Project Ricochet: SeaFi off shore sea trials aboard LE Orla

Eight bells, end of the middle watch...20130903 061814

Today started bright and early (04:00hrs), Stephen Hyde the circum navigator keeps reminding me a good day should always start with a walk, it freshen up the mind and gets the body in motion. The image of a skipper walking the cockpit from port to starboard and back is somehow amusing. Since he once had me scrubbing decks with fresh water in the middle of Atlantic, the amusement never last long, combat ships have treadmills and cruiseliners fully equiped gymnasiums. Stephen probably did many deckwalks during the 1083 days he travelled around the world.  So I went to the pier to watch the sun rise and did the math for the nth time in the past thirty six hours hoping nothing would go wrong today... 


ROCHESPOINTForenoon watch...

Since 09:30hrs my colleague David McDonald is in Rochespoint lighthouse, with our friend Jim Power from the CIL fine tunning Shore Station Alpha. Today's blog is one of a kind. Although like many of our other posts, it was sent to our server from a ship, this time I am writing from the bridge of LE Orla somewhere 14 Nautical Miles south of Rochespoint.

What's even more exceptional is the fact that we are NOT using a satellite connection but a SeaFi encrypted connection. SeaFi uses cutting-edge digital radio technology to provide high-speed data networks in the marine environment. SeaFi is a suite of managed services engineered in Cork (Ireland), which can be deployed in specific locations to allow users to communicate over many nautical miles as an alternative to satellite comms and in areas where 3G/4G are unreliable over water, which is commonly the case. SeaFi will greatly improve marine communications, allowing large amounts of data to be shifted around the coasts of Ireland (and abroad) and will be a key asset in harnessing ocean wealth in Ireland.

For the past week, we have worked with the Irish Naval Service in preparing LE Orla – a Peacock-class coastal patrol vessel – for this long distance marine wireless data communication experience. This post was submitted as part of our tests to a server on shore from a distance of 15 nautical miles south of the coast of Ireland.

The average network speed today was 5 megabits per second, and we have managed successfully several voice over internet communication (Skype) with our shore station in Roches Point Lighthouse.


More information will be posted soon about this experience but I would like for now to express our gratitude to the Irish Naval Service and the entire crew of LE Orla for their support, as well as Port of Cork, our commercial partner, and the Commissioners of Irish Lights, for their support in bringing SeaFi to market.


Special thanks to: FOCNS Commodore Mark Mellett (DSM), Lt Cdr McAlister, David Whoriskey, Roddy O'Connor, Brendan O'Reilly, Jim Power and David McDonald

Written by : Arnaud Disant