Organisers of the OptiWorlds Championship in New Zealand are thrilled to be reaching the rest of the world, just by using the right mix of media and technology.
'In today's world you can make the most of all the technology and different media and therefore connect New Zealand to the rest of the world' says Nigel Rippey, Event Director
'We were fortunate to have Catalyst build an interactive website for us and they have been active in their support throughout the regatta. Before the event, on avergae we had 300 visits per day. Numbers started to rise in early December to 800 before the Harken Invitational Regatta, but during the Harken Regatta we were impressed to reach 2,500 unique visitors per day' Mr Rippey says.
The team worked hard to increase the number even more. On January 3rd, 8,192 people viewed www.optiworldsnz.org.nz!
Most visits come from New Zealand, but there is a large number of followers in Great Britain, Germany and the United States of America. The most popular pages are the homepage, with the latest news, YouTube videos and links to the blog and Facebook. 'Results' is a popular pages too as one would expect.
Apart from the website, the Facebook page has increased its popularity quite quickly in less than 2 months. In November there were 425 'likes', now there are 1,400.
'Each country has its own Facebook Page as well as being connecting to the 'motherpage' of the OptiWorldsNZ' according to Brain Haybittle who has set up all the individual country pages. 'In the beginning we used competitions to get people to like the Facebook Page. Sponsors like Harken and EuroCity provided prizes and that attracted more 'likes' but the number has really grown since the event has started' Mr Haybittle says.
'The great thing about Facebook and the website is that is actually connects people to the event' says Nathalie van Dort, Media Relations. 'A parent that can't be at the Worlds, left a comment saying it felt as if she was here in New Zealand, because she was reading the blog on the website, following the race on the tracking site, looking at all the images, and watching the YouTube videos. I think that is great. We want to connect people' Ms Van Dort says.
The daily YouTube videos provide a snap shot of the days' races and are produced by Greek company Icarus and have proven to be a hit with competitors and viewers from all over the world. This racing footage has also been linked with 160 yachting websites globally with many millions have access to the OptiWorlds racing on a daily bases.
'We embrace the role new media plays but we don't neglect the traditional media either' Ray Steele of the Organising Committee says. 'Thanks to the radio advertising' Mr Steele continues, 'most New Zealanders were aware of the Championships, and the local newspaper gives a daily update with a wide range of background stories. And every morning, we produce a printed newsletter for the competitors, and we suspect that is what most teams reps come into the office for, first thing'.
To see the updated weather data from the Optimist Race course, coaches log on to PredictWind.com who have located a weather buoy in the middle of the race area to give sailors insights into the weather patterns of Hawke Bay. Wind plays a crucial part in this competition; light winds favour the lighter sailors, while strong winds will see the older sailors rise to the challenge.
Today is Lay Day. The individual racing continues with race 7 this Saturday. The wind is predicted to be light on Saturday, but will increase to strong (25+ knots) for Sunday. The OptiWorldsNZ have their last sailing day on Monday, so anything can still happen to the leader board.
The provisional leader board (for the individual racing) shows: 1 Ryan Lo (SIN) 14 points, 2 Bart Lambriex (NED) 23 points, 3 Javier Arribas (PER) 25 points, 4 Wade Waddell (USA) 32 points, 5 Leonard Takahashi-Fry (NZL) 33 points, 6 Peter Lin Janezic (SLO) 40 points, 7 Philip Meijer (NED) 41 points, 8 Ahmad Syukri Abdul Aziz (MAS) 41, 9 William Marshall (USA) 44 points, 10 Miel Verstraete (BEL) 44 points.
Opti Worlds Vital Stats: 30 December 2011 - 10 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: 210 sailors aged between 11 and 15 years The countries: teams from 48 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, the Radio Network, EuroCity Napier, Victoria Cruising Club, Lion Foundation The technology: GPS tracking and live video coverage online - real time The website: www.optiworldsnz.org.nz, over 8,000 unique visitors per day The Facebook page: 1,399 likes http://www.facebook.com/optiworldsnz2011