Multihulls World n° 196

Stay connected, just like at home

The Starlink revolution (see our article in MW190) is well and truly under way. As proof, the number of equipped boats at the start of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers has jumped from 1% at the end of 2022 to 80% at the end of 2023! Never before has the yachting industry seen such a massive and rapid take-up of a new service. Genoa furlers, Sat Navs and autopilots are now fitted on board all cruising multihulls, but it took years (or even decades!) for them to catch on. A wide range of communications equipment was already available, but these systems were slow, expensive, and cumbersome - just take a look at the radomes installed on yachts... However, not everything needs throwing out just yet - a waterproof, autonomous telephone can be useful in the event of a major problem. It’s a safe bet that the innovative Starlink will be coming up with a new offer along these lines very soon.

Whatever those who defend an old-fashioned, ‘disconnected’ vision of cruising think, this approach is now far from popular on the decks of the ocean-going multihulls we encounter all year round. We’ve noticed that some captains don’t leave the service on 24 hours a day, in order to save hours of connection time and, above all, energy. Being equipped with Starlink is a clear boost for our safety: the high-speed satellite connection gives easy access to local information and weather forecasts and means you can be contacted at any time. As for those who work on board - like me and so many others in the age of teleworking - it’s a revolution! The experience I had during the Fountaine Pajot Owners Rendezvous in the BVI is worth mentioning: aboard a Tanna 47 operated by Waypoints Yacht Charters, I took out a local router package (a service previously offered by most charter companies). The service turned out to be really disappointing and unreliable... and it cost €140 a week! Luckily for me, Jay, the Captain, came on board two days after me with a big waterproof case: he installed his own Starlink in 10 minutes. In this context, it’s not surprising that many owners of managed/chartered multihulls who want to enjoy a good connection during the few weeks they spend on ‘their’ multihull are installing Starlink themselves, ahead of charter companies who are struggling to include this new service in their catalogue of options... Perhaps it’s time to fit all boats with Starlink and maybe offer the service to all customers?

Happy Reading!


Emmanuel van Deth
Editor in chief

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