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Inmarsat announced as The Ocean Race's official satellite communications partner for sixth time

by The Ocean Race 5 May 12:17 PDT
The Ocean Race 2017-18 © Yann Riou / Volvo AB

Exclusive agreement will deliver advanced digital content capabilities, safety services and onboard connectivity for The Ocean Race Europe 2021 and The Ocean Race 2022-23

With a promise to create one of the most connected sporting events in history, Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, will power The Ocean Race with its cutting-edge technology as Official Satellite Communications Partner for the sixth consecutive time.

Inmarsat has been selected to deliver its global satellite communication and safety services for The Ocean Race Europe 2021 and The Ocean Race 2022-23 in a new exclusive agreement, which continues the successful partnership, which began with the 2001 Volvo Ocean Race.

For the 14th edition of sailing's greatest round-the-world challenge, Inmarsat's reliable connectivity, accessed via the world's most reliable global mobile satellite L-Band network, is set to enable ground-breaking advancements in onboard communications as the Race management and competing teams utilise the technology to produce engaging and immersive content at a level never seen before.

Inmarsat's L-Band network will provide the crucial connectivity, safety and tracking services for the IMOCA 60s and one-design VO65s race yachts, even in the most remote ocean regions and most adverse weather conditions. Inmarsat's solutions will drive the Race's digital content delivery including live drone footage, with the aim to beam more information, images and video ashore than ever before and bring all the excitement of the event to fans and media back home.

Using Inmarsat airtime services and IsatPhone 2 satellite phones, the teams will be equipped with FleetBroadband 500 and FleetBroadband 250 to provide an 'always-on' connection through the Inmarsat FleetBroadband service, allowing applications such as internet access, emails, calls, weather reporting and telemedicine. It also features streaming IP available on demand, for live applications such as high-quality video streaming. Inmarsat C will also enable a two-way data connection for emergency services and 24/7 tracking. Inmarsat will also demonstrate its Fleet Xpress high-bandwidth services for yachting during the race.

Inmarsat services will also support the real-time transfer of scientific data as teams measure ocean conditions as they race across the world, including through some of the most remote parts of the planet.

Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime, said: "Inmarsat is delighted to once again partner with The Ocean Race to showcase our leading technology and support the teams facing one of the greatest endurance challenges in world sport with onboard connectivity. I am confident that the advanced communication capabilities including live streaming we deliver for this awe-inspiring challenge will create new firsts for the upcoming edition, such as the ground-breaking live drone footage we witnessed of the racing in the Southern Ocean from 2017-18. Plus, there will be more social media posts and content than ever before sent from the sailors and Onboard Reporters to portray the real drama and bravery of the personalities to the rest of the world.

"Advancing performance and safety levels for the teams, they will be able to tap into the full benefits of digitalisation and connectivity, through access to applications and value-added services. We are excited to watch Inmarsat services open up more opportunities for the teams to utilise the modern performance application of onboard communication tools and functionality, developing new solutions to interpret data in real-time to gain a racing advantage, analyse damage and monitor equipment."

Since 1973, The Ocean Race has been described as the longest and toughest professional sporting event in the world. The next edition of The Ocean Race, scheduled to start from Alicante, Spain in October 2022, will visit 10 international cities, including the start port and the Grand Finale finish in Genoa, Italy in the summer of 2023. Two classes will compete, with the addition of the high-tech, foiling IMOCA 60 class adding a design and technical element. The one-design VO65 fleet will race on its third lap of the planet in 2022, with an emphasis on competition, youth and crew diversity.

Richard Brisius, the Race Chairman of The Ocean Race, said: "It is rare in sport to have a partnership that extends past 20 years, but with Inmarsat, we have a perfect fit in terms of technology and values. This new agreement will allow us to further push the boundaries with our race communications. Over the past 20 years, we have advanced from sending short text messages and small image files to streaming live video from Southern Ocean. As we look ahead, I am confident that by working with Inmarsat, we can continue to make breakthroughs that will allow fans to feel closer to the race than ever before."

Held for the first time, The Ocean Race Europe will start on May 29, 2021 in Lorient, France, and finish three weeks later in Genova, Italy. Crews from all over the world will race in foiling IMOCA 60s and one-design VO65s from the North Atlantic coast of Europe into the Mediterranean Sea, with stops in Cascais, Portugal and Alicante, the home port of The Ocean Race.

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