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Jack Tar

MySail app helps connect boat owners and crew

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It's a common refrain from boat owners that they can't find enough crew to go racing, which is having an impact on the size of fleets at some regattas.

Organisers of the Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta this year, for instance, put a call out urging keelboat owners to support the event in light of low numbers who had entered.

A free yacht and crew matching app could go some way to alleviating that issue. MySail was launched in this country last year after a successful introduction to the Australian market in 2016 and already has 4000 members and 700 boats listed across both countries.

The concept was created by Deborah Dalziel, a Canadian who moved to Australia in 2010. 

"I wanted to get involved but it was quite hard at that point because I didn't know anyone in sailing," said Dalziel who was in Auckland to race with Extreme in the Jack Tar Auckland Regatta (pictured). "It took a lot of time and persistence and I'm quite an outgoing person. 

"I saw this need through boats I sailed on that struggled to organise crew and for people who wanted to crew on other boats to have an easier way to get that sorted. The concept came out of that."

It works well as a team management tool. Yacht owners schedule all the races they want to do in a year and invite their regular crew to list their availability. When the owner is short for a particular regatta, they can go to the crew matching section to find suitable replacements, which increases the pool of people they can call on.

Individuals can also sign up as crew, outlining their experience and expectations whether they are relative newcomers or experienced sea dogs.

As many as 30 have been matched through MySail for the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, as well as others for things like the Sydney Noumea Race and national championships.

It's equally useful for more social events, with Young 88 part-owner Mike Leyland saying he found a replacement in minutes when a regular crew pulled out a couple of hours before the Thursday night sprint series was due to start.

"I'm really passionate about bringing more people into sailing and making it really easy and reducing those barriers," Dalziel said. "There's not cost so there's nothing to lose from trying it out."

Dalziel is looking to build the product, adding more automation to make it more intuitive, and is also looking to add a volunteer element that could be useful to clubs. 

See here for more on MySail.