Robo-boat

A solo-transatlantic journey is no easy undertaking, but try doing it without any crew at all. A group of students from ETH Zurich in Switzerland are currently testing a fully autonomous sailboat that’s theoretically able to reach any destination on its own. At just over 13 feet LOA and 1100 pounds, the Avalon robotic sailboat will be competing against 11 other
Author:
Updated:
Original:
avalon

A solo-transatlantic journey is no easy undertaking, but try doing it without any crew at all. A group of students from ETH Zurich in Switzerland are currently testing a fully autonomous sailboat that’s theoretically able to reach any destination on its own. At just over 13 feet LOA and 1100 pounds, the Avalon robotic sailboat will be competing against 11 other robotic sailboats this fall in The International Microtransat Challenge Transatlantic Race from Ireland to the Caribbean.

The members of team Students Sail Autonomously (SSA) began designing the boat last September and built it on their own over the winter. The first test runs are being completed on Lake Zurich, but the boat won’t see the open ocean until the transatlantic race begins. During the 3,780-nautical mile journey, SSA will be able to track Avalon’s progress, but they cannot intervene. Because no team members have sailing experience in the Caribbean, SSA is interviewing sailors who know the region backwards and forwards to better prepare the boat and the route.

The race was originally scheduled to launch from Portugal in 2008, but was postponed due to legal issues. This year, the boats are expected to launch from southwest Ireland sometime in September, though no definite date and location is set. The finish line is between 10 degrees and 25 degrees North and 60 degrees West. Before launch, each team must select a point on that line and finish within 27 nautical miles of it to win. As for a prize: only the bragging rights for designing the first boat to cross the Atlantic no-handed.

Related

pic00

Installing a Helm Pod

Our 1987 Pearson project boat came with an elderly but functioning Raymarine chartplotter, located belowdecks at the nav station. Since I usually sail solo or doublehanded, it was of little use down there—it needed to be near the helm. When I decided to update the plotter along ...read more

Panamerican

Pan American Game Success

Team USA’s young sailors went to the quadrennial Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru this summer with high hopes, and returned with a good haul of medals—two Golds, three Silvers, and two Bronze. Gold medals went to Ernesto Rodriguez and Hallie Schiffman (Mixed Snipe) and Riley ...read more

190916-AC75

U.S. Team Launches First America’s Cup Boat

Fast forward to around 2:25 to see the boat in action. First day out and already doing full-foiling gybes: not too shabby! Hard on the heels of the unveiling of New Zealand’s first AC75, the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic team has now launched its first America’s Cup ...read more

GGTobCaysHorseshoeColors

Picking a Charter Destination

Picking a destination should reflect the interests of your group, says People often ask about my favorite charter destination, and invariably, I sidestep the question with one of my own: “Well, what do you want to do on your vacation?” Most often I hear an incredulous, “Why, ...read more

sinking

Waterlines: Chasing Leaks on Boats

Chasing leaks on boats is a time-honored obsession. Rule number one in all galaxies of the nautical universe through all of nautical history has always been the same: keep the water on the outside. When water somehow finds its way inside and you don’t know where it’s coming ...read more

BestBoatNominees2020-Promo

Best Boats Nominees 2020

Bring on the monohulls! In a world increasingly given over to multihull sailing, SAIL magazine’s “Best Boats” class of 2020 brings with it a strong new group of keelboats, including everything from luxury cruisers nipping at the heels of their mega-yacht brethren to a number of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Relieve the load  One of the ancient arts of the sailor is setting up a “stopper” to relieve a loaded rope without letting anything go. The classic use for a stopper is to take the weight off the genoa ...read more

05

Ask Sail: Water Getting into Coax

Q: While inspecting behind the nav station for my spring cleaning, I discovered water behind my chartplotter and VHF radio stack. Freshwater to boot! Do electronics leak? I didn’t think so. — Everette Gracy, Norton Shores, MI Gordan West Replies  Last winter your region was ...read more