Day 2: World Robotic Sailing Championships

Day 2 of the World Robotic Sailing Championships (WRSC) and our boat still has not arrived. Day 2 has the first contest, the fleet race, where you race against the other boats. After talking to the courier company they said it can still take 3 to 5 days. So I immediately decided to take another approach. I asked the French team who have two small boats if I could borrow one of their boats for the rest of the time. They immediately agreed, I was ecstatic. However, their boat was one third small than my boat and I still had to put my electronics into it.

Boat on loan

The boat the French team loaned out.

I had around two hours go back to the apartment to get the electronics, put it into the boat, do calibration, tune the sails and test it (out of the water). Since the boat was much smaller there was less room inside to fit the electronics, luckily the French team had cut a hole into the side of the boat to enable better access. I was able to get the boat ready for the fleet race, just in time.

I took a few shortcuts, such as assuming the wind won't change and hard-coded the wind direction and speed into the boat. However, the compass was giving strange results. The compass is critical for the boat to know which direction it's going. On the water after putting the boat in, it suddenly when the opposite direction when in robotic mode. So I reprogrammed the compass to just go 180 degrees, at first this seemed to do the trick, but eventually it went in the wrong direction. Later I found that the compass was not working at all and it was essentially giving a random direction, I fixed this the next day.

Boat

Reprogramming the compass on the water

The boat did not complete the fleet race, nor did it even get over the start line. In fact the current in the water was so strong due to the incoming tide that it none of the small boats completed the fleet race, only one boats made it most of the way around.

Real Time Tracking

For real-time updates on the contests you can go to trackingwrsc.fe.up.pt. Here you can see the boats in the contest.