New NetCaster ‘rich media’ app captures action on the high seas at this year’s FastNet Race

Action from seven of the 336 yachts competing in the Rolex FastNet, the world’s largest offshore race, was made available to fans and the media this year thanks to NetCaster from Livewire Digital, a new iPhone and iPad app used by crews to send in real-time photos, sequences of stills and video directly to the race command centre.  Developed in partnership with the European Space Agency, NetCaster, which was piloted at the race, played an active role in significantly increasing exposure of the event and its associated sponsors.

A number of other yachts were equipped with Livewire’s M-Link professional newsgathering software for the delivery of live and file-based media.

Using NetCaster, competitors were able to contribute H.264AVC encoded motion video, live sequences of still images, store and forward H.264AVC video, photographs, conversational textual ‘chat’ and geo-tagging information.

The system offers the ability to manage remote users, receive content from multiple clients and generate a produced feed that could be delivered to corporate, broadcast or internet audiences, whilst also managing operational costs.

Commenting on the race Artemis Open 60 yachtsman Will Ayliffe said, “We used NetCaster to conduct an interview with the race organiser’s media centre as we rounded the Fastnet rock.  It worked perfectly, I was transmitting imagery of the action whilst talking on the iPhone - it could not have been better. Being able to have that kind of communication over satellite was really, really, impressive.

“It was highly intuitive and I was able to master its functionality really quickly.  The fact that it’s available on an iPhone or iPad means that it’s as portable as you are.”

For the first time in its 88-year history, the 608-nautical mile race along the English coast from the Isle of Wight to Plymouth, Devon, via the Fastnet Rock off Ireland, was won by a double-handed crew.  French father and son team – Pascal and Alexis Loison – won the race on their yacht Night and Day setting a new milestone for the event.

Inmarsat were selected as satellite communications partner for the race by The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC).

Commenting on the media footage, RORC Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen said: “A faultless performance from Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband and Livewire’s ‘box of tricks’ has given us the ability to share insights into life onboard during this challenging race, as well as the varying emotions of the crews as they pass milestones such as the iconic Fastnet Rock off the southern tip of Ireland.  They are important tools to enhance the way we communicate the story of the race, minute-by-minute, as it unfolds."

Concluding, Tristan Wood, Managing Director, Livewire Digital, said, “Why Livewire?  We are innovative and had the multiple disciplines to bring it all together effectively - software, electronics, mechanical engineering, video and satellite comms expertise and support facilities. We are delighted to have been able to deliver live interactive and professional broadcast media for Fastnet, and glad to see the results used by so many parties."

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