Made possible by Inmarsat

Inmarsat was the official Satellite Communications Partner for the fifth consecutive edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, which turned out to be the most closely fought in the round the world competition’s 45-year history.

Throughout the 45,000 nm challenge, which began in October 2017, we delivered essential safety services, fleet tracking and voice and data communications to each of the race boats, accessed via the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite network.

The race went on to win the illustrious BT Sports Industry Cutting Edge Sport Award, with judges praising its “advanced use of technology to enhance the media coverage of sailing, making it a more immersive and accessible sport”.

Aerial view of yacht crossing Inmarsat race finish line

2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race winners Dongfeng Race Team crossing the finish line

Essential safety and communications

The Volvo Ocean 65 race yachts were equipped with our reliable maritime services and satellite phone:

  • FleetBroadband 500 and FleetBroadband 250 – to power high-speed, always-on voice and data communications
  • Inmarsat C – two-way data connection for emergency services and 24/7 tracking
    IsatPhone 2 – our reliable and robust satellite phone was stowed away in each boat’s emergency grab bag
    Inmarsat C beamed back the boats’ GPS locations to race HQ every 10 seconds. This, together with our FleetBroadband voice safety services and the GPS tracking and alert functions on our satellite phone, kept the crews as safe as is possible when you are taking on the most challenging environment on Earth.

Sailing yacht in heavy seas

Having Inmarsat services onboard meant that the Volvo Ocean Race crews had the best communications from boat-to-shore and shore-to-boat – to seek medical advice mid-leg, report damage so repairs could be arranged at the next stopover, or wish a desperately-missed loved one a happy birthday.

For nine months and over 11 legs, the boats’ Onboard Reporters and crew shared thrilling videos and stories with millions of fans via TV, websites and social media channels  – and competed for The Inmarsat Communications Award for the most outstanding content contributor overall, with this edition’s prize going to Team Sun Hun Kai/Scallywag.

The world’s most extreme offshore sailing event returns in 2021-22 as The Ocean Race.

Did you know? 2017-18 edition facts

  • 72 male and 23 female sailors representing 18 nationalities took part
  • 12,203 high-resolution pictures sent from the boats for media
  • 6,596 minutes of video streamed live from the boats
  • 182 live video calls from the boats
  • 66m viewers for the Inmarsat finish line live broadcast in The Hague
  • 5m people visited the race villages
  • 16 min and 1 sec between first and second place after 126 days of racing
  • Over 277m telemetry data sent back to HQ
  • 117,129 online articles about the Volvo Ocean Race
  • 168m Volvo Ocean Race social media post engagement
  • 23m+ views for the most popular social media video