The ability to track boats in real time has been one of the key enablers of making the sport of sailing more accessible to a wider audience. The technology also has increasing importance for training, race management and safty. For inshore racing, the ability to send your GPS position via your mobile phone to the internet is challenging companies who have developed more proprietary solutions, but for offshore racing, the barriers to entry are more substantial.
OC Technology, part of OC Group, has signed a new strategic partnership with Yellowbrick Tracking. This is a significant consolidation in the tracking business which establishes Yellowbrick as the leading company in the offshore yacht tracking market with the largest fleet of Iridium-based tracking units available.
Clémentine d’Oiron, OC Technology Manager said:
“Our products have made a significant contribution since 2006 to making tracking a normal part of every offshore race, and we have held a large market share. The partnership with Yellowbrick will provide race organisers and sailing teams all over the world the best possible service and allow for continued investment in product development”
The new partnership will see all operational delivery of tracking services carried out by Yellowbrick, including the provision of the hardware and the online management system, whilst OC Technology will continue to market their integrated communication systems that have been developed over the last decade to such great effect for professional sailing projects, such as, Dame Ellen MacArthur’s solo round the world record and the inaugural Barcelona World Race.
The standard OCTracker unit will be renamed YellowbrickMAX and Yellowbrick will now manage all the tracking operations of the combined business. The Yellowbrick units are self-contained, battery-powered, lightweight, tracking devices capable of reporting a boat’s position, speed and course at pre-determined intervals, and are programmable remotely. In addition, Yellowbrick will also manage the OCTracker+ units, to be renamed YellowbrickMAX+, which allow for a hard-wired installation and extended data transfer capabilities, such as, true wind speed and other data.
Yellowbrick Managing Director, Nick Farrell, commented:
“We are very excited to see this new partnership go through. Yellowbrick now has the largest Iridium-based tracker hire stock in the world, and the most comprehensive back-office system. The experience and depth of knowledge of our combined teams means that we will be able to deliver our first-class service to many more race organisers who wish to track their events. Using Iridium-based trackers means that our units work anywhere on earth, without areas of marginal or no coverage, unlike other operators. Both the Yellowbrick and YellowbrickMAX units and web viewing solutions are tried and tested products.”
The OCTracker unit was launched in July 2006 and in 2007 the entire fleet in the bi-annual Rolex Fastnet Race were fitted with the units in association with the RORC. Since then the tracking units have been used by many race organisers and race campaigns including Thomas Coville’s S’Odebo record programme, the double-handed non-stop Barcelona World Race and the solo transatlantic The Artemis Transat. The units will also be used again in the next edition of the 2011 Barcelona World Race and other prestigious round the world races.
Since 2006, Yellowbrick have provided tracking and information display solutions for events including the double-handed Shetland Round Britain & Ireland Race, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers and other events in Australia, Italy, Belgium, the Caribbean. Their technology has been selected for the VELUX 5 OCEANS Race starting in 2010. In addition, the lightweight, self-contained trackers have proved popular in a diverse range of applications including expedition tracking and airsports such the World Gliding Championships and Grand Prix gliding events.