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Key facts

  • Iridium Certus 200 leads to Victory at Rolex Fastnet Race 2021
  • Thales VesseLINK 200: It was easy to install and use, compact and lightweight.
  • The Rolex Fastnet Race is the world’s largest and toughest offshore yacht race.


AST and Osprey worked closely together to ensure Tom Kneen’s JPK 11.80 350 Cruiser, Sunrise, was equipped with the latest Iridium Certus 200 terminal in preparation for the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race, which took place from Sunday 8th August to Thursday 12th August 2021.

The Rolex Fastnet Race is the world’s largest and toughest offshore yacht race. With teams covering 695 nautical miles over five days, this prestigious Atlantic Ocean race requires speed and precision to win. Named after Fastnet Rock, which the racecourse rounds, the Rolex Fastnet race has proven to be highly influential in offshore racing as well as having close links to advances in yacht technology, design, sailing technique and equipment.

Navigating the racecourse requires skills and reliable communication, with the courses path taking the vessel in and out of GSM range, a fail-safe solution was required. Due to its compact size and powerful capability, the Thales VesseLink 200 with Iridium Certus 200 broadband was the obvious choice.

Speaking about the terminal onboard the vessel, Suzy, co-navigator (Osprey):

“I think it’s pretty great! It was easy to install and use, compact and lightweight. The Thales VesseLINK 200 gave us the insight we needed to win the Rolex Fastnet Race. It meant we could get weather gribs and race tracker positions throughout the race, even whilst out of range of 4G. We knew where everyone else was and had a pretty good idea of what weather we were about to get, which was a huge advantage for this race, which we didn’t have for previous Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) races.”

Despite facing challenges early in the race, the crew aboard Sunrise successfully managed to use the onboard technology to get back on track, and ultimately win the race!

Tom Cheney, co-navigator quotes: 

“The sat comms system was definitely the key to us winning the Rolex Fastnet Race. The hardware was great, and I don’t think we’d have hit the shifts in the Irish Sea or pushed as hard to go east after the Scillies on the way back if we hadn’t had as much visibility of the forecast that we did.”

Congratulations from everyone at the AST Group to the Sunrise team – we are delighted to have been a part of the race!

In the Sunrise crew was Tom Kneen, professional Dave Swete, plus Thomas Cheney, Angus Gray-Stephens, George Kennedy, Suzy Peters and Tor Tomlinson.

Photo credit: © Paul Wyeth/

Wherever you are, whatever your remote connectivity requirements, AST has a solution. To discuss how we can take you further with one of the friendly team call +61 89 205 4000 or email


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