This just in: Arbella, a 59-foot Oyster sailboat owned by Americans Mike and Vicki Wallace, and outfitted with a KVH TracPhone V3 marine satellite communications system, just completed a 2,800-nautical-mile Atlantic crossing (from Las Palmas, Spain, to St. Lucia) as part of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers – and Mike Wallace reports how much he enjoyed doing video FaceTime chats with his family and a group of schoolchildren – all from the middle of the Atlantic. The TracPhone V3 system is part of the mini-VSAT Broadband solution for marine VSAT by KVH.
“What a unique pleasure and experience it was to hold a FaceTime session with my grandkids in New Jersey (ages 10, 7, and 5), and, separately, with my wife in Denver, just as we were passing the midway point in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers….in the middle of the Atlantic….1500 miles from land in either direction! The clarity of the exchange was as if I were at home in Annapolis, Maryland,” said Captain Mike, by e-mail to British marine IT specialist Gavin Painter at IT@C.
“I not only “showed them” around Arbella, but also showed them the 8-10 foot seas topside, with 25 knot winds, as we sped along at 10 knots! Needless to say, it was a bonding and emotional experience for us all! The reliability and overall performance of the KVH VSAT equipment has been superb! Further, several days later, the 3rd grade class at Lake Magdalene School in Florida (where my sister-in-law teaches) did FaceTime with me, and received the same “tour aboard”…they have been following our blog and learning about the Atlantic Ocean and related history from my entries…they saw me on a big classroom screen…I saw them clearly on my iPad. Moreover, daily phone calls home by all the crew were quite well supported by flawless performance…With reasonable cost, and top notch performance, why would anyone do an extended ocean passage and not have a VSAT unit?”
The blog diary Captain Mike kept during the 14-day passage, “Wallace’s Sailing Adventure on Arbella,” makes great reading, especially for the armchair sailor in us all!