How the new device-oriented Phlotilla package does do it all
Newport, Rhode Island is the home of Phlotilla, formed in 2019 by experienced sailors, technologists and entrepreneurs, including world champions, America’s Cup veterans, Olympic sailors and race committee officials. Its next-generation event management platform eases the load on organisers and builds engagement within fleets.
Built on modern, mobile-friendly technology, Phlotilla supports onedesign, handicap, pursuit, team and match racing, even classic yacht scoring. Officials using the Race Management system can post results within seconds of the last boat finishing. Competitors can find all they need, such as notice board posts, NoR, sailing instructions, weather and tide data, schedule, scratch sheets, results and more on the Regatta Dash, just three clicks from their phone’s home screen.
Leapfrogging existing systems
Phlotilla incorporates all aspects of regatta management. It provides for a familiar “classic scoring” workflow with efficient scoring from finishes taken on paper, but excels as an all-digital finish and scoring platform that is consistently more accurate. ‘Phlotilla is so intuitive and easy to use,’ says Lee Parks, longtime US Sailing inshore director (retired) and experienced race official, after taking finishes and scoring with the on-water Run Race feature.
In addition to functionalities race organisers should expect from any online solution – easy self-serve regatta setup, intuitive entry registration, electronic document handling and simple, accurate scoring – it also offers:
- Automation of pursuit, team and match race management
- Integrated competitor, committee and volunteer communications
- Mobile device driven on-water run race features
- Wind tracking (direction & speed)
- Course/mark set functions
- Time-synced start and finish videos, readily cross-checked
- Online protest processing with remote hearings via Google Meet
- Crew finder functionality
‘I’m hugely impressed,’ says Peter Ryan, chairman of the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA). ‘It’s absolutely phenomenal. There’s nothing they haven’t thought of, it’s the future.’
Engagement and community
Paramount to Phlotilla’s mission is the use of technology to promote sailing by building engagement and a sense of shared community within clubs, classes, fleets, and events. Drawing from its registry of yachts, sailors, teams, clubs, organisations and associations, it introduces sailors to fellow members or rivals and provides background on boats in the fleet – all linked directly to entry lists and results pages.
Event and organisation admins can create and post articles to their pages and upload photo albums. By ticking the “Allow to be Featured” box, content is made available to Phlotilla’s weekly newsletter and posting on the Phlotilla.News page. Registered crew can become onboard reporters, able to post and share images, videos, articles and albums on behalf of the boat.
Build profiles, manage teams
Sailor profiles allow competitors to share their experience, background, and historic performance as well as stories, albums and the boats they sail. Public profiles include a brief biography, preferred roles or positions, and past results, providing an effective “background check” of potential crew.
A sailor’s profile can also store personal information such as apparel sizes, weight, ISAF class and dietary restrictions to be shared only with team or crew managers. The robust Team Management feature is suitable for grand prix crews and collegiate teams as well as race committees and club racers, allowing management of crew lists or volunteers, inviting/assigning to specific events and, in the case of supported classes, compliance checks with specific requirements (weight, ISAF Group, gender, etc).
Yacht Profiles provide an easy way to create a professional-looking online presence for any boat. Shared with event media officers and linked to entries, they provide up-to-date content. Private sections offer real utility to yacht owners and managers with digital tools such as Voyage Logs, Maintenance Logs, Inventories, Deck Notes, and more.
A technology hub for racing
Aiming to become a hub for sailboat racing, Phlotilla has launched a number of useful and creative features. Phlotilla.News includes news, features, video and a comprehensive list of content links: publications, photographers, blogs, podcasts and more. In time, the universal sailing calendar, which includes results, will provide links to all events, regardless of the system hosting them.
Phlotilla’s unique architecture enables emerging technologies in racing championed by organisations like SAP and the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation with which Phlotilla has partnered. This may include electronically enabled autonomous racing, providing for starting lines to be monitored, incidents adjudicated and finish times taken automatically, tracking made accessible down to the club level, and asynchronous racing, competition between boats sailing in different times and locations.