Sailor of the Week - April 8 - April 14
Anyone who has been involved in organizing and running regattas can appreciate what Ken Taylor has developed with the US SAILING Regatta Network. The industry leading regatta entry and management system has greatly improved the process of race organizing. Whether you are running a national championship or a weeknight beer can race, the online system was designed to specifically capture and manage the data required to run any sailing event at any level.
Ken’s interest for sailing started later in life. In January of 1984, he and his wife attended a boat show in Austin, TX. Ken noticed how enthusiastic members of a local Hobie fleet were about their sport. He caught the fever for sailing immediately, and before they left the boat show that day, Ken bought a Hobie 18 from the recent Hobie Nationals in Corpus Christi, TX. He learned from those members of the Hobie fleet that racing was the best way to quickly learn to sail correctly, so Ken started racing local and district Hobie regattas.
In 2004, Ken served as the race chairman for Lake Canyon Yacht Club. “After a year of running two or more regattas a month, I thought there has to be an easier way,” said Ken. “Transferring data by hand and using spreadsheets wasn’t the most effective way to organize all the information required to run a regatta.” It was this experience that motivated him to develop a more efficient, user-friendly race management system. He decided to use his expertise in web development and combine it with his passion for sailing. Regatta Network launched in 2005 with the J/22 Southwest Circuit. About that time US SAILING was looking for a strong partner to help clubs register and receive payment online for sailing events. In the fall of 2006 US SAILING agreed to use the system for the 2007 Rolex Miami OCR. Regatta Network passed the Miami OCR test, which included over 800 sailors, over 500 boats, and various currencies from all over the world. In March of 2007, they re-launched the system co-branded as US SAILING Regatta Network. Dan Cooney, Commercial Director of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, worked the deal from the other side. “We didn’t just get a great registration program, we got a sailor who knew the sport, possessed a tremendous sense of integrity and an attitude of service toward other sailors. It’s not magic, but for many volunteers running regattas, this is a game changer where fees and information are efficiently collected and disbursed. It just works,” said Cooney. US SAILING Regatta Network has processed 26,238 registrations for 545 events since November 1, 2006.
Despite the ever-growing demand for his services, Ken makes sure he reserves some free time for sailing by competing locally or in J/22 district events. After 25 years of buoy racing, he would like to try his hand crewing for some offshore races in the future. As far as the future of US SAILING Regatta Network… The system is evolving and the possibilities are endless.