3 November 2014: Sailing fans are experiencing life at sea with legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston as he competes in the Route du Rhum transatlantic race.
Sir Robin – the first man to sail around the globe single-handed 45 years ago – set off on the 3,500 mile (5,600 km) race from St Malo, France to the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe yesterday (November 2).
Leading up to the two-week race, Sir Robin has been testing his Cobham SATCOM SAILOR 250 FleetBroadband terminal, which provides all his voice and data communications. He is also carrying a Cobham 6150 mini-C distress satellite terminal in case of emergencies on his 60ft (18m) yacht Grey Power.
The technology, provided by Marine Camera Solutions, means he can send photos, blogs, and stored video footage daily, as well as stream live video to his media team, allowing sponsors and fans to follow every moment of the race – something that would have been unimaginable in 1969 when he set his record. Back then, the only technology at his fingertips was a barometer and a radio.
“You can’t take part in competitive sailing these days without satellite services. They’re crucial. I’m using them for everything; navigation, weather, and sending updates back every day,” Sir Robin said.
The last time he entered the Route du Rhum was in 1982 when he came 14th after being forced to stop in Madeira.
Sir Robin said: “I’ve been really looking forward to getting away on my own. In fact, I can usually get away from everything when at sea, but that’s the disadvantage with Inmarsat because people can get hold of me!
“It’s a great transatlantic race with the Trade winds behind you, I get to see friends of mine from way back, and we end up in Guadeloupe drinking French wine in the sun.”
As well as being famous for his sailing achievements, including sailing around the world four times, twice solo, Sir Robin is well known for creating the biennial Clipper Race which sees more than 3,000 non-professional sailors competing in the longest ocean race at more than 40,000 miles.
He was inspired to enter Route du Rhum, run every four years, after joining the Clipper Race crew in the Sydney-Hobart Race at the end of last year.
Route du Rhum: www.routedurhum.com