FleetBroadband excels in 65 degree south Antarctic conditions

23 January 2014: An extreme sailing expedition from Cape Horn to the Antarctic Peninsula is putting Inmarsat FleetBroadband and the IsatPhone Pro satellite phone to the test in one of the harshest and most remote locations in the world.

Panos Tsikopoulos

The crew of ten experienced sailors on the month-long voyage includes Panos Tsikopoulos from Navarino, a leading satcom provider to the maritime industry and an Inmarsat Partner.

He set sail on a specialised stainless steel sailing boat ‘Vailhere’ on 12 January from the port of Ushuaia in Argentina. Inmarsat Maritime has sponsored the voyage with an ‘all you can eat’ (AYCE) package of airtime and data, with equipment provided by Cobham.

Equipment testing

“Our objectives have been to learn to navigate in icy conditions, hike at the Antarctic, observe the landscape and wildlife, visit old military and scientific bases, and for me personally, to test equipment such as FleetBroadband,” said Panos.

“I am currently in the Antarctic at 65 degrees south enjoying Inmarsat’s high-quality connectivity – our FleetBroadband is working very well for voice and data, even though we are at such southern latitudes.

“Furthermore, my IsatPhone works very well too. Voice quality is perfect. This is particularly useful and gives us additional safety when we are exploring on land,” he added.

Inhospitable environment

He also found that the IsatPhone Pro satellite phone worked much better compared to a competitor product, which had an inferior service with intermittent coverage and loss of connection after five minutes.

The expedition course is mapped through Cape Horn, Drake Passage and the Southern Ocean, tackling some of the most adverse and rough sea conditions.

The extreme southerly route takes FleetBroadband not only to one of the world’s most inhospitable environments but also tests it right up to the edge of its coverage map.

Staying connected

The crew have all been using FleetBroadband to call family and friends, browse the internet and to send and receive emails, including large picture files.

The AYCE package has proved to be particularly useful as the team are big fans of the cross-platform mobile instant messaging app ‘Whatsapp’ – high demand has led to up to four to six simultaneous users at any one time.

Panos and his team aim to finish their once-in-a-lifetime sailing adventure on 12 February.