About the Microtransat
The Microtransat Challenge is a transatlantic race of fully autonomous sailing boats. The race aims to stimulate the development of autonomous sailing boats through friendly competition.
So far this year two teams have attempted the challenge. A map of both attempts can be seen on the tracking page.
On May 16th the team from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, USA began their attempt from Cape Cod in Massachusetts. On May 22nd their boat was run over by and caught in the nets of a trawler. The crew brought her onboard and she has only sustained minor damage and will be returned to the team. You can read more about their boat on the USNA boat details page.
On September 6th 2014 Team Joker began their attempt from Barton-on-Sea, England. They experienced very light winds and a very strong tide, ultimately ending up being washed ashore on the Isle of Wight during the morning of the 7th of September. You can read more about their boat on the Team Joker boat details page.
A spin off competition, the World Robotic Sailing Championships (WRSC) was created in 2008 and has taken place annually since then. This consists of a series of short races and other challenges for competing boats to undertake autonomously. Many teams who take part in the Microtransat (or who plan to) also attend the WRSC. Also attached to this event is the International Robotic Sailing Conference (IRSC), which allows researchers in the area a chance to meet up and discuss the scientific issues related to robotic sailing.
The SailBot competition is another competition for robotic sailing boats, which has taken place in North America since 2006. This is targeted at student teams and focuses on high performance short distance racing.
Microtransat teams are encouraged to attend a WRSC or SailBot event to meet other teams, exchange ideas and test out their boats and compare against others.