Project: Pinta

Technical details: 

Pinta is our latest sailing robot and will be competing in the Microtransat transatlantic sailing robot race in October 2008. It is based on a Topper Taz sailing dinghy and is 2.95 metres long. Its main aim is to be low cost and expendable given that there is a good chance it won't make it across the atlantic. It uses the same type of computer, ultrasonic wind sensor, compass, satellite phone and GSM modem as Beagle-B and reuses most of the programs written for Beagle-B. Steering is provided by a tiller pilot intended for use on a yacht, this will keep the board following a prespecified heading and will continue to work even when all the other electronics are switched off. All the electronics are housed in a water proof box which is attached to the deck. The batteries have been sealed inside the hull with foam and any remaining space has been filled with airbags usually used as packaging, this makes it very hard for the hull to fill with water. Power is provided by 120 watts of solar panels which are placed on a triangular frame on the deck. (movie)

Research / Projects:

Pinta's main aim is to cross the atlantic ocean in late 2009. It will be leaving from Northern Portugal and sail south towards Maderia and the Cape Veredes before heading west towards the carribbean. The final destination will be between the islands of St. Lucia and Martinique. The whole journey is expected to take about 2 or 3 months. Pinta will transmit its position everyday using its satellite phone, a map of its course will be shown on www.microtransat.org from October onwards.

Related publications:

  • [Sauze, C., Neal, M. J.] Design considerations for sailing robots performing long term autonomous oceanography. In proccedings of the International Robotic Sailing Conference, Breitenbrunn, Austria, May 23rd-24th 2008, pages 21-29.
  • [Sauze, C., Neal, M. J.] A Biologically inspired approach to longer term autonomy and survival in sailing robots. In proccedings of the International Robotic Sailing Conference, Breitenbrunn, Austria, May 23rd-24th 2008, pages 6-11.