The Volvo Ocean 65, designed by Farr Yacht in the US and built by a Consortium of Boatyards, has been engineered to integrate the most sophisticated communications equipment on the market. Organisers can track and analyse the fleet's position and sailing conditions throughout the offshore legs from Race Control in the Alicante HQ, as well as communicate instantly with the crew through both video and audio channels.
Thanks to the latest video, satellite and multimedia content production technology, employed by each team's Onboard Reporter, the public will be able to follow the sailors through every wave and gust of 45,000 nm of relentless ocean racing.
Cobham SATCOM supply the satellite communications hardware on board, while Inmarsat’s fleet of satellites, in orbit some 36,000km out in space, deliver the communications technology and bandwidth. Together, they enable an ‘always-on’ connection for teams allowing applications such as internet access, emails, calls, weather reporting and telemedicine.
The presence of five fixed HD cameras and two onboard microphones on board means that every moment is captured. A crash cam on the stern records the action on deck 24/7, keeping four minutes either side of an incident to ensure that nothing is missed.
Additionally, the Onboard Reporter has access to slow-mo, night vision, POV and wide lens cameras, while drone and 360-degree cameras will be in regular use. The onboard media station features a video editing suite, a camera and a mic controller. Each piece of hardware can be operated remotely from Race HQ if necessary.
The other essential application of communications equipment is safety, and safety is at the heart of every design and build decision in the Volvo Ocean 65 yachts. Each boat is extensively equipped to cover every possible emergency with the satellite communications, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons or EPIRBs, Personal Location Beacons or PLBs, Search and Rescue Transponders (SARTs), and hand held VHF radios along with aviation frequency emergency radios.
There is also a long list of other safety equipment that includes life rafts, Jon Buoys for man overboard recovery, extensive medical equipment, flares, a man overboard alerting and positioning system and of course, lifejackets and harnesses.
Additionally, B&G delivers complete navigation and instrument systems, technology integration solutions and on-site support to the race organisation and competing teams.
As well as providing propulsion for the boat to motor in and out of the Host City marinas, the Volvo Penta D2-75 engine produces the electricity for the communications equipment, computers, lights and heating throughout the entire race and in emergency situations.