Thursday, 24 November 2011

Inmarsat helps solve Puma's logistical nightmare

Floating city: Puma re-fuels alongside Zim Monaco
Photo - Amory Ross
Puma Ocean Racing experienced a harrowing few hours hovering next to what Ken Read described as a floating city.

After some smooth communication with captain Bondar of the super-freighter Zim Monaco, skipper Ken positioned the tiny 70-foot carbon race boat just metres away from the huge ship, with it drifting towards them at 3 knots.

Lines were hurled on to the yacht and the precious diesel fuel was lowered down.

Safety status
Satellite communications played an essential part in the rendezvous. In fact, the team on board the race boat must feel they are permanently using Inmarsat systems. 

Only days earlier they'd had to report the loss of the rig and their safety status in the race. The video and photographic coverage of the incident was then sent by the media crew member Amory Ross using the boat's FleetBroadband 500.

Then a huge logistical nightmare was carefully dealt with - starting with the mid-ocean hook-up with the tanker to transfer the fuel.

Replacement mast
Puma's support team is now airfreighting the replacement mast down to Cape Town.

And in the meantime the shore crew are leaving on a ship to meet with up the yacht on the island of Tristan. They will then work on the boat while it sits on the deck of the rescue vessel.

With 400 nautical miles to go, the yacht is now motoring slowly to the tiny island.

It’s not surprising that Amory, in his Thanksgiving blog, lists Inmarsat as one to thank.

Mark Covell

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