Sailing robots

Beagle B in Cardiff Bay

Beagle B in Cardiff Bay

17 September 2012

The World Robotic Sailing Championship (WRSC) ( is taking place in Cardiff this week, 17–21 September.

Based at Cardiff Bay Yacht Club, the event is being organised by the Department of Computer Science at Aberystwyth University.

The boats themselves are robots and controlled by inbuilt state-of-the-art GPS systems which allows a person to choose where the boat should go, similarly to a Sat Nav system.

As well as the competition, an International Robotic Sailing Conference will also be held Cardiff Bay Yacht Club on Wednesday 19 September.

The event will welcome speakers from Germany, USA, Austria, Spain, France, the USA, Norway and Israel to specifically discuss cutting edge topics concerning autonomous sailing.

Dr. Colin Sauzé, a Research Associate at the Department of Computer Science at the University explains, “The WRSC is a race for autonomous sailing robots. The WRSC is intended to promote the development of autonomous wind propelled sailing robots, through a series of short distance races, navigation and autonomy challenges.

“The accompanying International Robotic Sailing Conference (IRSC) provides researchers working on problems related to autonomous sailing the chance to exchange ideas with a scientific conference.”

The WRSC is a spinoff competition from the Microtransat Challenge, a trans-Atlantic race for autonomous sailing robots. Aberystwyth University was the first to attempt the Microtransat Challenge in 2010.

Dr. Colin Sauzé adds, “Most of the teams coming to the WRSC are intending on entering the Microtransat eventually and use this as a training event. Only two teams have ever tried to attempt the Microtransat, which includes ourselves and a team from France.”

The event is to be held in Cardiff because the sheltered waters of Cardiff Bay are more suitable for some of the smaller boats that are attending. These boats wouldn't be able to cope with the strong tides and large waves in the waters off Aberystwyth. More information can be found on the website