Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - NZ

Skype - key event communication tool for Rolex Sydney Hobart race

by TetraMedia's IT Team on 23 Dec 2012
Niklas Zennstrom’s JV72 RAN passing Tasman Island at sunrise. 2009 Rolex Sydney to Hobart © Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo http://www.regattanews.com

Two Swedish techno-nerds Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis spent the noughties revolutionising music distribution and then telephony in the 21st century.

The two business partners who co-founded Kazaa, a peer to peer file-sharing service that became the source of free music to hundreds of millions of people, then started Skype the Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), which has now changed the face of telephony world-wide.

Now a resident of Britain, Zennström has a strong connection with the Australian sailing scene. He began sailing as a seven year old and raced his minimaxi, the 72 footer Judel Vroljik designed Ran, in the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart; she was fifth boat home and won division 0 and then Zennström and his Ran II team were sixth across the line and eighth overall on handicap in 2010.

Definitely a citizen of the world, the Scandinavian, British and US educated entrepreneur believes there are no geographical borders to confine many very 20th century industries.

Zennström says 'Telephony is now just a software application. Charging for phone calls is something you did last century.' As he sees it, telephone companies provided the 'copper 'network but not the service but that has all changed.

His baby, Skype, has almost 700 million members in more than 200 countries and at one stage in March 2012 some 35 million people were online concurrently, most of them paying zero or very, very small fees...

However that did not bother Online-auction site eBay who bought a controlling interest in Skype in a US $2.6 billion deal. Its since been resold to Microsoft in a US$ 8 billion dollar with the founders retaining 14% of the company and now the dollars are flowing for the VOIP leader.

And there is an interesting connection for sailors, because Skype has become a marine industry comms tool of choice.

Professional sailors, owners, media and industry figures can be found on Skype.

So dominant is Skype, you find it on business cards and our own Sail-World has added it to the standard boat database it maintains for some 3,000 racing yachts.

While Skype is used for computer to computer, landline and mobile, for many of the offshore racing boats, it’s become the number one media application during yacht races.

Sydney sailing journalist Lisa Ratcliff pioneered the use of Skype in the Rolex Sydney Hobart media centre in 2009.

She said back then ‘it’s working well for everyone; great fast comments right from the nerve centre and for us without the usual problems of calling boats, plus it suits their timing as they are in charge of providing answers.’

Here are some examples of the messages that came through on Skype during the 2009 Hobart race. Your boat too can provide this degree of detail for the media. Your boat navigator or computer nerd has time to set up Skype on your boat for 2012 still.

Will Oxley, navigator, Yendys
[3:23:37 PM] Will: We had a great start on the pin end with Ran and Loki and got to the sea mark in good shape.
[3:24:48 PM] Will: We are hard on the breeze in 20-23 knots and a lumpy sea state. The wind is holding right of Rhumb line so the fleet are mostly proceeding seaward on starboard.
[3:25:12 PM] Will : We are all watching to see who will be the first to tack!
[3:25:51 PM] Will : Sorry to hear Wharro did not get far

Tom Addis, navigator, Alfa Romeo
[5:48:146 AM] Tom:got the ridge pretty well. always stressful going through transitions like that but we did as much homework as we could and it all went to plan.
[5:49:06 AM] Tom: aim was to be first boat out and cross at the narrowest point - big gains on the way out

Ian ‘Fresh’ Burns, co-navigator Wild Oats XI
[5:46:40 AM] WO:we managed to cross the ridge as it was spreading up
[5:46:55 AM] WO: we dove west (as did Alfa and Leopard)
[5:47:02 AM] WO: to get around it and we did
[5:47:11 AM] WO says: we never slowed more than 6-7 bsp
[5:47:27 AM] WO says: the guys behind got swallowed and are still there
[5:47:37 AM] WO says: we were the last through the gate
[5:47:45 AM] WO says: Alfa gets richer and richer
[5:47:52 AM] WO says: looking like handicap win too
[5:48:10 AM] WO says: it was a very calm nice night pretty warm
[5:48:17 AM] WO says: nice moon for most
[5:48:28 AM] WO says: and now breeze is coming in quite nicely form banks strait
[5:48:48 AM] WO says: we have one more transition to go when the NW meets SW
[5:49:08 AM] WO says: but Alfa hasn't made a miss- step yet and they are unlikely to
[5:49:35 AM] WO says: so far the race has favoured the leaders and in all probability will continue


[7:46:46 AM] Conrad: Boatspeed 6.0, weather sunny, very calm. Ran is just on our hip around 4 miles behind. Last night was very slow; we had two watches where speeds were down to 2 knots
[7:52:03 AM] Conrad: Our plan is to pick up the little wind acceleration between Flinders Is and the mainland, work our way through the calms off the Tassie Coast. It’s going to be pretty slow to the finish

As you can see it’s simple and easy, with no overhead, commonly Skype messages get through when all else fails. A few lines of text, is better than downloading all the files you just don’t need at sea with limited band-width.

File send too is easy; images taken from the boat slide through efficiently and there are other advantages too...

During the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Sail-World sent hundreds of megs of photos back to its Melbourne office for Photoshopping, resizing and uploading when the Chinese authorities had emails queued for hours.

A basic feature for Skype is screen share ... which allows the person you are talking to/working with to see your computer screen and vice versa …. its a tech help marvel.

Now most heavy phone uses have Skype on their mobile phones. For the 2012 Boxing Day start 12 John Curnow will be on Sydney Harbour using Skype on his mobile, talking to the Sail-World team.

When you call the Sail-World office, if everyone is out on the water, your call will be diverted to a mobile or voice box, via you guessed it .. Skype.

If you’ve not done it yet, go to www.skype.com and download the program. Grab a $30 USB, Skype headset and welcome to the 21st century.

If you’d like to experiment sending messages from your boat, you will find us at sailworldaustralia

The TetraMedia group's Sail-World.com, Powerboat-World.com and MarineBusinessWorld.com editors use Skype as their primary communication too, across the USA, UK, Europe, Asia, NZ and Australia.

Can you imagine what our phone bill would have been 'last century'?



So we say thanks Nik and we hope to see you back in Sydney for the 2013 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race.

You should too..

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]

Barz Optics - FloatersBakewell-White Yacht DesignT Clewring AC72

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted on 27 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr