GROUPAMA crossed the final leg finish line to the roars of a late-night crowd to settle the closest ever contest and be crowned Volvo Ocean Race champions 2011-12.
While Camper were celebrating victory in the ninth and final leg, Groupama skipper Franck Cammas led his team home in second place to take an unassailable 24-point lead with just one in-port race to go.
Puma Ocean Racing Powered by BERG came third in the overall race, followed by Team Telefónica, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Sanya.
Dream come true
“It's a very happy moment for us and for all the team,' Cammas told tens of thousands of fans who came out to welcome the boats.
“I didn't think we could win. This is my dream.”
Groupama are the first team to represent France in the Volvo Ocean Race since Eric Tabarly's La Poste in 1993-94 and they are only the second French winners after Lionel Péan on L'Espirit d'Equipe in 1985-6.
Inmarsat's satellites provided the voice and broadband links for the yachts that enabled the media crew members (MCMs) to beam HD video, photographs and news back to the waiting world.
They also kept the yachts connected to race HQ. High-quality video footage beamed live and direct to fans via FleetBroadband revolutionised coverage of the Volvo Ocean Race.
A ground-breaking new web-based live streaming service was also delivered through Inmarsat's FleetBroadband 500 service – allowing fans to share in the race drama as it happened.
Volvo Ocean Race saw huge demand for the live feeds on its website – offering real-time, multimedia coverage.
The 2011-12 race was the first global event to use the new Livestream service.
Fans have been able to watch pro-am practice races, in-port races and leg starts thanks to the Livestream link-up.
And, outside of port, live video of the race drama has been beamed from the yachts via FleetBroadband, using Livewire's M-Link Live-X software.
“The live coverage we delivered to fans was game-changing – and is the result of race followers' desire to be as close to the action as possible,” said Jon Bramley, director of communications at Volvo Ocean Race.
“Having FleetBroadband on the boats has helped revolutionise the way that we can bring the biggest and most challenging around-the-world yacht race to a global audience. “The Inmarsat service has been fantastic and has enabled us to show live video direct from the boats – even in the most extreme conditions of the Southern Ocean.”
At the heart of the race: volvo.inmarsat.com