The 5th International Robotic Sailing Competition!

SailBot 2011

13-16 June 2011

Annapolis, Maryland



Notice of Event - SailBot 2011

Sailing Instructions - SailBot 2011

Class Rules - SailBot 2011


SailBot 2011, the North American competition for robotic sailboats was held at the United States Naval Academy from 13-16 June 2011! The competition was open to the 2 meter SailBot Class and an Open Class (which are boats up to 4 meters in length - see the Class Rules for the actual requirements of each class).


The competition consisted of five events to test various aspects of the design, construction and control logic. Each event was worth 10 points for a maximum of 50 possible earned points.


  • Fleet racing to test speed (non-manual rudder and sail control incurs no points penalty)  
  • Station keeping to test logic
  • Endurance contest (a 10-km race)
  • Autonomous navigation contest to test precision.
  • Judges evaluation of a presentation on the design, construction and innovation


As in the past, there was no entry fee! Six teams participated in conditions that ranged from near-calm to 15 knots. All the teams were competitive and showed clever innovations. For the first time in SailBot history the final placings were not determined until the last boat crossed the finish line in the last event!



Design summaries of the boats







Fleet Racing

Station Keeping



Long Distance



















































The Boats! (Click for larger resolution)


Memorial Univ.


Queen’s Univ.


Royal Mil. College


Univ. of British Columbia


USNA – Gill the Boat


USNA – Spirit of Annapolis


     SailBot 2012 will be hosted by the University of British Columbia!



SailBot 2009! The 3rd International SailBot Competition





Queen's                 Wales                        MOOP!            USNA "Luce Canon"         USNA "First Time"


 The first event was a design presentation highlighting the vessel's development.  That was followed by on-the-water racing including: a precision navigation contest, match racing, a 5 km race and a station-keeping contest.


Five boats representing three schools; Queen's University of Canada, the University of Wales at Aberystwyth and the United States Naval Academy, participated. Design summaries of the boats can be found here.


This year's competition was marked by choppy conditions which tested the boats' watertight integrity and ability to power through chop. When the chop was light, so was the wind!  Currents of up to 0.5 knots made it important for the boats to have speed in light air. No team came through unchallenged as highlighted by the continued lack of finishers in the precision navigation contest!


Queen's and USNA clearly improved significantly from last year with Queen's modifying their boat with a deeper keel for added stability and padding of the hull to increase hull volume to offset the added keel weight. Their increased stability showed with greater boat speed in all wind speeds and the ability to sail in stronger winds. The USNA team built a new, lighter boat and increased the sail area of the old boat significantly. The added sail area helped in the lighter air but required the team to switch to smaller sails as the breeze built. The new boat was narrower and had a slightly lighter but longer bulb. The lower stability was apparent, but the lower hull resistance more than offset that liability and the new boat was quite quick in all conditions. USNA's systems were significantly more advanced, but watertight integrity issues hurt their reliability.


Wales brought two very small boats which meant that they were much slower than the other boats, but their reliability was impressive. No issues surfaced, but they did have problems handling the light air, chop and current.


The SailBot Class is primarily aimed at undergraduate university teams but high school teams are also encouraged to enter. While the objective is for the students to build boats to their own designs, kit boats are welcome with the understanding that the team will receive reduced points for design development in the presentation event. The Open Class includes boats designed and built by graduate students, other academics or those in industry.


Queen's has graciously offered to hold the next SailBot regatta in June 2010!


Overall Scores:

United States Naval Academy ("Luce Canon"): 28.6 points

United States Naval Academy ("First Time"): 26 points

Queen's University ("North Star"): 24.5 points

University of Wales, Aberystwyth ("MOOP 2"): 13.6 points

University of Wales, Aberystwyth ("MOOP1"): 12.9 points



Presentation Winner: USNA

Match Racing Winner: USNA (Luce Canon)

Station Keeping Winner: USNA (Luce Canon)

Long Distance Race Winner: USNA (First Time)

Navigation Contest: No finishers

Open Class Winner: University of Wales, Aberystwyth


Competition Gallery:


More great pictures from Rob of Queen's at his Flickr website!









SailBot 2008! The 2nd International SailBot Competition


 Welcome to the Webpage for SailBot 2008! SailBot is an international competition for autonomously controlled sailboats. Aimed primarily at undergraduate student teams, the goal is to give engineering students a practical application of the topics they have learned, while also providing a fun way to learn project management in a multidisciplinary environment. A successful SailBot balances the needs of naval architecture, mechanical engineering, systems and electrical engineering, as well as project management.


                                                      Queen's University         UBC                          USNA


SailBots have a maximum length of two meters, a maximum beam of three meters and a maximum draft of 1.5 meters. There are few other restrictions, which allow for a wide variety of solutions. The boats must be, as much as possible, designed and built by the students.


The 2008 competition was hosted by the United States Naval Academy from 12-14 May at the Robert Crown Sailing Center. Included this year was an Exhibition Class (Open Class) for those boats and teams that did not meet the SailBot critieria.





Congratulations to Queen's University for winning SailBot 2008! As is typical in early May, Annapolis provided a variety of weather conditions, ranging from 30 knots and rain, to sunny, warm and calm! Teams from three schools participated with close racing and the thinnest of margins. Each boat was quite different and all had some trials and tribulations.


Overall Scores:

Queen's University: 25.5 points

United States Naval Academy: 24.5 points

University of British Columbia: 13 points



Presentation Winner: Queen's

Match Racing Winner: USNA

Station Keeping Winner: Queen's

Long Distance Race Winner: USNA

Navigation Contest: No starters

Exhibition Class Winner: UBC


Competition Gallery:


Link to avi file of match race

Link to another avi of the match race

Additional Information on the USNA SailBot Team

Link to avi of Navy practicing with FT in 17 knots

Link to wmv of Navy practicing in 4 knots

Link to Navy SailBot team promo

Link to Navy SailBot #3, Gill the Boat crossing the Chesapeake


Housing Links:

      (for no-cost housing with local families please contact Paul below)

      Camping - The nearest campground (tent/RV sites and economical cabins)- about 20 minutes away

      Hotels - The nearest hotel (and priciest, but VERY NICE!)

                - Historic hotels and inns within walking distance

                - Various listings

                - An interesting place to stay within walking distance and above one of the best deli's in town.


The nearest airport with commercial service is Baltimore Washington International (BWI). There is also an AmTrak railroad station at the airport.


The weather in Annapolis in mid-June is generally warm, with temperatures between 15-30C. Winds can be 0-30 knots and we may have rain! In other words, expect pretty much anything.



      Prof. Paul Miller, 2011 Event Chairman


Other Links:


      Microtransat - A transAtlantic race for autonomous sail craft

      United States Naval Academy

      USNA Visitor Information

      Naval Academy Sailing




      2009 Paper describing the development of the USNA SailBots, PowerPoint, VelPP for First Time, LC Systems

      2010 Paper describing Gill The Boat

2011 Paper describing Spirit of Annapolis

2011 Paper describing MicroTransat routing

2011 Paper describing USNA systems development



SailBot 2008, 2009 and 2011 were co-sponsored by:


Newport News Shipbuilding



Last modified: 27JAN2012