ocean race...