Friday, 15 June 2012

Groupama romps home to a French victory

Race leaders Groupama take first place on leg eight.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
There is nothing more inspirational than a home finish win to sharpen a team’s focus.

As I write this blog I am watching the live finish of leg eight and Groupama romping home to a French victory in Lorient.

Frank Cammas and his team have simply improved with every leg after the tactical blunder of leg one (when they took a flyer that didn’t pay off), which seems so long ago.

Lost time
The live pictures coming from Lorient are fantastic. The French spectators are making up for lost time after their absence from the Volvo Ocean Race for so long. Listening to the French commentator going mad with excitement, I don’t think they will be leaving the race again for a long time.

The excitement and connection the fans have made with this race has been boosted by the amount of high-quality live footage coming off the boats - the highlight being the streaming video interviews held with the skippers and crew all via the Inmarsat FleetBroadband 500 onboard.

Streamed live
In this last leg Volvo up’d its game by inviting five journalists to ask questions to five different boats and streamed the whole interview on its website, live. It was a huge success and all went smoothly.

During this race I have written many times about all the practical capabilities that Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity provides. From telemedicine, weather data, position reporting, logistics, safety and media reporting, it has been the latter that has shone the brightest.

The Volvo Ocean Race teamed up with a new company pioneering immediate media, aptly called Livestream.

Technology developed
It has developed technology to transmit stills and video live to a web page. Many other media companies do, or try to do, the same thing, but none do it as well as Livestream. The work they do on land is transmitted using a 3G or 4G network, but at sea Inmarsat provides the connectivity.

Appetites have been whetted, and the need for high-quality live media is only getting stronger. Inmarsat will be there again, at the heart of the race. Maybe they will be at the heart of even more races and events as fans and media realise the potential.

So as the fleet come into Lorient - 1st Groupama, 2nd Camper, 3rd Puma ,4th Abu Dhabi, 5th Telefonica and finally Sanya - the last leg is looking like a make or break for the French.

I look forward to bringing you the action, hopefully live!

Mark Covell

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