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SOUTHAMPTON, England -- Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, people around the world will be connected with compelling stories of action, drama and triumph in Formula One of yachting on the race ready www.VolvoOceanRace.org moving sports internet coverage into a new era.

The site will provide endless hours of viewing where you can log on to the latest 6 hourly reports sent by a network of satellites direct to your desktop, or read up on the colorful characters, the campaigns and life behind the scenes of the Volvo Ocean Race.

On board technology will allow www.VolvoOceanRace.org visitors to experience the contrasts of the serene sunsets in the Doldrums to the thrill of surfing in the Southern Ocean with driving sleet and 50 knot winds across the deck. The 'tell it how it is' emails make compulsive reading with words of the bowmen, trimmers, helmsmen and afterguard bringing to life the realities and overwhelming 'edge of the seat' excitement of racing round the world. Die hard fans can register for official email updates from the Volvo Ocean Race team.

Regular features from the dockside will round off available information and in-depth gossip, news and views. In return though, visitors will be able to let fly their opinions on race progress, breaking stories and scuttlebutt in the Volvo Ocean Race forums.

The Volvo Ocean Race sees a continuation of the Virtual Spectator (3D animation graphic) race tracker program giving the public a front row seat to follow the action. This can be downloaded from www.VolvoOceanRace.org .

The Technical Side of www.VolvoOceanRace.org

The task of running a web site that lives for the nine months of the event, is updated countless times per day and must be reliable enough to be the main source of information for the Volvo Ocean Race is immense. To manage such a complex site, that must withstand tens of thousands of hits per second, careful design is needed.

The solution was to use flat pages in the web server and move all the dynamic parts of the website to the production side. Thus reducing the processing overhead on the hosting side and requiring significantly less computing power to serve the web site.

The downside of this approach is that managing flat pages and cross- referencing becomes unworkable, putting a huge demand on the production side. The solution says Pete Dakin, Production Manager, was to choose a publishing system called Website Director Pro from Cyberteams.

"It's a powerful browser-based system which allows a distributed network of variously skilled people to insert content into our workflow in a highly controllable manner. With it our users can, through their web browser, contribute content to the site from almost anywhere around the world - from a car or hotel room - maybe even a boat in the middle of the ocean,'' said Dakin.

Another enormous challenge was integrating two independent automated systems to update the web site around the clock without human intervention. Firstly, the Race Management System which monitors the progress of the yachts and sends the position and performance data in a precise format at a certain time to Website Director, which updates the web site.

The data also has to be sent to a number of different partners, adding to the intricacy. Data must be sent to Virtual Spectator (VS) the 3D race viewer, djuice for the SMS, WAP and Virtual Volvo Ocean Race. VS allows the user to take control of how they watch the Volvo Ocean Race through VS. They can zoom in, select a variety of aerial and water level perspectives, fast-forward, reverse and replay to analyze key tactical moves. View interactive weather charts, including forecast extending up to 72 hours.

A short example of the complexity of the website:

The position report page will be updated every six hours, seven days a week, nine months continuously. The data comes from six different sources, of which three are automated and race personnel produce three. A number of dependency rules must be met before the page can be published.

Plugging into the web site is the 3D animated race-viewer Virtual Spectator and the Virtual Volvo Ocean Race Game, run by djuice.com, the sponsor of one of the competing teams. For the first time in history Virtual Spectator will come with audio commentary. The program can be downloaded from the web site.

SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
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