Vendée Globe, ultra-connected sailors



In addition to being confronted with storms, swells, icebergs, or mechanical damage, sailors have to deal with extreme loneliness imposed by the Vendée Globe. They do, however, benefit from invisible help from space with Iridium’s Certus satellite network and a communication device developed by Thales company.

66 satellites orbiting the Earth

This system, which offers sailors constant connectivity on all the seas of the globe, also allows them to maintain an essential link with their loved ones, explains Antoine Mermod, president of the group of very high-tech sailboats in the Imoca class, involved in this competition. nicknamed “the Everest of the seas”.

When you find yourself 5000 nautical miles from the coast, it is no longer possible to use a GSM mobile network. The only solution to communicate with the earth is to go through satellites. The most recent device is the Iridium system with antennas from Thales which uses a mesh of 66 satellites revolving around the Earth in low orbits he says.

On the boat an antenna is installed to send and receive messages the signal passes from satellite to satellite to a ground station located in Arizona and then injected into the Internet network to route the information to the final recipient “, he details. Then he adds:This device is a precious help for Vendée Globe skippers alone at sea who are faced with extreme conditions to spend between two storms intimate moments with their friends and families or to share their sporting performances with their fans.“.

A journey of 40,000 kilometers

Leaving from Les Sables-d’Olonne on November 8, the arrival of the 9th edition of the Vendée Globe is forecast around January 21, 2021. After a journey of around 40,000 kilometers, the 6 women and 27 men who have braved the fury of the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, should return safely to Vendée.

Their adventures can be followed in real time in images, video and audio on social networks or the official Vendée Globe website.

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