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Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Competitors To Test The Power Of Inmarsat FleetBroadband In The Rolex Fastnet Race

LONDON, August 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

Three competitors in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 are using this year's Rolex Fastnet Race as an opportunity for their media crew members (MCMs) to practice broadcasting high-definition television (HDTV) and rich multimedia content to the world's media via the Inmarsat satellite network.

Inmarsat is providing communications throughout the round-the-world challenge with its FleetBroadband service, the leading voice and broadband data service used by vessels from pleasure cruisers to super tankers.  Competitors in the upcoming race will be the first to have access to the new 'red button' safety service on FleetBroadband.  In addition, the race is endorsing IsatPhone Pro, Inmarsat's new global satellite phone, by including it in the boats' safety kits.

Groupama 4, skippered by French sailing legend Franck Cammas, UAE entry Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing with a core of Volvo Ocean Race veterans led by Ian Walker, and Chinese entry Team Sanya skippered by 2008-09 winner Mike Sanderson, will all be treating the Rolex Fastnet Race as if it were a short leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, making it the perfect scenario to not only show off the boats but their equipment too.

Yann Riou, MCM onboard Groupama 4, said, "The DNA of today's Volvo Ocean Race is increasingly based around moving images.  The role of the Media Crew Member is to be able to transmit images as well as commentary from the boats and build a strong story around the race. The opportunity to put the equipment to the test, as well as my preparation as a broadcaster and photographer, in the Rolex Fastnet is invaluable."

In recognition of the role broadcast media plays in bringing the excitement of the race to billions of spectators and delivering millions of dollars in valuable media coverage for race sponsors, Inmarsat will again present its Media Crew Member (MCM) Award of 1,000 Euros (US$1,358) on each leg of the race, plus a 10,000 Euro (US$13,585) prize for the best overall contribution to race coverage.

Judged to have made the best overall contribution to race coverage over the ten legs of the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean race, the Inmarsat MCM Award trophy and 10,000 Euro prize were presented to Rick Deppe of PUMA OCEAN RACING TEAM.  Commenting on the 2011-12 Media Crew Member Award, Deppe said: "The MCMs know the bar is very high for their work on this race so we can expect some highly-inventive video filming and story-telling.  As the race continues their confidence with a camera will be able to consistently capture images that embody the personality of the race and captivate audiences worldwide."

Commenting on Inmarsat's status as Race Partner, Chris McLaughlin, Vice President of External Affairs, said: "In so many ways Inmarsat's FleetBroadband has revolutionised the sport of offshore sailing. It has given a flawless performance in tough conditions delivering reliable and high-quality material off the boats and to the world's media."

Each Volvo Open 70 race boat will be fitted with a Thrane & Thrane Sailor FleetBroadband 500 terminal, providing voice and high-speed data communications. Also onboard will be a compact Sailor FleetBroadband 150 for crew voice calling and IP data, plus two Sailor Mini-C systems for constant positioning data and global safety communications.  These services are all provided by the three Inmarsat-4 satellites, the world's most advanced mobile satellite network with expected life into the 2020s.    

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