Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) is providing vital satellite broadband communications connectivity for sailors competing in the prestigious international Sailboat Races of the IMOCA Championship.
The Europa Warm'Up Race kicked off May 19 and runs through June 9, 2012. Twenty sailboats will be equipped with Iridium Pilot(TM) terminals, the new Iridium maritime broadband platform, as part of the telecommunications package provided by Geolink, a long-time Iridium partner and innovative race communications supplier. Relying on the world's only truly global satellite network, skippers and crews can access real-time weather reports, sailing conditions, benefit from an emergency communications safety link, and stay connected to family and friends via phone, email, Facebook and Twitter throughout the race.
The Europa Warm'Up is a 3,200-nautical mile (more than 5,000 km) race for IMOCA 60-foot monohull yachts. It serves as an opportunity for seven competitors to sail in race conditions similar to those they will face in the round-the-world Vendee Globe Race in November 2012. This two-stage race began in Barcelona and tasks sailors to navigate a grueling Mediterranean course, where they will cross the finish in La Rochelle on June 5 or 6, 2012.
The skipper of each boat will then go on to participate in the Vendee Globe Race, which will begin in France on November 10, 2012. The Vendee Globe is a non-stop round-the-world yacht race, known to be one of the most difficult competitions in ocean racing. Participants must sail single-handed around the Antarctic and will likely face extreme conditions during their journey. Iridium will be the primary communications provider for all vessels taking part in the race.
As the first leg of the Europa Warm'Up was completed, Vincent Riou, the skipper of boat PRB, expressed his satisfaction with Iridium Pilot. He confirmed, "It is loads better than the previous installation and it works perfectly well. This is a very good partnership!"
"Iridium Pilot, supported by the Iridium OpenPort(R) service, is the ideal satellite communications solution for maritime, providing reliable communications connections everywhere sailors go," said Greg Ewert, executive vice president, global channel distribution, Iridium.
"Combine that with a compact sized terminal, low-cost airtime, high quality voice and data communications, and there is really no comparison to other satellite network services that only work in certain regions, using large terminals and expensive air time costs. Our critical communications services are ideal for mariners in any market sector, merchant, fishing, racing, or leisure, where weather conditions can change rapidly and connectivity needs to remain consistently robust. We are proud to be the service provider of choice for the IMOCA races and to keep sailors connected wherever they may sail."
Iridium Pilot is the Company's second-generation broadband platform that utilizes the Iridium OpenPort service -- the world's first fully global satellite broadband communications service. Iridium Pilot is engineered for enhanced durability to withstand harsh maritime conditions, packaged in a small, lightweight antenna. It has a fixed, electronically-steerable, phased-array antenna, designed to maintain connectivity even in rough seas. Iridium Pilot offers broadband connectivity in addition to three independent phone lines, all of which work simultaneously.