Please select your home edition
Edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90

Iridium Certus® and Thales VesseLINK: Keeping the Vendée Globe fleet connected and safe

by IMOCA Globe Series 29 Oct 2020 10:34 PDT
Iridium Certus(R) © Iridium_Certus

The IMOCA fleet taking on the challenge of the Vendée Globe solo round-the-world race has been fitted with a state-of-the-art satellite communications system, comprised of the Thales VesseLINK and the Iridium Certus service.

This means that every skipper will have truly global, reliable ship-to-shore connectivity anywhere on the ocean - whether it be the Atlantic or the wilds of the Southern Ocean - for communication through data, voice, text, video and photographs, and for safety applications.

This simple-to-use technology that is based on Iridium's upgraded constellation of 66 satellites in low Earth orbit, has been installed on the fleet following a partnership agreement between the IMOCA class and Iridium and Thales that was announced in July 2019.

Jérémie Beyou, one of the favourites to win the race on board Charal, says Thales VesseLINK on Iridium Certus is a major and important asset on board all the boats in the fleet.

"The equipment we have with Thales and Iridium is top technology at the top level of reliability," said Beyou, who used the system earlier this summer when winning both the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne Race and the Défi Azimut 48-hour race. "When you have a safety issue and you have to call land, the system has to work and we know we have the equipment to do that."

"It is really important when you start the Vendée Globe, and know you will have issues with your boat, and you will be alone for nearly three months, that your communication system works," added Beyou. "You need it for safety and for data communications for weather forecast information - and we know we have that with Thales and Iridium."

Brian Aziz, Vice President of Satcom Solutions at Thales, believes VesseLINK perfectly matches the needs of IMOCA skippers racing around the world. "We have been able to deliver a technology platform to the market that meets the requirements of the racers that are part of IMOCA," he said.

"We truly believe that we have developed and designed the most sophisticated L-Band solution that is on the market today," he added. "We spent years surveying the market, getting feedback and interviewing the maritime community to find out what their requirements were and what they need and understanding better the environment they work in".

"So we have a system that works even in adverse weather conditions - whether its high temperature or low and in rough or calm seas and is easy to use. These qualities make it ideal for solo skippers concentrating on racing, but also needing to stay in contact with their families and race teams."

Bryan Hartin, Iridium Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing, says the upgraded Iridium® satellite network is the ideal choice for sailors racing in some of the toughest and most remote areas of the globe.

"Iridium really is a unique network in that we cover 100% of the planet," he said, "Our system is uniquely suited for tough conditions because we operate using an L-Band network which is weather-resilient to all the conditions that the IMOCA racers might find at sea."

"It is important for mariners to know they can rely on the high-quality communications from Thales and Iridium that provide global coverage enabling them to stay connected no matter where they sail."

Hartin also underlined the safety aspect of the Iridium network - which could be a critical factor if an IMOCA skipper gets into difficulty on his or her own during the race. "Iridium was the first satellite communications company to include an SOS button on our satellite phone, and safety is in our DNA. The Iridium Certus system was built from the ground up with safety of life services in mind. With Iridium's reliable offering, IMOCA skippers can quickly reach out for the support they need," he explained.

Like all his rivals, Beyou will be using his on-board system to download weather data, to deliver pictures, video and voice reports to the media during the race and, most important of all, to stay in touch with his friends, family and race team during the weeks that he spends alone at sea.

"The Vendée Globe is quite a long race and there are times when you need to talk to someone - to your friends and to your family," he said. "Of course it is so much better when you have good quality connectivity, when you are sure the connection will be OK and that the sound will be really nice and you can recognise the voices of the kids. That is what we get with the Iridium and Thales technology."

The 44-year-old skipper based in Lorient in Brittany has recently added a WhatsApp connection to his nav station. This works through the Iridium system and it has made a big impact on board. "My smart phone is always on and the connection is extremely reliable," he said. "It means I can be confident my friends and family can reach me. I try not to call them during the night, but it works anyway when you want it and when you need it, so it is perfect."

Related Articles

PlanetSail: The Ocean Race Europe Leg 2
40 knots on the nose! It was a belter of a leg. With a forecast for 30kts on the nose and wind against tide, the Gibraltar Strait provided a sharp focus for the leg from Cascais to Alicante. Posted today at 7:44 pm
11th Hour Racing Team battles light winds in Leg 3
Currently tied for first place with nine points 11th Hour Racing Team set off on the final leg of the inaugural Ocean Race Europe, from Alicante, Spain, to Genoa, Italy. Currently tied for first place with nine points, the result on Leg 3 will be decisive for the Team's chances for overall success. Posted today at 1:51 pm
The Ocean Race Europe - All for one - One for all
The IMOCA60 fleet is the epitome of a development class As the IMOCA60 fleet swings to the breeze that sweeps across the harbour in Alicante it is impossible to miss just how different all five boats are. The very nature of these radical looking 60 footers makes them the epitome of a development class. Posted today at 5:55 am
The Ocean Race Europe - Tied at the top
Ahead of Sunday start of all-important final leg to Genova The 12 international crews competing in the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe will leave Alicante, Spain on Sunday June 13 bound for Genova, Italy, on the final stage of the new three-leg offshore event. Posted on 12 Jun
LinkedOut in first
With one offshore race and one coastal race till to be sailed in The Ocean Race Europe When LinkedOut crossed the Stage 2 finish line into Alicante, Spain Thomas Ruyant and his crew delivered their first victory for the skipper from the north of France. Posted on 12 Jun
Vendée Globe heroes join Rolex Fastnet Race
The race is a qualifier for November's Transat Jacques Vabre Almost six months after they competed in the world's most brutal race, the singlehanded non-stop lap of the planet that is the Vendée Globe, many of the IMOCA fleet will be returning to the race course for the first time in August's Rolex Fastnet Race. Posted on 10 Jun
11th Hour Racing Team clinches 3rd place in Leg 2
A tense finish to Leg 2 of The Ocean Race Europe It was a tense finish to Leg 2 of The Ocean Race Europe with 11th Hour Racing Team clinching the final podium spot after an epic battle from Cascais, Portugal to Alicante, Spain. Posted on 9 Jun
Ruyant dominates The Ocean Race Europe Leg 2
French skipper hunted down a long-awaited first victory on his blue and white IMOCA After two of the three offshore legs in the inaugural staging of The Ocean Europe, three IMOCA teams are tied on points at the top of leaderboard, with just one more offshore leg to Genoa to come, and then what looks like being a decisive coastal race. Posted on 9 Jun
The Ocean Race Europe Leg 2 Finish
All square at the top of IMOCA and VO65 leaderboards The second leg of The Ocean Race Europe finished in Alicante, Spain on Wednesday, the culmination of three days of tight racing between the 12 international crews since they left Cascais, Portugal on Sunday afternoon. Posted on 9 Jun
IMOCA60 vs VO65 - Who Knew?
PlanetSails takes stock of the coastal Mirpuri Trophy race As the Ocean Race Europe fleet headed off on Leg 2 from Cascais to Alicante we had time to take stock and consider what we saw at the coastal race, the Mirpuri Trophy race. Posted on 9 Jun
Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTERReverso Air 2021 FOOTERC-Tech 2020 Battens 2 728x90 BOTTOM