Tuesday - First Race (Fleet Race)

img_4041 D-day

We arrived at the sailing club for the morning briefing for the first race. All the teams were present, each team being in only one of the two possible categories. Sail round four points in the river, expressed in satnav coordinates, in the fastest time possible. You pass each corner if your boat gets to within a 10m radius of each point.

img_4049 Getting briefed


Thomas, Sophia and Sebastien got to working on the simulation. Meanwhile, the rest of us worked on fitting the electronics back in, and adding further anti-hydro reinforcements.

img_4064 Reinforcements

img_4061 The finishing touch. Thanks Alistair!

Slathering the cap with tape wasn’t the only state-of-the-art technique we employed. We also brought out a secret weapon - tampons. We stuffed a bunch in Black Python to prevent another reverse-period scenario.

2:30 in the afternoon. It’s D-time on D-day.


copy-of-20160906_143057 Prepping up to launch it from the rib  copy-of-20160906_143402 Off it goes!

Black Python started off by, well, not starting to travel. The strong current and the wind were both heading against the direction of the first leg of the track. This caused Black Python to do a really great buoy impression. And then, it started heading the wrong way. And then it started doing circles. We had to bring it back into the rib after a while.

On the plus side, when Black Python was travelling, it traveled really fast; on the negative side of that, it’s only when it’s manually-controlled. Another negative, water still went in. But on the positive of that negative, the water was absorbed before it could touch the electronics. In other words, the tampons did their job!

copy-of-20160906_165011 Feminine hygiene saved the day

We found out why Black Python was spinning in circles. Turned out, when we flashed the code into the boat, we flipped the signals to the rudder and sail servos. Black Python thought its sail was its rudder, and vice versa. Whoops. But hey, at least all the other teams but one didn’t finish the race, just like us!