New Zealand-developed app for regattas

Published on May 25th, 2017

An app developed in New Zealand has caught the attention of the sailing world and is being looked at as a tool that can be used at sailing regattas in any country.

A special app was designed for last December’s Youth Sailing World Championships held in Auckland which hosted information from results and jury decisions to live weather reports and notice of races. People could even order lunch or see when their next bus was going to depart.

Not only did it receive widespread approval from those competing – 379 sailors from 65 nations took part in the pinnacle event for sailors aged under 19 – but it was also so successful it caught the attention of World Sailing, the sport’s governing body.

It’s likely the app will be used for the next two Youth Sailing World Championships in Sanya, China, in December and Corpus Christi in the United States in 2018. It’s already been used for five regattas in New Zealand, including the World Masters Games and Optimist National Championships.

The app was the brainchild of 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships event director Peter Dawson and put together with the help of The Sports Agency, a Kiwi company who specialise in the design and implementation of sport-focused mobile apps. It was developed off the back of Yachting New Zealand’s members app which was launched in 2015.

“It was hugely successful,” Dawson said. “Normally people go to a noticeboard at the venue or someone posts it on Facebook. But with the app, everything everyone needed [at the youth worlds] was in one place.”

It cut down on administration and eliminated the need for a public address system, creating a much nicer atmosphere. It was just another reason why World Sailing said New Zealand had hosted a Youth Sailing World Championships that had “raised the bar” for future events.

Dawson said the app could be used by national sailing bodies around the world for any major regatta, particularly their national class regattas, which was not only cost effective but also presented commercial opportunities by aligning with sponsors and partners.

It typically costs between $30,000 and $50,000 to develop a new app but organisations could adopt the one used for last year’s Youth Sailing World Championships and create their own unique look at a fraction of the cost.

“Rather than someone re-inventing the wheel, we have done all the work so it will save time and money,” Dawson said. “It can also be a great income generator.”

The Youth Sailing World Championships app was downloaded by more than 1500 people during the event and attracted over 79,000 views, helping increase competitor and fan engagement.

Further cost savings were made because there was little need to build a specific website and only a limited number of handbooks were printed.

“The app developed by Yachting New Zealand for the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships in Auckland was a great success,” World Sailing chief commercial officer Hugh Chambers said. “It helped to make the pinnacle event of youth sailing run smoothly, keeping sailors, officials and coaches up to date.

“The key aspect is the way the app could be adapted as new functionality was required, and that has also meant it can be re-purposed for future events, which makes it even more valuable.”

For more information, contact Yachting New Zealand communications manager Michael Brown on +64 21 677 618 or michaelb@yachtingnz.org.nz.

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