Nick Tatt is an avid sailor - he's been doing it for nearly a decade. Eighteen months ago, he and his colleagues at Tinderhouse discovered that sailing as a spectator sport is not very interesting, but that they could improve this with a clean Web site and GPS technology. In most sailing regattas or races, grounded spectators line up on shore, watch the dash, then sit back and wait for unseen results to slowly arrive the docks. There's little interaction between athlete's and spectators. Tinderhouse used their Web development skills and expertise to develop Map My Tracks, which provides birds-eye, live-action dynamic vessel tracking to offer spectators a closer look at the action, albeit virtually.
To demonstrate the application to the boating community, Tinderhouse sponsored the 2008 Musto Skiff UK Nationals. Musto Skiffs aren't exactly yachts with onboard digital navigation control panels in captains quarters... They are small, non-Olympic class, one-person performance sailing skiffs that offer just enough room for the sport sailor and some gear - precisely why the team targeted GPS-enabled S60 series and Blackberry devices over mounted GPS white-box alternatives. Following the event, which received boating industry and trade press praise, Tinderhouse saw a surge in application usage. A clean, easy-to-use, and flashy Web site supported by a collection of relatively inexpensive GPS-ready mobile devices now supports a long tail niche community that was otherwise under-served and largely ignored by larger marine consumer electronics providers focused only on £5K+ GPS equipment sales opportunities to yachtsmen.