Safety first for sailors in OKI 24 hour regatta.

The OKI 24-hr yacht race on Lake Pupuke, Auckland New Zealand, draws competitors young and old from all parts of the world to come and compete in one of the toughest dinghy races on the circuit. Sailing for 24-hrs non stop in difficult conditions, there is fierce competition amongst sailings elite to see who can last the distance and come out on top.

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Situation

The 2015 event saw over 300 competitors spread across the 24hr Laser and 6hr Optimist events making it an exciting competition to watch but also a real challenge in sailor management.

With teams sailing in pairs or triples and switching out every few hours, combined with the hurdle of sailing through the night, it is of critical importance to keep track of exactly who’s on and off the water at any given time.

Solution

Previous events have seen a manual system of tracking the sailors and their movements, increasing the potential for user error and miscommunication, especially after staying awake all night. So the Murrays Bay Sailing Club decided to work with Comworth Technologies and Zebra Printers to implement an automated ID card and scanner system for the OKI 24-hr regatta.

”We have never had any significant problems arise with our manual system but we wanted to utilise technology to streamline the process. Moving to the Zebra technology not only makes the process faster but also gives us piece of mind that we know exactly who is on the course”, comments Paul Stock, OKI 24-hr Race committee.

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Results

During the regatta more than 300 full colour and bar-coded Zebra ID cards were printed and issued, then scanned with a Panasonic Toughpad. This provided a simple, waterproof solution that was both low cost and simple to get up and running.

“We didn’t have thousands of dollars to invest in technology, especially if it only gets used a couple of times a year. Working with Comworth we were able to put together something that was cost effective, quick to implement and required minimal training for our volunteers,” commented Stock

The decision by Murrays Bay Sailing Club to implement a Zebra ID card solution for sailor management ensured the weather was the primary thing the competitors and organisers had to worry about.

Local hero Andy Malone and World Laser Champion Nick Heiner took out this years OKI 24-hr race with a record equalling 120 laps, with ‘hotlap’ appearances from Tony Rae and Rob Salthouse, members of the Team Vestas boat in the Volvo Ocean Race.

With this years event being tougher and more exciting than ever, things are looking good for another 30 years of the OKI 24-hr event.

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