WRSC 2017 Day 1 - Fleet Race

Greetings from Horten, Norway!

horten The estuary of the competition, complete with great weather

First of all, we are doing our best to keep the blog updated, but in the middle of a competition this is the first thing we end up neglecting. For better live information and the newest updates, have a look at our twitter account, our facebook page, and the WRSC facebook page. You can also check out the competition live tracking and have a look at the GPS traces of all teams.

This year we are competing with teams from China, USA, Norway and the Aland Islands. The location of the competition is very exciting: We are outside the facilities of one of the sponsors, Kongsberg. We regular get distracted by AUVs being moved around on a nearby pier… Coming back to the competition after one year, it is nice to experience the athmosphere of excited sailrobot work and chatting with other teams.

After wonderful weather on arrival yesterday, this week we are not so lucky: It was pouring down the entire first day, and the forecasts are not promising. For us as an english team this also means: A lot of people joking that the weather must feel familiar!

Before attempting the race, we did some test. We underestimated the wind a little, and ended up speeding into a pontoon on the water before we could take over remote control. Luckily, nothing was damaged and we quickly changed to our smaller sails. Whilst fighting with rain, this year we have a lot less problems with currents, so we managed to round the course of the triangle race on the first attempt!

triangle race GPS trace GPS trace of our successful triangle path

We not only crossed the startline, but actually circled one of the start buoys - not a requirement… after this little excursion the black python was right back on track and nicely made its way upwind to the second waypoint. On the GPS track our laylines are clearly visible. The loops at the ends come from jibing instead of tacking at the turns. Due to the strong waves we had decided that tacking would be too difficult, a choice we were not alone with. On the first day, a total of three teams completed the race, but due to the weather, more attempts are allowed tomorrow. We decided to make our second attempt on the same day, but this time our GPS stopped working before we managed to cross the start line. It seems like the black python decided it had done a well enough job, and that it was done for the day. On the waterproofing side of things we did have a few cups of water, but all our electronics stayed safe. Whilst getting rid of the water, we got the impression the seawater here is less salty than in Southampton. Whilst not important for the competition, we got curious and found a NASA map of salinity confirming this. They have a couple of interesting sea surface maps based on satellite date, worth checking out :) Back sailing, tomorrow we have the station keeping coming up.