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Royal Ocean Racing Club selects Inmarsat as communications partner for Rolex Fastnet Race

Inmarsat in use onboard La Réponse. Photo: Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.comThe Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), organiser of the Rolex Fastnet Race, has selected Inmarsat, the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, as its satellite communications partner for the 2013 race, which starts on Sunday 11th August.

Inmarsat's FleetBroadband service will be provided via RORC to eight boats in the Rolex Fastnet Race. The iconic 88 year old event is considered one of the world's classic offshore races, which tests both the inshore and offshore skills of competitors.

By using Inmarsat's global mobile satellite fleet, the eight yachts will be able to provide the RORC with an on-going flow of video, audio and social media content. This will make the challenging event accessible to journalists and sailing enthusiasts across the world. A ninth yacht will be using IsatPhone Pro, Inmarsat's rugged, global handheld satellite phone, for communication and media purposes.

Four of the yachts, amongst a record fleet of over 350 entries, will be fitted with FleetBroadband 150 terminals bundled with complimentary airtime. Four others, which already have either a FleetBroadband 500 or 250 installed for broadband communications and safety services, will be allocated complimentary airtime. These yachts will be able to provide footage to the RORC, allowing the media, sponsors and public to see what life is like aboard the yachts in this gruelling race. This will be possible using technology developed by Inmarsat and Livewire Digital for the Volvo Ocean Race that has been redesigned for the requirements of the Fastnet Race.

Yachts being supported as part of the partnership with the RORC include Artemis, a short-handed Imoca 60 (Open 60 Class) yacht and La Réponse, a First 40 boat (IRC class) skippered by RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine. Artemis, skippered by Brian Thompson, will be crewed by two members of the tri-service initiative 'Toe In The Water' (TITW), which aims to inspire the men and women who have sustained often traumatic injuries to move beyond their disability and become re-inspired by life. The team on Artemis will race on equal terms with their able bodied contemporaries.

Other yachts involved in this initiative include: ICAP Leopard, the Farr designed, 100ft Super-Maxi; Bella Mente, a JV72 Mini-Max; Pace, a TP52; Magnum III, a Ker 40; Momentum Ocean Racing, a Class 40; Oman Air-Musandam, a MOD 70 and Rockfish, a Figaro.

Besides providing 'up-to-the-minute' stories from on-board the boats - in the form of video diaries, blogs and social media posts - FleetBroadband will let crews keep in contact with family and friends via email and satellite phone, as well as download the latest weather data and view RORC's online tracker for the race. This is in addition to the enhanced safety services, which are used on all Volvo Ocean Race yachts and by merchant vessels in every ocean in the world.

"The RORC is delighted with the support of Inmarsat and this new development. We acknowledge that the technology behind the Inmarsat service is second to none. We are also delighted that Inmarsat has brought on board Livewire Digital who will provide the technology for the yachts to send audio and images direct from the fleet and give us a live connection with the boats during the race, something we have never had before. Inmarsat's support will help bring live coverage of the race to a really interested audience. We will also get live video coverage of boats rounding the Fastnet Rock, something that everyone following the race will love to see, " comments, RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen.

Commenting on Inmarsat's support for the 608 mile race around the Fastnet Rock, Frank Coles, President of Inmarsat Maritime said: "We are pleased to announce this new partnership with RORC, supporting the Rolex Fastnet Race with the most advanced global maritime satellite connectivity services available. This race is a show-case for our award-winning FleetBroadband service and demonstrates why Inmarsat is the market leader in maritime communications. Providing an unprecedented level of access to the boats participating in the Fastnet, FleetBroadband offers extra communications resilience in what is one of the most challenging racing environments in the world."

Fastnet Radio, set up to engage race fans with regular updates on the official website will also be broadcasting online and on air at 87.7fm in Cowes and 87.9fm in Plymouth with live commentary and video from the start of the race in Cowes on Sunday 11th August and utilising all the media rich content from the Inmarsat equipped boats, right the way through to the finish.

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