Premiere Global Services Case Study
The Velux 5 Oceans is a round the world, single-handed yacht race. The race, held every 4 years since 1982, is one of the oldest and most challenging of all yacht races. More people have climbed Mount Everest and travelled into space than have completed a solo circumnavigation.
The three-leg race began in Bilbao, Spain on 22nd October and will stop in Australia and the USA before returning to Bilbao in approximately 6 months.
The event, organised by Clipper Ventures Plc, is one of the longest races for any individual in any sport covering a route of 30,140 miles.
When navigating across 30,000 miles of ocean, relaying information, providing live updates and conversing about unforeseen events, is essential for the skippers and presents a major challenge to the race organisers.
The communication has to be as smooth and as interference-free as possible so that the seven skippers can be in constant touch with the PR offices and global media throughout the race without disrupting their schedules.
The media also needs to be managed. Journalists from across the world want to listen into the news updates, record any communications for future news broadcasts and interact with the skippers asking questions about sailing conditions, unexpected weather changes and general interest topics such as food, eating habits, whisky and how they are coping alone.
The PR office needs to remain in control of all those that listen to the updates and mediate the question and answer sessions.
Communications is a key part of the race logistics; therefore the organisers needed a reliable and cost effective solution.
As the yachts will be crossing different seas and travelling though various time zones, the solution would have to be available on a global scale 24/7.
Strategy and Implementation
Clipper Ventures Plc sought the help of Premiere Global Services (PGS) to overcome the challenge of keeping the skippers in constant contact with the necessary parties: organisers and the media.
PGS was picked for the high standard of its conferencing and collaboration technologies that enable effective and efficient communication between companies and their target audiences.
PGS’ lead in communication technologies and solutions that help organisations streamline and simplify their critical business processes has been achieved by developing solutions that meet the specific needs of their customers.
Building a platform takes time and is expensive; PGS already has a ready made platform and bridges in place to offer global communications at a low cost.
PGS has local access numbers for every country in the world enabling the skippers and their audience to keep in contact, no matter which water expanse they are navigating through.
The solution offers the support of a dedicated event manager who ensures the calls run smoothly and is available throughout the whole race anytime day or night.
PGS is assisting with preparing for the calls, provides reporting on attendance and ensures the audio records are accessible for future usage.
The media can listen in on live updates from anywhere in the world including the UK, USA, Japan and Spain. Additionally, there are user controls, which allow the host to manage the media during the question and answer sessions.
The host can select which journalists ask the questions and what they are able to ask. Media, who listen or download the audio updates can be reported and tracked. The event is also recorded to enable anyone that has missed it to get the opportunity to replay it at a later date or to listen to it again.
PGS has also provided Velux 5 Oceans with an ftp site where the audio records can be kept. This is particularly important for TV broadcasters who will use earlier recordings. All left on the site is for the event organisers to invite the people to listen to the updates.
Clare Macnaughton, Director of Communications at Clipper Ventures Plc for the Velux 5 Oceans says “Calling a boat is the most reliable way to communicate to a skipper while they are at sea.
"Our skippers are sailing alone traversing the world’s oceans often in savage conditions and the daily audio is a vital tool to broadcast the challenges they encounter."
She adds, "By using PGS’ audio solutions, we are able to not only connect with the skippers without disrupting their race schedules, but also able to promote the race worldwide. The calls are going well and have been incredibly smooth, considering they are being carried out live at sea.
"So far we have had a high participation of media who are happy to be involved in these live updates and announcements. We are happy that PGS is able to meet our needs in providing us with a reliable and efficient application that helps us in reaching, monitoring and managing the media.”
By using PGS’s high class conferencing solutions, calls can be organised at short notice.
For example when Sir Robin Knox Johnston needed to carry out media interviews following his yacht suffering damage at the hands of a particularly ferocious storm, he was able to talk about his ordeal in one audio session to many media without impacting his requirement to get back in the race as soon as possible.
Sir Robin Knox Johnston, skipper of Saga Insurance says “After my nightmare of sailing in gusts of up to 72 knots in the Bay of Biscay, it became necessary to stop at La Coruña in Spain to carry out urgent repair work.
"The hurricane-like conditions of 40 feet high waves and spindrifts caused by breaking crests were awesome. Saga Insurance’s mast and the communication systems needed repairing before I continued to Fremantle, Western Australia.
He adds, "The repairs were expected to take a day, and I didn’t have a lot of time to speak to the different journalists from national newspapers and sailing magazines to radio and TV broadcasters.
By joining the audio conference which uses the advanced technology that PGS provides has saved me vital time in conducting interviews and stopped me from repeating the same stories over and over again!"
Johnston concludes, "I could tell the entire world at once, how I coped with drama. The main thing going through my mind was how quickly I could catch up with the others and get back into the race!”
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