The Club
Sea View Yacht Club (SVYC) enjoys a panoramic Solent-side position in the pretty village of Seaview on the Isle of Wight. The Club has a strong family ethos, with members of all ages involved in competitive racing, training and cruising alongside an active social calendar.
"For the way we operate at Sea View, the process works really well, and SailEvent has been excellent"
Club racing
Racing takes place between April and October with daily races in the peak summer months. As well as handicapped dinghy racing, there are two one-design classes - the Mermaid keelboats and the Sea View One Design (SVOD) dinghies. The SVOD dates from 1931 and is a heavy wooden dinghy, kept on swinging moorings during the sailing season. With 180 boats in a strict one-design class, the SVODs provide tight and competitive racing.
"This is way better than a paper system"
Why SailEvent
While WhatsApp had been widely adopted for sharing race and course information, it wasn’t a workable solution for race registration with sizable fleets. The race committee had been actively looking at alternatives to paper sign-on, to eliminate the need for members to come into the clubhouse and to reduce the load on race officers.
Covid became the catalyst for adopting SailEvent. SVYC is located in the heart of the village, and any racing needed to be visibly Covid-compliant, eliminating groups congregating around the clubhouse and slipway. SVOD class captain Caroline Simonds said: "If we hadn’t had an electronic way to sign-on, we couldn’t have run the racing."
"Online entry is brilliant. We can see exactly who is going to sail"
In practice
In a club with a wide age range of participants, getting the members on-side and understanding the ‘why’ and ‘how’ was vital. Caroline Simonds made a short explainer video for users, a critical factor in achieving 95% compliance amongst regular sailors. "It is really straightforward," Caroline said. "Click the green button to say you’re sailing – job done!" Regular sailor Simon Broxham added, "This is way better than a paper system."
With season-long series, weekend back-to-back events and the annual regatta, SVYC packs a lot of activity into a couple of months, and there’s a lot for the race team to do. "As a race officer, it’s fairly self-explanatory" said Caspar Gray. "It is definitely easier to use than other systems."
Caroline Simonds agreed: "Online entry is brilliant. We can see exactly who is planning to sail." The race team can easily tally any sailors who enter the series but forget to sign-on for an individual race.
"Click the green button to say you’re sailing – job done!"
The benefits
"For the way we operate at Sea View, the process works really well, and SailEvent has been excellent," declared Caroline Simonds. The software enables the odd technophobe to be added manually without creating too much work for the race team. "It is our record of who is planning to go out."
SailEvent is now firmly embedded as part of the race process, with WhatsApp providing a supplementary channel for chat and comment. "The flexibility and ease of setting up competitions is great," Caspar Gray noted. "You can set it up exactly as necessary."
In 2021, SVYC is planning on using SailEvent for SVODs, Mermaids and handicap racing. "The link-up with HalSail for results is a game-changer," said Simon Broxham.
"If we hadn’t had an electronic way to sign-on, we couldn’t have run the racing"
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