The latest major sponsor to confirm its involvement with the Opti Worlds, to be staged in New Zealand in December 2011, is Vodafone New Zealand, and the result promises to be a major leap forward for spectatorship of dinghy racing.
The giant of the communications market will be making a significant investment in equipment and systems for the world championship youth sailing event, including Live Streaming of all races and mark roundings, which will be broadcast to spectators at the clubhouse and online.
'Vodafone’s support will enable us to take dinghy yacht racing to a very sophisticated level for the absent viewer,' says spokesperson Peter Dawson. '40 countries are now officially entered so this opens the door for great exposure for sponsors and to showcase New Zealand in terms of tourism.'
The Big Red Vodafone Truck will also be onsite at Napier Sailing Club, as a place where locals and visitors can experiment with new technology, and purchase phones and top-up cards.
In addition to providing Mobile 3G capacity to facilitate the live streaming of race footage, Vodafone are also supplying 300 SIM Cards and data plans to enable GPS tracking of every Optimist on the race course and at all marks.
'This is going to make a real showcase of youth yachting and a great display of our capability to hold international yachting regattas and make them visible to the World,' says Peter Dawson.
Greg Campbell, Vodafone Chief Marketing Officer, adds, 'We are delighted to support the teams on land and in the water with our powerful network coverage and reliable products. We understand the importance on tracking the team’s performance and how hungry fans are to get close to the action.'
New Zealand has a history of proud success at this event: in 2007 Chris Steele won the event outright, and Alex Maloney was the top girl and third place overall, while New Zealand took the prize for top team.
Noppakao Poonpat from Thailand is the current reigning World Champion, and top girl claiming her victories in Langkawi earlier this year.
The Opti Worlds programme commences on 20 December with a four day sailing clinic, and an invitation regatta for all internationals and 100 of the top New Zealand Optimist sailors, runs on 28 and 29 December. There will be a welcoming ceremony and registration event, and Championship Races will run from 1 January - 9 January 2012.
For the many families who will be away from home for the holiday season, Christmas Day will be celebrated at Eskdale Reserve, a beautiful Riverpark in the Hawke's Bay.
As well as Vodafone, the 2011 Opti Worlds NZ is supported by New Zealand Major Events, Hawke's Bay Tourism, Tourism New Zealand, SPARC, EuroCity Cars, and the City of Napier. Website design has been provided by Catalyst, and other supporters include, the Victoria Cruising Club, and Air New Zealand.
Opti Worlds Vital Stats:
30 December 2011 - 9 January 2012
The boat: a safe and simple dinghy that is one of the world's most popular designs
The racing: 9 days of Championship racing
The competitors: around 250 sailors aged up to 15 years
The countries: teams from 50 nations including reigning Champs Thailand
The host club: Napier Sailing Club, Napier, New Zealand
Famous sailors that have started out in Optis include: Ben Ainslie
The big sponsors: Vodafone, New Zealand Major Events, Hawke's Bay Tourism, SPARC, City of Napier, Air New Zealand, Euro City Napier, Victoria Cruising Club, Lion Foundation
The technology: GPS tracking and live video coverage online - real time
The website: www.optiworldsnz.com
The Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/optiworldsnz2011