Iridium provides race communications

BETHESDA, Md. - Iridium Satellite is providing global satellite communications links for the 20 sailors competing in the Vendée Globe single-handed round-the-world sailboat race.

Each of the Open 60 sailboats is equipped with either a Sky Connect unit or with an Iridium 9505 terminal as part of the telecommunications package by Geolink, the major communications supplier for the Vendée Globe event. The Sky Connect and Iridium terminals will provide reliable two-way ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship telephone and data communications.

This is the fifth Vendée Globe race, which got underway from Les Sables d'Olonne, France in early November. The racers will sail southward through the North and South Atlantic Oceans to the Cape of Good Hope, then across the Indian Ocean and South Pacific to Cape Horn, and back across the Atlantic Ocean to Les Sables d'Olonne. It is anticipated the trip will take less than 90 days for the winner.

“During much of the race, the sailors will be in extreme southern latitudes, where coverage from geostationary communication satellites can be unreliable,” said Don Thoma, executive vice president of Iridium Satellite. “Iridium's constellation of 66 low-earth orbiting satellites ensures that they will have seamless, uninterrupted communications throughout the voyage.”

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