Mobile app is ready for prime time

Published on January 10th, 2021

When Scuttlebutt shared a story about Buoy Zone in September 2020, the mobile app’s availability was limited to New Zealand and Australia, with about 25-30 clubs using the free tool which allows race officers to set exact courses and takes the guess work out for support boats.

According to the App Store, “The race officer sets a course from the start boat and shares this with their support boats. The supports boats get course updates in real-time and can all be seen on the same map. Any boats laying marks can zoom in on the map and see exactly where to lay their marks, or tap on a mark for real-time compass direction and distance.”

Having been utilized by race officials at the 2019 and 2020 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 World Championships, the dog is off the leash and ready to run. Here’s an update from co-developer Alex Amsler:

The story continues to develop with Buoy Zone. At the time of the original story we had a solid early stage following with a few core NZ and Melbourne based clubs. This came off the back of word of mouth predominantly from the original beta version being used to lay courses for the respective 49er Worlds events.

Until recently we also had the app locked down to the NZ/AU region so we could focus on developing out and improving the core solution. The Scuttlebutt story spurred interest from readers all over the globe writing to us asking when it would be available in their region. Now that a few months have passed we’ve developed Buoy Zone to a point where we are comfortable it can be used by all.

It is now available in all regions within the Apple & Android stores. With a quiet release mere weeks back there have already been users register from 12 countries. Yachting NZ has also included Buoy Zone within their Race Officer training material as a tool for making laying courses easier.

Our goal to make laying race courses quicker and easier is central to what we’re doing with Buoy Zone. The feedback we receive from clubs and race officers that use the service is always really positive and keeps us going.

A few themes seem to come through in the feedback: “Can’t believe this hasn’t existed before” – “It’s so quick to lay and shift the course” – “Course laying radio chatter has almost disappeared” – “We no longer need to rely on the A-Team mark layers to get accurate courses”.

We’re just really excited to share what we’re doing with the rest of the sailing community.

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