Day 8: Broadband for all - a proposal to ARC management

Jan Morten Ruud
Tue 1 Dec 2009 16:45
Dear readers,
we are sorry about the delay in publishing today's blog. We had a spot of rough weather and all sailors, even the blogging kind, were called to deck. But now all is well again. It's actually more than well. The relatively strong winds during the last 48 hours or so have suited Ronja perfectly and with the use of secret weapon no. 1 (which we have written a song about and will be performed in Rodney Bay) we are simply zooming along.
These blogs tend to be about life aboard Ronja, and we guess this is why most of you read it. But today we would like to take one minute and raise our coffee cups to a toast for the good people at the World Cruising Club. What we have seen so far of the organizing has been close to flawless. No queues at check in, none at check out, lots of relevant and timely information. It is clear that these people have lots of experience in organizing rallies. In addition they do it in such a friendly manner. The ARC people in the yellow T-shirts really brightened up our stay in Las Palmas, and we are certain that we will experience the same in St. Lucia.
There is, however, one flaw that we would like to discuss with ARC management. And since we're out in the middle (ACTUALLY OVER THE MIDDLE! YESTERDAY AT 1930 UTC WE PASSED 1375 MILES! FROM NOW ON IT'S ALL DOWNHILL/WIND!) of the Atlantic ocean we will use the blog as our means of communications.
The internet access in Las Palmas was a very popular feature, and one could see pleanty of sailors with that "have got to log in to my Facebook/Gmail/Bank account right here right now" look about them. And from what we can tell from the skipper's handbook there will be a WIFI network available to particpants in Rodney Bay. That is all well and good, but what about the area between Las Palmas and St. Lucia? Did you, dear ARC management, somehow forget that we will spend two to three weeks (some boats up to 15 years as we blogged about yesterday) without WIFI coverage? And have you realized what that will do to our lives? Crisis!
Your humble crew aboard S/Y Ronja have spent some time building broadband networks, and last night we brainstormed a plan that we think will be very successful. Here's the deal: It's about 2750 miles from Las Palmas to Rodney Bay. With a decent antenna, one WIFI access point can reasonably cover a radius of 300 meters, which means three access points per mile. And all in all - let me see -  that would be 8,250 access points. Floating & waterproof access points, that is. With a sturdy antenna on top, and a light on top of the antenna.
We think it would be very successful. It would also keep the ARC boats in line (just think about the poor helmsman who takes the boat outside of WIFI coverage......) and we could thus exclude navigation (which really is quite troublesome in any case) as a competitive factor. Just follow the red lights, damnit! And we are sure that Garmin, Raymarine etc would happily include functionality where the chart plotter would show WIFI range and signal strength.
We are well aware that these access points need power and a data transport network. We are convinced that a mixture of sun and wave power would deliver necessary power needs. The data transport needs would initially be met by meshing the network so that each access point acts as a repeater for other traffic. As capacity needs grow over time, however, we need to look into submarine fiber cables to every access point.
When asked to estimate the cost of this network, the Captain aboard S/Y Ronja smiled his best smile, looked this correspondent right into the eyes, and said "We have Balalaika Orchestra. Woud you like to come and listen?"
And that is all the news from your affectionate crew aboard S/Y Ronja. Thank you for all emails and positive responses to the blog! Send comments to ruud {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com. And please dial in tomorrow where High Sea Productions have two important press releases that will be published.
Best regards from
Snorre, Stian, Vilde, Vibeke, Jan Morten & harrall.
Coordinates:   W39.42.353., N19.46.642

Distance totalt current rute: 2720 Nm
Sailed distance last 24 hours: 173
Sailed distance since start:1537,2 Nm
Distance left (current route to St. Lucia): 1252Nm