16 July 2014: The Clipper Race fleet arrived back in London after an epic nine-month, 40,000 mile (64,360 km) journey around the world with Inmarsat FleetBroadband keeping the sailors safe and connected all the way.
Greeted by thousands of people lining the Thames, the 12 yachts sailed into St Katherine’s Dock with Tower Bridge lifting for the top three teams. Henri Lloyd team was named as the overall winner.
The race saw 670 crew members from 42 different countries battling hurricanes and a tornado, dealing with medical evacuations and the dramatic rescue of a sailor who went overboard in the Pacific Ocean for 90 minutes.
While changing the sail, Andrew Taylor was swept into the sea by a giant wave and FleetBroadband was used to coordinate his recovery with other yachts in the race and the coastguard.
Afterwards, video footage of Andrew’s rescue was transmitted via Inmarsat to the UK Clipper headquarters.
FleetBroadband was also used to speak to doctors in two medical emergencies – a dislocated shoulder and a case of pneumonia which saw Mick Wood, a crew member on Jamaica Get All Right, being taken off the boat for hospital treatment.
Inmarsat’s services for the 16-stage race were supplied by Marine Camera Solutions. Livewire Connections provided specially tailored hardware and airtime solutions for the race, including a Cobham SATCOM SAILOR 250 FleetBroadband terminal supplying voice and data communications for all the crews.
FleetBroadband was also used for operational and crew email, as well as keeping abreast of weather conditions. Competitors also used it to send stored video footage and stream live video to the media team, allowing sponsors and fans to follow the race.
In order to track the boats, the race organisers used SAILOR 6150 Mini-C antennas and Transas FleetViewOnline software, which allowed them to manually poll the fleet’s position.
The race is the only one of its kind for amateur sailors, who are led by a professional skipper. It was created in 1996 by British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to give people the opportunity to experience ocean racing.
“The crews have crossed all the world’s oceans, suffered the frustrations of the calms, the apprehension of the largest waves to be seen anywhere on the planet, experienced the vagaries of the weather systems, seen ports and scenery that they never expected, met people from vary different cultures, and, perhaps most of all, shared all these adventures with a group of people who were strangers just over a year ago but who will now remain friends for life,” said Sir Robin.
“They have widened their horizons and have memories to cherish that can only be won through real hands-on participation.”
Clipper Round the World: www.clipperroundtheworld.com