Alicante, Spain - Photographer Rick Tomlinson received the Inmarsat Media Pioneer Award at the Volvo Ocean Race Legends in recognition of his trailblazing record documenting the race, particularly in the Southern Ocean.
Presenting the Award in front of an audience of over 600 spanning three decades of the world's sailing elite, Chris Mclaughlin, Vice President, External Affairs, Inmarsat said: "Rick Tomlinson has brought iconic images of an inspirational race to millions of people. In his own modest way he began the task that has now developed into a full time onboard media crew member role. His craft and use of evolving technology has grown from the humble picture scanner to our FleetBroadband data streaming. Rick is a legend and a true ambassador for the race".
The award celebrates Inmarsat's 30-year history with the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race by honouring the contribution, courage and commitment of the pioneering photographers on the original races.
Yachting photographer Tomlinson is probably best known for capturing the Southern Ocean at its most treacherous from the decks of various yachts in the Whitbread Round the World Race. Rick recorded four Whitbreads on board Drum, The Card, Intrum Justitia and was the photographer for the two EF teams in the 1997 race.
Whilst crewing on Drum in the1985 race and armed with one Nikon and 20 rolls of film, Tomlinson redefined onboard photography with his trademark slow exposure night-time shots of the Southern Ocean, images that have achieved iconic status. Inmarsat's satellite technology is a key enabler for all aspects of the 2011-12 race for position reporting, sending live video footage and photos of onboard action to the world's media, providing safety communications in the event of an accident, and for boosting crew morale.
Inmarsat is also sponsoring the Media Crew Member (MCM) Award of 1,000 euros (US$1,358) on each leg of the race, plus a 10,000 euro (US$13,585) prize for the best overall contribution to race coverage.
This race each Volvo Open 70 race boat will be fitted with a FleetBroadband 500 terminal, delivering voice and high-speed data communications. Competitors in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 will be the first sailors with access to the new 'red button' safety service on FleetBroadband, giving instant one-touch contact with maritime rescue coordination centres. Also on board will be a compact FleetBroadband 150 for crew voice calling and IP data, two Mini-C systems for constant positioning data and additional global safety.