Life on the Dirona: Wanderings Made Possible by Connectivity at Sea

KVH, MV Dirona, James Hamilton, Jennifer Hamilton, life at sea, TracPhone, satcom at sea, marine connectivity, mini-VSAT Broadband, VSAT at sea

Software engineers James and Jennifer Hamilton possess a never-ending wanderlust that sends them over the horizon. En route on an open-ended circumnavigation aboard their Nordhavn 52, M/V Dirona, the Hamiltons post extensive blogs on far-ranging subjects. One day there’s a tale of craft beer and scenic anchorages; another, there’s a gritty DIYer’s analysis about replacing engine mounts or repairing a crane with these stories shared with friends and followers thanks to their connectivity at sea.

From a yachting perspective, it’s all pretty standard fare. But wait, there’s more: The multi-skilled Hamiltons aren’t just geeks afloat, they’re hard-core technology addicts. As the couple cruises, James continues his role as vice president and Distinguished Engineer for Amazon Web Services. Jennifer, who has worked for IBM and Microsoft, manages Dirona’s passage logistics, itinerary, and website.

They aren’t shy about this lifestyle, they embrace it. Under the “technology” tag on their blog, you’ll find accounts of visits to a cruise ship; a scallop harvesting and processing vessel; a nuclear submarine; the Boston, Massachusetts, sewage treatment plant (it’s the second largest in the U.S.); a mining company; and a high-speed aluminum boat builder, to name a few of the dozens of posts.

So it only follows that when the Hamiltons cruised south along the North American East Coast, their itinerary included landfall in Rhode Island, where they could pay a visit to the KVH team at global headquarters and meet the team that makes their connectivity at sea a reality.

The Hamiltons already had an existing relationship with KVH, having provided user feedback as the company refined its groundbreaking Open Plans and enhanced mini-VSAT Broadband service in 2015.

While Brian Arthur, KVH vice president of product development, supplied details about the company’s origins and evolution, the Hamiltons toured various departments — engineering, network operations (which includes technical support), and manufacturing. They heard about the technology that drives KVH’s unique IP-MobileCast content delivery service, and chatted with the engineering staff.

Those brief visits to several KVH departments and offices allowed the Hamiltons to be kids in the candy store of technology. However, it was network operations, whose round-the-clock schedule features real-time network monitoring of the mini-VSAT Broadband network and TracPhone systems on vessels around the globe, as well as other data points about each vessel’s satellite connectivity, that excited them most.

Hear what Jennifer and James Hamilton have to say about:

Connectivity at Sea, a Requirement for a Life Aboard Dirona

Working Remotely While Traveling Around the World

The Value of Reliability

So where to next? They’ll keep on going “as long as it’s fun,” said Jennifer. “Having connectivity makes a huge difference. It’s awesome.”

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A KVH Maritime VSAT Trifecta

About Chris Watson 73 Articles
Chris is the senior director of marketing for KVH Industries. A lifelong sailor and storyteller, he's a self-professed geek who finds all of this technical stuff fascinating.