Following the flock
The system, known as Saffire, has been developed by BlueFinger, the maritime division of Cybit, the UK’s leading online telematics service provider. It will be used to track the position, direction and speed of each yacht.
The Saffire system uses the Inmarsat network to give accurate position reports which will be refreshed every 15 minutes to monitor the safety of each yacht and allow accurate race scoring and leadership tables to be maintained.
Saffire will also feed data to the race’s 3D viewing platform enabling visitors to the race website to follow the fleet’s progress online.
“The primary reason for the race management system is to ensure the safety of every competitor - if one of the boats stops unexpectedly, we need to know about it immediately,” says Andy Hindley, race director of the Volvo Ocean Race.
“The weather conditions that the fleet has to face can make this a hazardous race, so we need to have visibility of every yacht, and all the conditions they encounter, so we can identify quickly if there are any problems.
“Being able to relay the race, even when it’s in more inaccessible areas like the Southern Ocean, is a big bonus for followers of the event. BlueFinger understands these needs and the solution we have satisfies all the demands that we have from a race management system.”
The Saffire solution has traditionally been used in the areas of fisheries management, economic exclusion zone monitoring and offshore oil and gas exploration.
“The solution we have is essential to the operation of many companies and organisations that monitor, manage and protect vital fishing resources and maritime environments,” Cybit’s CEO, Richard Horsman, said. “We are delighted to be able to use the same solution to provide accurate information on the unpredictable progress of these widely scattered, high speed and competitive racing boats.”