Saturday, June 24, 2017
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Regatta app takes off

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The echoing public address system that has forever been a feature of public events may have been silenced by a New Zealand-developed ‘regatta app’ that is catching the attention of the sailing world.

Five New Zealand regattas have used the app since its debut at last December’s Youth Sailing World Championships in Auckland, including the World Masters Games and Optimist national championships.

The app hosts information from results and jury decisions to live weather reports and notice of races. People can even order lunch or see when their next bus is going to depart.

Not only did it receive widespread approval from those competing – the 379 sailors from 65 nations who 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, this December and Corpus Christi in the United States in 2018.

The app is the idea of 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships event director Peter Dawson and put together with the help of The Sports Agency, a New Zealand company specialising in 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,” says Peter. “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 world championships was in one place.”

It cut down administration and eliminated the need for a public address system, creating a much quieter atmosphere.

The app can be used by national sailing bodies around the world for any major regatta – particularly national class regattas, which is not only cost-effective but also presents commercial opportunities by aligning with sponsors and partners, says Peter.                    

It typically costs between $30,000 and $50,000 to develop a new app but organisations can adapt 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 of the work so it will save time and money,” says Peter. “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 more than 79,000 views, helping increase competitor and fan engagement.

There was little need to build a specific website and only a limited number of handbooks were printed, creating further cost savings.


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