Avalon: Sailing the Atlantic without a sailor aboard

Very Interesting! The boat will sail, with wind power, and will not have a fax machine to produce weather maps, or a lookout to report storms. Very 19th Century! On the other hand, you will have GPS to give you your position to a few CM.! (I was lucky to get within a Nautical Mile!) So you will have position and velocity. I assume your robot will also log the boat's water speed and heading. The difference between the water speed plus heading, and the velocity, gives you the current.

I assume your navigator robot knows not to sail through the Sargasso Sea, where there is no wind... South from Eire to about 20 North, then west to the Caribbean is one way.

And if your barometer starts falling, turn right! Keep the wind about 15 degrees to starboard from dead astern. Sail counter-clockwise around the low pressure area.

Can you reef your sail in a strong wind? Or do you toss out a sea anchor and keep the sheet slack? If you encounter a sudden strong wind on either beam, let out the sheet and turn into the wind. There are strong winds that don't seem to be connected to clouds or thunderstorms. You will need to be able to avoid capsizing.

Talk to the people who sail the Atlantic (as opposed to steaming across). Consider what kind of wind you can handle on your beam, and what to do about it!

Good Sailing to you!

Bill Grenoble - 07.05.09

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