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Once every 6 years a state takes on running the National Sabot Sailing Association Championships in Australia. The regatta takes place just after Christmas each year and runs over 8 days. It is a big event on the calendar for young sailors, with many of them travelling from one end of the country to the other loaded up with boats, rigging, rescue boats and all the extra gear.

Lesley Fasala, the Victorian Sabot Association Regatta Coordinator, talks about her experience using TryBooking to take bookings and registrations online for the national competition.


The Challenge

The biggest challenge for the Victorian Championship organisers was that their fleet of sailors and therefore potential volunteers had dramatically diminished. The group had to take sailors from other states to make up their state's numbers and this lean group of volunteers then had to triple up on jobs and roles to make sure the event ran to the standards set in previous years. Lesley Fasala was in charge of organising the event in Victoria and allocating jobs to volunteers. Some of these tasks included looking after the event's website, registrations, catering, safety boats and personnel, racing support and media liaisons among other things. In short, there were a lot to be done with very few volunteers.

To reduce the workload on volunteers, the committee decided to integrate online bookings to their event and after weighing their options, the committee chose TryBooking “due to the functionality of providing all the bookings and registrations on one page for the buyer to see and select what events they could attend, said Lesley Fasala, Victorian Sabot Association Regatta Coordinator.


The Change

Running any regatta requires a long list of data on sailors including boat details, crew details, medical details, sail numbers and sometimes the data collection can add up to 30 or more fields. For Lesley, when running the regatta the “most useful thing we found to be of great help to us was the options of reports that we required. Trying to manage the different areas that require certain information is very time-consuming. I was amazed at the power I had and the things I could use TryBooking for”.

Gathering this information is crucial in order to keep track of attendees and ensuring the safety and details for all participants are well known. To ensure they had the data for each sailor, the organisers set up computers at the registration desk for their visitors to use and book the functions they were running. For organisers, it was easy to point participants over to the computer to purchase other functions and fill out any details they were missing from their registration.

Once the data was gathered, it is then passed on to race management and medical support.


 “From start to finish we had terrific support from everyone at Trybooking. When I called or email the team at Trybooking they were always happy to help and point us in the right direction.”


“Being able to keep track of all spectator requests, rescue boat names and contact details online assisted in making the regatta safe but supportive. And being able to do so for free was a bonus,” said Lesley.

Once the organisers had set up all the fields with the data collection questions they needed from each participant, the information is then updated automatically. Event organisers can access participant information, ticket sales, refunds by choosing one of the many reports from the TryBooking dashboard.

“My favourite report that I used a lot during the registration period was the 'Event Revenue Itemised Report'. It was great to see every couple of days what the breakdown was and who had purchased the different social events or registered for the event.”

Once all the data was collected from each sailor, “it was very easy for us to export all the information into a spreadsheet and see what information was missing and who we needed to flag. Before competitors arrived we emailed competitors with medical conditions asking for more information” explained Lesley.

The organising committee also had to take into account which families would be attending the social functions and how many people they would bring along. With over 100 junior regatta sailors and with all the public holidays around Christmas the event organisers knew they were going to get competitors entering the event but they were concerned the attendee numbers wouldn't be the same for the social functions.

“Having the three functions on sale at the same time as you purchase your entry for the sailing regatta gave us the opportunity to sell our other functions. I could see from the data being collected that 80% of entries to the regatta purchased all social functions."

Having to organise catering for the social functions was also going to prove challenging especially during the busy holiday season. To overcome this challenge, the committee decided to offer an option to purchase tickets for the social functions online so attendees had the option to book and pay online before the day of the event. The event would close off once the limit of attendees had been reached which meant the event organisers had an accurate number of people per event that they could then give to the catering company. Having guests confirm their attendance and pay in advance also helped Lesley and her team to control spending and not overspend on catering for families who had not confirmed their attendance.


The result

• TryBooking allowed the organisers to track bookings, registrations and manage crowds easily
• 80% of attendees booked and paid for social functions online
• Data on sailors including boat details, crew details, medical details, emergency contacts, sail number and social functions could be processed online with ease

Having the option to book and register online meant that staff and volunteers could devote more resources to the planning and execution of the National Sabot Championships in Victoria. The event revenue was all managed by the organisers and no money was handled on the premises which was a huge bonus for the team running the event. The regatta was a total success and as Lesley explains, “when you are dealing with money it is a nice feeling to know all the money is collected online so there is no need to worry about handling cash or banking money. At the end of the regatta, it was easy for us to transfer the money into our account having a full record of all accounts”.

When asked about the how her patrons responded to the online registration process, Lesley said, “we received positive feedback from our attendees about how great it was to know you had purchased all of your items before you had arrived at the regatta”.

She added “from start to finish we had terrific support from everyone at TryBooking. When I called or email the team at Trybooking they were always happy to help and point us in the right direction.”

“You don't realise at the time but so many people need the information you collect and TryBooking gave us the ability to run any report, update information or add in more information that helped us manage our time effectively.”


Lesley Fasala,
Event Organiser,
Victorian Sabot Association