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Sailbot Team hits fourth place finish at international competition

By Jackey Locke

Earlier this month, engineering students, as well as a marine engineer and some students from the Marine Institute, travelled to Annapolis, Maryland to compete in the fifth annual International Robotic Sailing Competition.

The first-time entry from Memorial placed middle of the pack with a solid fourth place finish, and learned lots from the experience and hopes to build upon this year's experience for future competitions. Team captain, Nathan Smith, is extremely pleased with how the team did and with what they accomplished.

"This was our first time attending this competition with our prototype vehicle, which was completely built by the team, and our goal was to complete the majority of the missions and bring back new ideas for the next boat – which we did. We also hit many milestones for our project including first autonomy," said Mr. Smith.

The team competed with a fully autonomous 2m Sailbot class sailboat which they designed, fabricated and programmed. To prepare for the competition the team tested various materials, actuators, rigging methods, etc.

A sailbot is a robotic sailboat.

The competition consisted of match racing, station keeping and long distance races.