Thales becomes the decisive technology partner for IMOCA Class vessel connectivity

Together with Iridium®, skippers will be connected anytime, anywhere


•    More than 30 skippers worldwide will rely on Thales as they pilot their vessels in extreme, open-sea environments to compete in the IMOCA Globe Series World Championship
•    Thales will equip its VesseLINKTM solution on all IMOCA Class vessels as the official communications partner for the racing circuit
•    Skippers will be able to communicate and navigate during each race with VesseLINK to improve their safety at-sea

(IMOCA Partnership Video - LINK)

Today, Thales announces it has become the official communications partner for IMOCA through 2021 to support the big ambitions of skippers competing in the IMOCA Globe Series World Championship. Now more than 30 world class skippers from around the globe will rely on Thales for decisive connectivity technologies as they pilot their vessels in extreme, open-sea environments.

Mastering the complexity of providing global, offshore connectivity to skippers anytime, anywhere, Thales will be installing its VesseLINK™ solution on all IMOCA Class vessels. This rugged, small, and light-weight solution will support competitors as they push the human spirit to the-edge in a series of races recognized as the world’s foremost circuit for shorthanded offshore and around-the-world racing – including the 2020 Vendée Globe.

“Skippers in this circuit face some of the most extreme weather conditions on the planet and our VesseLINK solution will be right there with them to make their journeys better, and keep them safer,” said Mike Sheehan, CEO of Thales Defense and Security, Inc. “We are excited for the upcoming races and are proud to be able to support the IMOCA Class.”

The Thales VesseLINK solution will allow skippers to access the highly reliable Iridium Certus® service which is the only truly global satellite communications network. With the full worldwide coverage offered by Iridium®, skippers will be able to stay connected and soon access the fastest upload and download speeds available in this segment of satellite communications.
No matter where they sail, skippers with the VesseLINK solution will have these faster connectivity speeds at their fingertips for more enhanced communication allowing them to think smarter and act faster during races for safety and piece-of-mind while at-sea.

 “We are very proud to announce Thales and Iridium as the ‘Official Communications Partners’ of the IMOCA Class. The Iridium Certus satellite broadband service combined with the Thales VesseLINK solution modernizes the communications capability of IMOCA yacht skippers sailing around the world. The skippers of the IMOCA Class are preparing for several races over the next two years. The preparation also includes one of the greatest challenges in sport: The Vendée Globe, which is a singlehanded, nonstop, around the world yacht race. We see a synergy in our mutual core values, technology, performance and human endurance. The partnership is the start of a valuable relationship between Thales, Iridium and the IMOCA Class,” said Antoine Mermod, President of IMOCA.

Thales and Iridium will support five major races in the circuit as the official communications partners, including:
•    Rolex Fastnet Race: starting from Cowes on August 3, 2019
•    Transat Jacques-Vabre: starting from Le Havre on October 27, 2019
•    The Transat: starting from Brest in May 2020  
•    New York-Vendée: starting from New York on June 13, 2020
•    Vendée Globe: starting from Les Sables d’Olonne on November 8, 2020
This partnership continues to solidfy the Thales presence in the satellite mobility industry by delivering the extrordinarily high-technology solutions that customers rely on to deliver the possibilities of tomorrow, today.

Notes to editors
Thales Alenia Space, a joint-venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), serving as prime contractor and leading an industrial consortium, designed and manufactured the second-generation Iridium satellites that are now fully deployed in low-earth orbit successfully supporting the Iridium Certus service, which is available anytime, anywhere.
The new Iridium constellation of satellites, developed and built by Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), leading an industrial consortium, is now fully operational. Following eight successful launches between January 2017 and January 2019, a total of 75 new Iridium satellites are now fully deployed in low Earth orbit (LEO). Thales Alenia Space was prime contractor for the Iridium NEXT program, responsible for engineering, production, procurement and integration operations, along with the ground and in-orbit testing of the constellation’s overall performance.
About Thales
The people we all rely on to make the world go round – they rely on Thales. Our customers come to us with big ambitions: to make life better, to keep us safer. Combining a unique diversity of expertise, talents and cultures, our architects design and deliver extraordinary high technology solutions. Solutions that make tomorrow possible, today.  From the bottom of the oceans to the depth of space and cyberspace, we help our customers think smarter and act faster - mastering ever greater complexity and every decisive moment along the way. With 80,000 employees in 68 countries, Thales reported sales of €19 billion in 2018.