For the third time the organizers of the Volvo Ocean Round the World Race, the world’s most prestigious yacht race, have again selected Inmarsat Services to deliver essential satellite voice and data connectivity, broadcast quality HDTV and rich multi-media content necessary to relay all the action and drama to millions of fans across the globe. As an official Race Partner, Inmarsat Services will be responsible for key elements of the contest, including but not limited to, GPS position reporting of the yachts and safety communications, as well as supporting crew morale by enabling them to stay connected with friends and family via voice and email.

Starting in early November 2011 from Alicante, Spain the race is anticipated to take 9 months covering more than 39,000 miles, concluding in Galway, Ireland the following July. Each yacht will have a specialist non-sailing media crew member (MCM) whose specific responsibility will be to beam pertinent vessel and crew data to race HQ via the Inmarsat marine satellite services Fleet Broadband terminal on board. Due to this state of the art real time availability of information the coming race is expected to be the most keenly and closely watched in its history.

The MCMs are already training for the race having recently visited Inmarsat’s network operations and satellite control centers where they witnessed live demonstrations of how their video, photographic and email reports will be delivered. “This was the first time the MCMs had ever visited Inmarsat and they really gained an understanding of how the company works and the breadth of the services it offers,” said Mark Covell, an MCM for Team Russia in the last Volvo Ocean Race, who accompanied the new intake around Inmarsat. “With seven months to go before the race starts, it was a great opportunity for everyone to begin to gain a thorough understanding of just what they can deliver using FleetBroadband. This visit, together with extensive training and preparation, will help them unleash the full power of the service to bring the very latest drama and excitement of the race to a global audience,” Mark went on to say.

Knut Frostad, chief executive officer of the Volvo Ocean Race, said: “FleetBroadband has proved it can deliver a flawless performance in tough conditions and that is absolutely essential for us. We need to be able to get reliable and high quality material off the boats and deliver it to the world with immediacy. You could say that the DNA of the Volvo Ocean Race is really based around moving images. And to be able to transmit these images from the boats is core to our communication and story building around the race. In many ways, Inmarsat’s FleetBroadBand has revolutionized the sport of offshore sailing. And by enabling us to be so connected to the boats, we can monitor those 24 hours a day from our Control Room in Alicante. This is crucial for our safety procedures and the onboard safety equipment is a vital tool for the crew in emergency situations.”

Each70 foot Volvo Open racing yacht will be equipped with a Thrane & Thrane Sailor FleetBroadband 500 terminal capable of providing voice and high-speed data communications. Also onboard will be the smaller more compact version Thrane & Thrane Sailor FleetBroadband 150. The 150 will be used exclusively for crew voice calling and IP data.

Each vessel will also be fitted with two Sailor Mini-C systems which will provide constant positioning data and global safety communications. For the first time ever the race will have the opportunity to use Inmarsat’s new global handheld satellite phone, IsatPhone Pro, which will be included in the boats’ safety kit.

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