Under the partnership agreement signed with the IMOCA class, Thales VesseLINK™ on Iridium Certus will be installed on all IMOCA vessels to enable connectivity for skippers anytime, anywhere. Having these solutions onboard will significantly enhance the communications capabilities of the IMOCA boats around the world.

Iridium Certus provided by the Thales VesseLINK, a new maritime communication service

The Iridium company has for many years been a leading player in satellite communications with various applications used in the maritime sector and in particular in ocean racing. They have developed a new, highly efficient platform, Iridium Certus, which was made possible thanks to a new constellation of 66 satellites in low Earth orbit. The Iridium satellite constellation offers truly global coverage from one pole to the other. Designed to satisfy the needs of critical connectivity whatever the terrain and whatever the weather conditions, Iridium Certus is vital for sailors who set off alone around the world.

Thales, a global leader in digital, high technologies, has developed a new satellite communications solution, offering enhancements in terms of speeds, weight and always-on connectivity.  . Thales VesseLINK allows users to communicate wherever they are in the world through the Iridium Certus network, which offers the highest quality and unprecedented reliability in terms of the connection.  That is why the IMOCA class wished to develop a partnership with Thales and Iridium. 

 “We are very enthusiastic about this partnership and can’t wait to take part in the forthcoming races. The skippers encounter the most difficult weather conditions and we are proud to help them fulfil their big ambitions with Thales VesseLINK,” declared Mike Sheehan, CEO of Thales Defense and Security, Inc.  

Triple advantage for the IMOCA class

“Thales VesseLINK on Iridium Certus offer the highest standards of performance ever seen,”explained Antoine Mermod, President of the IMOCA Class. The bit rate is that much higher, while the antennae consume less power, are lighter and suited to the complicated working conditions aboard our boats. These products match our needs. Joining up with these global leaders in the high-tech sector is a key step in the development of our class and more generally of our sport.”  

© Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE / IMOCA

This partnership between the IMOCA Class, Iridium and Thales offers three huge advantages. The first concerns safety, sailors can now rely on a truly global always-on solution that can keep them safe and connected during the entire race. It is because of this connectivity that they will be able to receive  updated accurate weather information at all times. Finally, the Iridium and Thales will enable them to connect with their families and the world ashore while sharing their experience through audio, photos and videos.

“IMOCA Class crews need reliable, truly global satellite communications that is delivered through light-weight and small antennas and terminals,”said Wouter Deknopper, vice president and general manager of maritime, Iridium. “Iridium Certus and the VesseLINK by Thales are helping ensure maximum performance of the boats, while delivering a full suite of connectivity solutions including internet, high quality voice calling, messaging and more.”

All of the IMOCA boats to be equipped by the Vendée Globe

Before approving this partnership, testing was successfully carried out on five IMOCAs: Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson), Arkea-Paprec (Sébastien Simon), Initiatives-Cœur (Sam Davies), Malizia II-Yacht Club de Monaco (Boris Herrmann) and Groupe Apicil (Damien Seguin). All of the boats taking part in the races in the Globe Series will be fitted out with Thales VesseLINK and Iridium Certus products through the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe. The partnership therefore concerns five races: the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre, the 2020 Transat and New York-Vendée and the 2020-21Vendée Globe.

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About Thales VesseLINK

Thales VesseLINK provides 100% global satellite coverage for maritime communications. It runs on the Iridium Certus broadband service, providing uninterrupted connectivity from pole to pole. It is the solution to depend on for essential communications.

VesseLINK provides

  • Small, lightweight equipment that is easy to install
  • Fastest Iridium Certus Upload Speeds: Data up to 700kbps upload/352kbps download
  • Streaming up to 256kbps
  • Embedded 802.11b/g Wi-Fi access point
  • 3 standard & high quality VOIP voice lines
  • Up to 5 connected devices
  • Administrative control for optimisation and fleet management


More infos on thalesgroup.com/en