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KVH GyroTrac Helps “PlayStation” Set a Record-setting Course Across the Atlantic


MIDDLETOWN, RI – December 17, 2001 – When the catamaran “PlayStation” passed the Lizard Point Lighthouse in English waters on October 10, 2001, 4 days, 17 hours, 28 minutes, and 6 seconds after leaving New York, it smashed the existing West-to-East Transatlantic record by more than 43 hours. To achieve this stunning time, “PlayStation” carried a crew of 10 men and an arsenal of high-tech systems, including the GyroTrac Gyro-stabilized Digital Compass from KVH Industries (Nasdaq: KVHI).

“All of us at KVH Industries want to congratulate skipper Steve Fossett and his crew on their remarkable achievement,” said Jim Dodez, KVH vice president of marketing. “The West-to-East Transatlantic crossing record is one of the premier achievements in the sailing world. That the KVH GyroTrac helped provide the heading and navigation information required to set this mark is a testament not only to the precision offered by GyroTrac but also to its rugged and reliable design. It is a tremendous honor for KVH to be associated with the achievements of skipper Steve Fossett, his crew, and the world record set by ‘PlayStation’.”

“PlayStation,” a 125-foot catamaran, crossed the start line at Ambrose Light, New York, on October 5, 2001. During its passage, it maintained an average speed of 25.78 knots as it covered 2,885 miles. While underway, it also set a new 24-hour speed record, covering 687.17 nautical miles between October 6 and October 7. Serving as navigator during the record run was Stan Honey, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Sportvision Systems and a member of KVH Industries’ Board of Directors since 1997.

“The KVH GyroTrac was an invaluable tool during our transatlantic passage,” remarked Mr. Honey. “For us to set this mark, we needed to set and follow the most efficient course possible. That meant having precise heading data at all times, regardless of sea state or boat speed. It was a relief to know that we had GyroTrac onboard. The system was exactly what we needed aboard ‘PlayStation’ to help ensure that our helmsmen maintained our course from start to finish.”

Even in the heaviest seas where location and orientation are constantly changing, GyroTrac continually measures and compensates for vessel motion to provide accurate heading data. Consistently stable heading at high speeds and in all sea conditions is provided by a combination of KVH’s innovative digital magnetic compass and three-axis gyro stabilization. The self-compensating digital magnetic compass provides a drift-free, long-term heading reference accurate to better than one degree. Momentary compass errors due to shock and sudden accelerations are eliminated by GyroTrac’s three-axis rate gyro stabilization.

The self-calibrating GyroTrac offers user-selectable digital and analog outputs, allowing the system to interface easily with other onboard electronics and providing mariners with a single central heading device that can output Magnetic or True North data. Compass errors that often cause many autopilot “steering problems” are dramatically reduced or totally eliminated with the GyroTrac. GyroTrac’s stable accurate heading information is also the ideal input for North-up/ARPA radars.

KVH Industries, Inc., is a leading provider of innovative high-bandwidth communications products. Using proprietary fiber optic and satellite antenna technology, the company is developing next-generation systems with greater precision, durability, and versatility for communications, navigation, and industrial applications. An ISO 9001-registered company, KVH has headquarters in Middletown, Rhode Island, with a fiber optic manufacturing facility in Illinois, and a European sales, marketing and support office in Hoersholm, Denmark.

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