The 11th International Robotic Sailing Competition (IRSC) “SailBot 2017″ will be held at the United States Naval Academy from 11-16 June! Building on previous events’ success, the plan is to have similar challenges with tweaks to improve them. New for this year will be seminars providing information useful to those interested in robotic sailboats and an event where a team can choose from three challenges of varying technological difficulty to score points. It will be fun, educational and challenging! The competition is open to students from secondary schools, undergraduate and graduate programs, individuals and companies.

The event will be held at the Robert Crown Sailing Center, host to the SailBot regattas in 2008, 2009 and 2011. The weather in Annapolis in mid-June is generally warm, with temperatures between 15-30C. Winds can be 0-30 knots (although we won’t hold an event if the wind is over 15 knots) and we may have rain! If we have had rain we might have current up to about a half knot. In other words, expect pretty much anything!



The schedule and events are below. Note that you can click on an event that will link to a description. The challenge events are designed to span the range from easy to difficult so new or small teams can score points their first year and can improve their boat in succeeding years. For example, the fleet race requires all boats to use remote control, which is an achievable goal for a new team, while the Navigation event must be autonomous and requires precision control so might be a goal for the second year. Many of the  events can be done in remote control by taking a points penalty. With the exception of the Fleet Race(s), a boat/team only competes against its own potential rather than against the other teams. Each event requires different design characteristics of the boat and systems so a team can build on their progress from year to year. For instance, as it is often difficult to determine where the wind is coming from on a boat 200 meters away, a good first-year autonomy goal is computer-controlled sail trim.016-copy

Sunday 11 June 2017

0900-1700               Practice and Setup

1800                         Welcome BBQ

Monday 12 June 2017

0900-1200               Registration and Seminars (COLREGS, Nav Arch, Systems)

1300-1700               Fleet Race(s)

Tuesday 13 June 2017

0900-1700               Station Keeping and Navigation Challenges

Wednesday 14 June 2017

0900-1700               Choice of challenges where the best of your three scores counts: A) Payload , B) Collision Avoidance, C) Search.


Thursday 15 June 2017

0900-1700               Endurance/Long Distance Challenge

Friday 16 June 2017

0800-1200               On The Water Events (if needed)

1400-1700               Team Presentations

1830                          Awards dinner in town


In 2017 there will be two vessel classes:

  • SailBot Class (boats less than 2 meters overall length that do not exceed the maximum dimensions of the SailBot Class Rules). At least 50% of the team must be secondary or undergraduate students. (Faculty do not count as team members.)
  • Open Class (maximum 4 meters in overall length, but note that there is no hoist or launch ramp at USNA, so the boats must be carried to the water or towed from a launch ramp about a mile away.)

Prizes, including the SailBot Class Perpetual Trophy, will be awarded to the top boat in each class, plus there will be a prize for the top MaxiMOOP! (For more information on the MaxiMOOP design, go here!)

These are the buoys we will be using.BEMA bouy

General Notes:

  1. The wind is often inconsistent in Annapolis. If a team feels the inconsistent wind unfairly biased a particular attempt at a challenge they can ask a judge for a re-sail. In general, however, a team is only allowed one “official” attempt at a challenge. Time permitting they may make unlimited “unofficial” attempts. Boats attempting an official run have priority.
  2. As many of the boats are fragile, we discourage boat-to-boat contact! To avoid contact the boats will abide by the sailing rules of the COLREGS. A boat that violates the rules and causes a collision that impedes another boat may be disqualified for that event.
  3. USNA is a major tourist attraction but it is also a military base with stricter rules inside the gate than out! Contact the organizers for a required vehicle pass.
  4. To foster spirit and to make the judges’ job easier, teams are encouraged to wear school identifying clothing.
  5. Housing is not available on campus, but Annapolis has lots of hotels, motels, B&Bs and even a campground within a fifteen minute drive.
  6. There is a snack bar on campus and downtown Annapolis is just a ten minute walk from the sailing center.

This is the intended course area (but of course it might move if the weather does not cooperate!)

SailBot 2017 Course Area

Please send any questions, concerns or suggestions to sailbotcompetition@gmail.com.