Thanks DIYDrones community! We at the Royal Military College of Canada used the Ardupilot software and ground station as a basis for programming our 2m autonomous wing-sailed trimaran. This made our lives much easier while building and programming the boat during the 3 month time frame before it competed in Sailbot 2010

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Comment by Troy on July 16, 2010 at 10:40pm
Thank you!

I'm working with my 2M RC boat. Hoping I can skip the compass and get by with a GPS, and a "$10 home-made potentiometer based wind instrument". So far my pot on the wind vane is to stiff. It needs a longer lever or something easier to turn (opto encoder?).

Planing similar code of head to way point if it can otherwise tack back and forth until it can head to the way point. Also define a polygon (bounds of sailing area) that it has to stay inside of.

Comment by Glenn Langton on July 18, 2010 at 3:44pm
Hi Troy, I've been working on a wind direction finder for small boats and I've found a magnetic shaft encoder with low friction ball bearings that has worked really well for me. It's not as cheap as a simple potentiometer but it has 360 degrees of free rotation and is reasonably small. As long as the attached vane is balanced properly, this should be a great solution for you.
Comment by Troy on July 26, 2010 at 3:32pm
Thanks Glenn. Looks like a good encoder for the job.
Sorry a bit slow to reply. (was out camping all last week without i-net)
Comment by Aevi Goth on June 12, 2013 at 7:38pm

I have a sail boat project going.... I have installed a small brusless motor to a basic 2m sail boat. The idea is to have the boat travel from way point to waypoint. I'd like to use it for FPV sailing :) the idea incorporates a brusless gimble to stabilize the cam.... I'd be very interested in the code you have there :)

I'd like to be able to use the sail when possible, and the motor as a back up.. . any ideas?

Comment by Robbie Edwards on June 13, 2013 at 6:51am

Hey Brian,
All this was written 3 years ago. By the time we got it working it had turned into quite a hack-job to get things working. We also had an airfoil tail instead of a sheet line. We later switched that to a worm gear system to turn the sail. All that is piled on the code. 

It is available here:
What you really may be interested in though is the BOAT_NAV page which is summed up here: It may not be state of the art robotics but those if statements have been quite reliable. Please keep us posted on your design. 

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on June 13, 2013 at 6:56am

Glad to see the interest in autonomous boats. If any of you would like to help set up an ArduBoat manual (next to the Plane, Copter and Rover manuals), we'd be glad to handle the backend stuff and host it. Just let me know and I'll put you in touch with the editorial team. 

Comment by Robbie Edwards on June 13, 2013 at 8:54am

I would love to help out but I am afraid I have never actually used the ArduBoat software. 

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on June 13, 2013 at 8:57am

Robbie, I don't think there's any ArduBoat software per se. I was assuming it was just the ArduRover software, but with different usage instructions for boats. 

Comment by Troy on June 13, 2013 at 12:41pm

Glad to see some renewed intrust in autonomous boats. I haven't done much with mine for a long time but I still poke at it every once in a while.

I think SailBoats should have there own code base, because sailing is its own creature (not like ArduRover , or even ArduBoat). I don't intend to steer the boat toward a way point, but rather steer it towards a relative wind direction. Then a 2nd much slower loop will choose that relative wind direction based on what is useful to get to the way point.

So far I have been using ArduPilot as my starting code base, although only using it as a set of libraries to read GPS and drive drive servos.

Comment by Robbie Edwards on June 13, 2013 at 8:18pm

That is exactly how I would do it Troy. I have always wanted to do autonomous sailing 'right'. I've been thinking about buying a nice 1-2m conventional sailboat and reworking some code. Sailing seems to be a considerably complex path planning problem if you are shooting for an optimal solution.  This would be quite interesting to work on. I can already see my spare time this summer disappearing. 


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