At MarkSetBot, we have had the honor of working with some of the biggest elite events across the world. From SailGP to the 52 Super Series and Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. And while these events are truly spectacular, we do so much more than just elite events. Every day we work with small local clubs to help improve their race management no matter what challenges they face—volunteer shortages, deep water, shifty wind, etc. One such club is Devils Lake Yacht Club in Manitou Beach, Michigan. We most recently worked with them at the Bruce Goldsmith Memorial Regatta September 17-18.

First started as an annual regatta, this year’s 78th annual regatta honored Bruce Goldsmith and David Laidlaw. To give an idea of the spirit of this regatta, the event flyer features some of the club’s favorite “Brunisms,” including “Good enough for who it’s for” and “We were down at the bar having a few martins when…” That fun spirit applied to the racing as well. Twenty-four Sunfish and eight Lightnings took to the racecourse on Saturday and Sunday completing two races total due to light wind.

MarkSetBot at Devils Lake Yacht Club

MarkSetBot’s own Matthew Morin was on the course as a racer and while he may be slightly biased, he explained how the Bots were helpful in getting in more races, “we were only able to get in two races due to really light breeze, but using Bots helped us get in those two races because we could adjust the course quickly and easily.” The best part of having Bots in extremely light air — help on the sail in. “We found a funny secondary use of Bots at the event,” Matthew says. “There was no wind to sail in, so we tied our bowline to the tow bridle on the Bot and had it tow us in.”

Small clubs like Devils Lake Yacht Club are a crucial piece of the MarkSetBot framework because they inspired the creation of the product to begin with. Small clubs and events typically have limited resources when it comes to managing a racecourse, lack of volunteers or mark boats can make setting a course difficult. Combine that with deep water or shifty wind and it can become near impossible. As a result, many clubs have to cancel or postpone weeknight racing, or be forced to leave courses skewed because it’s too much to adjust the anchored marks.

Race manager Todd Tigges ran Bots for the first time ever at this event. Having a solution for limited race committee members is a huge benefit of MarkSetBot for Todd. “With limited race committee resources, the MarkSetBots allowed our committee to set and maintain a true windward /leeward course in light and shifty conditions,” he says. Aside from helping manage the course, Todd spoke on how easy the app is to use and learn, “as a first-time user of the MarkSetBots, the user-friendly software made setting a perfect course no problem for my one person in one chase boat team,” he says. “The MSB program is intuitive and simple to use, and is the future of sailboat racing across the world.”

Working with small clubs and people like Todd is a huge part of what we do every day at MarkSetBot. We love the opportunity to highlight clubs like Devils Lake Yacht Club and how they use Bots to help manage their racecourses and spend more time sailing and less time setting a course.