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Yellowbrick Trackers

05 Apr 2012

Before the Round New Zealand Race SSANZ conducted a fair bit of research into different tracker options. In the end the decision SSANZ decided to use Yellowbrick. Yellowbrick wasn't the cheapest option but from all our research it was the best and most professional option by far.

Everything went well up until the day that the trackers were meant to arrive. When they still hadn't turned up the next morning some urgent calls were made to England. The end result was the courier company had stuffed up and we couldn't get hold of the trackers. At this point Yellowbrick was outstanding in that they got hold of their latest batch of trackers and send a staff member carrying them as hand luggage to arrive in NZ at 7am on the day of the briefing.

For the first leg everything went well. But unfortunately a couple of days into the second leg the trackers started to die. This leg was one in which all boats saw some quite extreme conditions, weather forecasts described the sea state as phenomenal! From investigation it was found that this batch of trackers missed a crucial part of the assembly process. There is an internal silicon gasket which keeps the water out, and it was not been fitted to this batch by Yellowbrick's contract assembly plant.

At this point Yellowbrick was added to the email list for the radio sched reports. Their team them manually entered the position of boats whose tracker had failed every 12 hours.

In post race discussion Yellowbrick have stated "Our reputation is very important to us, and I would hate to think that people didn't feel we provided a good service or put shoddy equipment into the field. We did do our very best in the circumstances, and took sensible precautions when the units were replaced just in case those units were also affected by the same manufacturing problem - they may not have been, but we didn't want to take that chance."

Yellowbrick have also made SSANZ a very generous offer so that the next Round North Island Race in 2014 can feature Yellowbrick trackers and we can all see what a "proper" Yellowbrick experience is all about.

From the SSANZ perspective Yellowbrick has been very professional but unfortunate to have been letdown by two other companies. We look forward to working with them in the future as the potential of the product that we have all seen is very exciting !


Cameron Thorpe