AST & Osprey Supplies Winner of Rolex Fastnet Race with Iridium Certus

Photo: Rolex
Photo: Rolex

Published Aug 30, 2021 9:31 AM by The Maritime Executive

[By: AST and Osprey]

AST and Osprey worked closely together to ensure Tom Kneen’s JPK 11.80 350 Cruiser, Sunrise, was equipped with the latest Iridium Certus 200 terminal in preparation for the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race,  which took place from Sunday 8th August to Thursday 12th August 2021. 

The Rolex Fastnet Race is the world’s largest and toughest offshore yacht race. With teams covering  695 nautical miles over five days, this prestigious Atlantic Ocean race requires speed and precision to  win. Named after Fastnet Rock, which the racecourse rounds, the Rolex Fastnet race has proven to  be highly influential in offshore racing as well as having close links to advances in yacht technology,  design, sailing technique and equipment. 

Navigating the racecourse requires skills and reliable communication, with the courses path taking  the vessel in and out of GSM range, a fail-safe solution was required. Due to its compact size and  powerful capability, the Thales VesseLink with Iridium Certus broadband was the obvious choice. 

Speaking about the terminal onboard the vessel, Suzy, co-navigator (Osprey): 

“I think it’s pretty great! It was easy to install and use, compact and lightweight. The Thales  VesseLINK 200 gave us the insight we needed to win the Rolex Fastnet Race. It meant we could get  weather gribs and race tracker positions throughout the race, even whilst out of range of 4G. We  knew where everyone else was and had a pretty good idea of what weather we were about to get,  which was a huge advantage for this race, which we didn’t have for previous Royal Ocean Racing  Club (RORC) races.” 

Despite facing challenges early in the race, the crew aboard Sunrise successfully managed to use the  onboard technology to get back on track, and ultimately win the race! 
Tom Cheney, co-navigator quotes:  

“The sat comms system was definitely the key to us winning the Rolex Fastnet Race. The hardware was great, and I don’t think we’d have hit the shifts in the Irish Sea or pushed as hard to go east after  the Scillies on the way back if we hadn’t had as much visibility of the forecast that we did.” 

Congratulations from everyone at the AST Group to the Sunrise team – we were delighted to be a  part of the race.

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