Why we created SailTies, the Strava for Sailing
May 30, 2022 • Written by Chris Jacobs
Three years ago, Tom and I met working on a recipe sharing platform in Bristol, UK. We quickly discovered a shared passion for the ocean, in particular sailing, so we booked an RYA Day Skipper course together.
Fast forward to a typical March day on The Solent (🥶) and we were in our element, but it didn't take long to discover that two important things were missing:
- Warmer gloves 🧤
- A modern way to capture our experience 📖
Why is a modern way needed?
Like most sailors, we want to capture our time on the water for 3 main reasons:
- Reliving our adventures when we're back on land
- Sharing voyages with family and friends
- Recording our overall sailing experience
To our surprise, there was no modern way to do this.
Sailors try to keep a paper logbook up to date, however those only provide very limited information about a trip, they are boring to share and longwinded to summarise (especially if you have more than one).
Testing the existing options
After completing our course, we crewed for other sailors to build our miles.
We tried to record our voyages on GPS devices (marine, cycling and smart watches) and exercise tracking apps (including Strava), however nothing was suited to recording long passages or the collaborative nature of sailing. It was also very difficult to share data from the hardware.
The last straw came in Greece, our first charter holiday sailing around the Ionian Islands. All we had to show for it was an uninspiring entry in our log books 😢:
We decided to fix these problems ourselves and started working on SailTies as soon as we arrived home in Bristol!
SailTies product anchors ⚓️
Our overall goal is to create a product that solves real problems for fellow sailors, that they love to use and will therefore share with sailing friends. At the start of our journey we agreed on four aspects of the product we wouldn't compromise on. We call them our '4 anchors'.
(Disclaimer: This isn't named after how we moor up at sea)
1. Easy to capture everything in one place
SailTies makes it easy to capture all of the important elements of your sailing experience together. GPS track, stats, crew list, log commentary, photos - it's all on the voyage record with a beautiful map.
More often than not, you will be sailing with crew. With SailTies only one person needs to record the voyage and they can tag the other crew to let them contribute photos and notes. Collaboration is not only more fun, but makes it much easier to capture a rich memory of the voyage.
3. Fun to share your experience
All sailing is an adventure and those miles are something to be proud of. On SailTies, your profile is automatically updated with key stats such as total miles logged and time at sea.
There is image sharing to social media, a feed in the app and public links that can be sent to users without the app, to easily share your profile or a specific voyage.
4. No distractions from sailing
We want sailors to get value from SailTies when they are off the water.
Sailing for us is a time to connect with nature, develop a stronger respect for our oceans and have meaningful experiences with other people. So we have made it as simple as possible to capture on SailTies - one tap to start recording and then you can put it back in your pocket or even down below in a dry bag.
To leave the smallest possible footprint on your voyage, SailTies works offline (and offshore), uses accessible design practises, has low battery usage and is regularly tested at sea by real sailors.
Essentially - SailTies is built to be sea worthy.
Try SailTies for free!
Ready to capture your next voyage, or want to explore the trips already recorded on SailTies?
SailTies is completely free and available to download from the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.
What's next for SailTies?
We are laser focussed on creating the best possible way for sailors to capture their experience. Our immediate plans are:
- Introduce sailing groups and clubs to SailTies, so their members can share their sailing with each other. Find out more about SailTies Groups.