About/History

The International Robotic Sailing Regatta is a robotic sailing competition held in North America in which teams of university,  college and high school students compete. The first event, in 2006, was hosted by Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario and was inspired by the success of a 2004 senior project at the University of British Columbia to build a robotic sailboat.UBCBoat[1]

Teams have since competed throughout the US and Canada. The goal is to create an autonomous, robotic sailboat that navigates through a variety of challenges with limited, if any, human control. Students are able to use this friendly competition between schools to apply their engineering knowledge in a multi-disciplinary task that requires mechanical, electrical, software and engineering management skills to deal with this highly variable environment.

The competition is oriented to boats competing in the SailBot Class (up to 2 meters in length) but smaller boats are common due to their easier logistics, although their smaller size restricts their performance. There is an Open Class (which are boats up to 4 meters in length) oriented toward non-school teams and those boats above 2 meters in length in preparation for the MicroTransAt Challenge (max 2.4 meters length) or World Robotics Sailing Championship (WRSC)(up to 4 meters in length).

Many teams use the one-design hull MaxiMOOP as their basic platform due to its convenient size (1.2m), light weight (20 kg), payload capability and seaworthiness. This report describes the 2016 USNA SailBot design and construction. Other good references include the multiple papers presented at the International Robotic Sailing Conference as part of the WRSC. A tradition for the SailBot competition is that the winning team is responsible for finding a host for the next competition.

SailBot trophy

Past SailBot Events 

2016 – Kingston, Ontario, Canada

2015 – St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

2014 – Vallejo, California, USA

2013 – Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA

2012 – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

2011 – Annapolis, Maryland, USA

2010 – Kingston, Ontario, Canada

2009 – Annapolis, Maryland, USA

2008 – Annapolis, Maryland, USA

2007 – (not held)

2006 – Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Note: details of past events are in some cases quite lacking! If you have additional information, please send it to us!