Volvo Ocean Race a ‘Breath of Fresh Air’.


The first session of the World Yacht Racing Forum in Monaco last week was a rather sombre session. Many walked out thinking that given the relationship between ISAF and the IOC, the sport was at the mercy of committees and politics. But a reduction in medals, ‘old fashioned’, televisually unexciting classes, and a dependence on Olympic money is only part of the sport of yacht racing and the second session featured the charismatic, commercially driven, technology embracing, future looking boss of the Volvo Ocean Race; Knut Frostad.

Frostad’s presentation was slick. It evangelised the use of new media, and the exploration of new markets. The well chosen images of India meeting the state of the art Volvo 70 yachts were captivating. The slow motion, high definition on board footage was thrilling: sailing said Frostad, was a sport made for High Definition.  

Despite the relatively small number of boats in the Volvo fleet, due in part to the financial commitment involved. The Volvo Ocean Race is determined to make it work, not just for sponsors, but for the media and the cities the race visits. The new world is taking note too. 10,000 people greeted the last boat into Cochin, India. But new media is also key to the success of the race and last week a partnership with google earth was announced. 

With the teams carrying an embedded media crew member for the first time in the 35 year history of the race, more content is being shot, recorded and written than ever before. Using Google Earth, followers can see, hear and read what the embedded media crew members and their team mates are experiencing as it’s posted in Google Earth. It’s another way to get the content from the race out to the public using the latest technology tools while at the same time adding another layer of context to the raw content.

“This is yet another tool, another option for fans of the race,” says Andrew Ferguson, the Head of Technology and New Media for the Volvo Ocean Race. “In this case, we’re using the power of Google Earth to provide an accurate representation of each leg through the media the sailors are providing.”

To follow the Volvo Ocean Race on Google Earth, fans need to visit the Volvo Ocean Race website www.volvooceanrace.org/Multimedia/google, where they can download the Google Earth data file, (the ‘KML’ file), and find help and instructions in order to get started.

The Google Earth application joins the official websites and the mobile portal m.volvooceanrace.org as options for race fans to follow their favourite sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race.

The fleet left India today for Singapore with Puma leading the way.