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Satnews Daily
August 21st, 2019

A Clipper Race that Takes Almost a Year to Complete Over Six Oceans ... AST Provides Satellite Communications

AST has completed safety critical communications training for Skippers in preparation for the Clipper Race starting on September first.

The Clipper Race is the only event of its kind for non-professional sailors. With an extensive training program, professional Skippers, Mates and an 11 strong fleet of Clipper 70 racing yachts, the Clipper Race enables people from all walks of life and all over the world to take on the challenge of a lifetime and become ocean racers.

As the Official Satellite Communications Supplier to the 2019-20 edition, AST has provided a bespoke voice and data services solution to meet the ever-growing operational and media demands of the global yacht race, connecting race organizers to each of the eleven teams 24/7, at every point of the route

AST Clipper Race training session.

AST traveled to The Clipper Race HQ in Gosport, UK, to provide training on the equipment ahead of the race start, ensuring that all the Skippers and crew were familiar with the products and services provided by AST, and their partner GTMaritime, a leading maritime software company whose optimized and secure email service for Operations and crew welfare solution for the 700 crew members is part of the complete solution.

Taking almost a year to complete the Clipper Race is a true endurance challenge that will see crew take on all that mother nature has to offer when crossing six oceans, sailing round three capes, visiting six continents and racing over 40,000 nautical miles. Starting from St Katharine Docks, London on 1 September 2019, the global route will visit: Portimao, Portugal; Punta del Este, Uruguay; Cape Town, South Africa; Fremantle, the Whitsundays, Australia; Sanya, Zhuhai and Qingdao, China; Seattle, USA; Panama; New York, USA; Bermuda; Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland before returning to London 11 months later.

Speaking about the importance of on-board communications, Clipper Race Chairman and Founder, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, said the reliability of the communication systems on board is key to the successful management and safety of the Clipper Race fleet as the teams traverse some of the most remote areas of the planet. The organization is delighted to be working with AST who are providing reliable and secure communications for operational needs. Additionally, as media demands grow for an event of this scale, they will enable the Clipper Race to increase media output from across the fleet, which will in turn benefit crew, fans and partners alike and will also equip crews with valuable connections to their loved ones and supporters back home.

Commenting on AST’s bespoke communications solution and training, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, Skipper of Punta del Este, added they had a great session with AST as he explained the AST communications systems on board in a clear and simple way. When you are at sea, being able to communicate with the outside world is important and with the race management team is crucial. There is simplicity and reliability from the SATCOMs and AST has done the job exactly as is required.  Having tried the system, it is easy to use and straight forward to manage.