Volvo Ocean Race 2008/9 to use state-of-the-art tracking system to monitor yachts' progress 26/9/07

Volvo Ocean Race 2008-9 will be using a state-of-the-art race management tracking system to monitor the progress of the fleet on its 39,000 nautical mile voyage around the globe.

The system, known as Saffire, has been developed by BlueFinger, the maritime division of Cybit, and will be used to track the position, direction and speed of each yacht. Saffire uses the international maritime satellite (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 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,” explained 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. Plus, being able to relay the race when it’s in more inaccessible areas like the Southern Ocean, is a big bonus for followers of the event.”