Club Communications—There’s an App for That
(Your Next Move?)
By Kimball Livingston Posted June 23, 2014
The job of organizing the 2014 Pacific CupSan Francisco Bay to Kaneohe Baypresented the standard bucket of joys, opportunities and problems. Compared to the printed booklets that were state of the art when this 2070-mile crossing to Hawaii kicked off in 1979, the web site at pacificcup.com already was doing a better job by far of providing and updating information. But hey, web sites are like, so, totally 2005-clunky. If people are coming from way off yonder to do this race, why not give them an app they can download to a phone, a world in the pocket, an app that lists . . .
Boatyards and Chandleries
Marine Parts and Engine Work
Sail Lofts and Canvas Work
Divers and Riggers
Fuel, CNG, Propane
Life Rafts, Steering, Watermakers
. . . plus a restaurant guide plus race information plus local dope on provisioning, health services, things to do, transportation, and a laundry list of local services from financial and business to churches and, well, laundry.
In my role as flatfoot reporter, I downloaded the 2014 Pacific Cup app to my own phone. And having lived with it just a bit, I figure that, even though categories such as “2014 PacCup Sponsors” and “Village Events” will soon be seriously out of date, I’ll keep the app. Its developer, Greg Gorsiski, notes, “Web sites are becoming more and more like phone books. This is a ‘push’ world, and that’s the bottom line.”
Or, from the point of view of Pacific Cup Yacht Club Commodore Steve ChamberlinPCYC being a paper club of enthusiasts existing solely for the sake of staging the racethere is this: “Fifty percent of our crew members come from Southern California or the Pacific Northwest. We have one from Australia. The goal as we saw it was to provide concierge service, and the guy from Australia told us, ‘I feel like I already know where everything is.’ ”
In 2014, the Pacific Cup has organized its first race village, located at Richmond Yacht Club on the eastern reach of San Francisco Bay in what locals call the “Richmond Riviera” because it is that. Sheltered from the relentless seabreeze that blows through the Golden Gate wind slot and straight into Berkeley, a couple miles to the south, Point Richmond is a world unto itself. A few major streets. A tiny downtown. The yacht club is a member-driven gemit was John Kostecki’s first junior-sailing club and a textbook example of how you don’t have to go big time to be an f’ing great yacht clubbut Richmond YC is not within walking distance to anywhere. It’s all by its happy lonesome. So you gotta drive. And Point Richmond is separated by a freeway from the larger town of Richmond, a place of broken and continually heartbreaking dreams where, whatever your spirit of good will, you don’t want to get out of the car. All the more need to know. All the better, bringing in Sonnen BMW as a sponsor to provide, literally, a daily concierge/shuttle service from the race village along a servicing and provisioning route. Other companies including Svendsen’s Boatworks & Chandlery will be providing dropoff servicesjust click on what you need. From a long downward slide, Pacific Cup entrants are back up to 70+ boats (maximum numbers are limited by available space in Kaneohe) and it’s clear that the 2014 organizers are doing something right.
As a member of RYC Gorsiski “ran our junior program for a number of years.” He has been a game developer for more than 25 years, so when The Mrs. got involved as a race officer for 2014, he was automatically in the line of fire, with something to contribute.
“The idea for the app came late in the game,” Gorsiski says. “The product is not as polished as I’d like, but we had to think about the needs of people who would be at the yacht club for a week or more, and I didn’t want to mess with the dynamics of the club’s web site. It came down to an info-pack-in-the-pocket.
“I had already floated the idea of creating an annual app for Richmond Yacht Club because, face it, people are moving away from web sites. For example, when we post something on our club’s Facebook page, it might have 400 views in an hour. That doesn’t happen at richmondyc.org. So now we have an app for the Pacific Cup, and all the clubs involved [Richmond, Kaneohe, PacCup] are tweaking their web sites to be more mobile friendly.”
So the logical next question is, what does it cost? If my club or my event needs its own app, and I’m not RYC and I can’t get Greg Gorsiski to work for free, and I have to hire him as Artysta Studios, how does that look?
Well, is it closer to $2,000 or closer to $20,000?
I had to ask several times, in different ways, but we got down to . . .
“Closer to $2,000, depending on how much data has to be put in.”
Add fun facts you probably don’t need to know: “For Android devices I can put out an app update in two or three hours,” Gorsiski says. “To update an Apple app, you’re talking one or two weeks.”
The 2014 Pacific Cup has five starts for different types of boats, July 6 through July 11, with signals made ashore from the St. Francis Yacht Club racedeck. Start times vary from 1030 to 1430 to take advantage of ebb tides, which run 50 minutes later each day.