These pages may not present clearly on some small smartphone screens; please use a normal large screen on a desktop, laptop, or tablet in landscape mode. Thankyou. © Robin Lovelock.

GPS Guided Trans-Atlantic Robot Boat
Cockleshell Heroes Dr Strangelove Snoopy the Viking will attempt the Atlantic again, from UK to USA, in his little robot boat. The "Microtransat Challenge" is a French idea.
Snoopy's rescue in 2015: See 2015 Attempt and the I-GotU track. Robin thanks the Royal Marines SBS. Beers ? Video on left added.
from Robin: see my Home page, for an introduction to who I am. e.g. the Dr Strangelove video on the right. Love and Strength to All.
See below for the details of Snoopy's UK to USA Atlantic Attempts and testing of Team-Joker's boats for the next. RM LCU on horizon.

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Snoopy's GPS Guided Trans-Atlantic Robot Boat

This "Snoopy" page was updated at 1315 UK time ( 1315z GMT/UT/GPS Time ) on Tuesday 2nd January 2024. Snoopy's Robot Boat to cross Atlantic from UK to USA Robin
PRESS ( or anyone ): If you 'phone, mention "2024", so I know you have seen this :-)

Aleksey's Sailing Saucer page MicroMite Computer

See Aleksey's Sailing Saucer for some original thinking from Russia.
See the MicroMite Computer - fantastic software from Australia, better than that for the Arduino. Our Picaxe and MicroMite Autopilots can go into other robot boats. See American Toy Boat lands in Wales . See Epsom College Trans-Atlantic robot boat . Snoopy's Team-Joker friend, Woodstock , is testing technology for future years ! While Snoopy waits for weather, we experiment with other robot boats: See Eric's Model Boat page and Woodstock .

Play "The Early Years" video to see those early prototype trials after 2008 :-)

Click here for latest SPOT map You can click on Snoopy's SPOT Map or the picture on the left, to see where Snoopy is now. The damaged Spot Trace Satcomms tracker was replaced on 18th April 2023. See the latest Blog10 for 2023 & 2024, with details of repairs and tests on Snoopy's boat after it's 2022 Attempt, described below :-)

Snoopy's August 2022 Atlantic Attempt and Camper Trip Preperation for the 2022 Attempt is in the old Blog8. e.g. plans for next boat; day by day progress on construction and tests.

Blog9 included preperation and Snoopy's 2022 Atlantic Attempt , with that video on the right. That's June in our Camper, used to take Snoopy down to Boscombe for the 2022 launch. You will see Team-Joker guys including Dick, launching Snoopy, watched by others :-)

Snoopy went "Missing in Action" on 1st September near Weymouth, but, 6 weeks later, on Saturday 22nd October 2022, sailed into Rottingdean Beach, east of Brighton ! See that video below, on the left :-)

It may take days, weeks, or months to know what happened - and learn from Snoopy's Mission, to prepare for the next Trans-Atlantic Attempt - now 2024 :-| Snoopy returns video

Robin is now sure that Snoopy failed because he forgot to file a flat on the steel rod fixed to the rudder. Stupid boy Robin ! :-) This is needed so that the grub screw, in the rudder lever, can prevent it working loose. The result, in rough seas, would have been the rudder working loose, sliding out of the boat, allowing some sea water to come into the waterproof box at the back. Flat filed on rudder shaft to take grub screw The result of even a small amount of salt water, is electrical leakage and loss of battery power. Hence the SPOT Trace Satcoms failing - and probably everything else ! Click or Tap on that image of the rudder lever, on right, to see repairs in Blog10 showing preperation for the 2023 Atlantic Attempt .

Snoopy Robot Boat Early Years video Of course - it's still amazing how far east Snoopy "sailed", and what a great time and place to sail into ! See more of the 2022 Attempt under 2. Latest News in Contents List below.

Tap or Click on pictures to expand picture or play video. Maybe you can help us thank whatever or whoever helped Snoopy travel so far east back to us ? ;-) Meanwhile, don't forget those early years of interesting prototype trials on the right :-) white strip

Contents of this page (click on a link to skip to that section) :

Snoopy the Viking on Snoopy Sloop robot boat

An important message to Americans, from Snoopy the Viking ...

USA Flag UK Flag "Hi Guys ! I've lived so many years in Europe, I hope you don't think that I have "gone native". These clothes were given me by McDonalds, when they gave out clones of me around the World, and they are appropriate: Vikings were the first to reach American shores, long before the French or British. I'm looking forward to coming back home to my mother-land of USA, if and when that idiot Robin succeeds in making me a suitable boat. Sorry about his insistence in our boats flying the British Flag: I'm sure he is only doing it to annoy you. I often hear him muttering, 'we should never have worn red, and marched in a straight line'! I hope to see you soon: I will give you plenty of warning !"

1. Introduction by Robin ...

Robin New Team-Joker Guys video Snoopy on a Sailing Bottle I'm Robin Lovelock, and the Press have described me as a "retired NATO scientist". I set up this page in early 2008, when I started this crazy hobby project: developing a small robot boat, capable of sailing itself across the Atlantic, from UK to USA. There is more about me, our family, my earlier defence systems career, then GPS software business, on my Home page. Click on Snoopy sailing a bottle for an earlier hobby project: tracking GPS Bottles thrown into the sea. We learnt a lot about wind and tide - very applicable to robot boats ! The Team-Joker Guys video was made in October 2018, and tells you a little about the guys working with me on Snoopy's Trans-Atlantic Attempts.

It is many decades since our academic years, and, since retiring, we are now all too busy for paid work :-)

After browsing this page and others, you can form your own opinion on myself and this rather challenging project. My local friend John told me about the friendly Microtransat international competition, and I was soon hooked. It was Yves Briere in France, who first suggested the idea in 2004, at a conference. Their early attempts fired my enthusiasm.

The French boat from Team ENSTA Bretagne. Click here for 2012 event. That's a French boat on the right and at the very top of this page. Below that is the 2014 American boat. Click on these pictures for the French and USA teams - also with small boats. From there you can go to other Microtransat pages, maintained by Aberystwyth University in UK. Their web site has been the focus for this activity since 2005, after Dr Mark Neal, at the University, and Yves, conceived the "Microtransat Challenge". Their site includes the rules, teams "competing", and tracking of their robot boats. Over the years, several teams have tried, but all these heroic attempts only survived a few days or a few hundred miles. A journalist pointed out to me, in 2012, that Snoopy had already sailed over 5,000 miles, during our reliability testing of him on Bray Lake in 2012. Snoopy has done a lot more sailing since then, and that's why I am confident Snoopy has as much chance as the other teams ! :-)

crazy surfy You will find links below to more detailed pages, amusing TV broadcasts, newspaper articles, and home videos, of Snoopy's attempts on the Atlantic since November 2012. Watch our attempts to "beat the surf" in March 2013: now we know how to do it - with Magic Seaweed ! Later in 2013, and in 2014, Snoopy made Atlantic attempts, but these ended up on the Isle of Wight, with the same boat being rescued by Dick, with little damage. The Attempt on 30th November 2014, was better: Snoopy got as far as Weymouth, but crash landed near Portland Bill - undamaged.

The United States Naval Academy boat. Click here for 2014 event. The same boat tried again in March 2015, and this was the best attempt yet - and the most interesting of all. Who did that "rescue at sea", with Snoopy ending up at a Brighton Night Club ? Snoopy's very first attempt was in 2012, and that was, until 2015, the most mysterious story of all - we never did find where he went, after visiting that old military bunker on the Isle of Wight :-)

I give this page a "tidy-up" when I can, moving material onto other linked pages. Over the years I've found it valuable, despite it's limitations, to save everybody's time, when chatting to me directly: I am a very slow email typer ! These pages should be of help to all in contact with me, including journalists and friends helping, both near me in UK, and in far off countries. Many of my friends now providing invaluable help, first made contact with me after seeing the BBC TV South broadcast, or a Newspaper article. Thank you everybody ! :-)

Most of Team-Joker friends, and myself, can only spend a small ammount of our time on this Robot Boat hobby. See my Home page and that "Bigger Picture". Or just see very recent videos on my Youtube channel: We are still getting out and about, with Robin getting up to mischief :-)

Robin, June, and other Team-Joker members, had other things taking their time. e.g. Coping with Covid19 ; Health problems; That Flat Roof & Kitchen work is still on-going. June likes her tennis; Robin likes minimum hassle and spending time with Grumpy Old Men :-) Click on pictures to expand, play, or visit the relevant page. Robin claims that some of his friends, and work-mates over the years, are crazier than he. We all have our "crosses to bear", be it recent bereavement, physical health, addiction, or stigma resulting from mental health problems. Sometimes many things overlap, such as helping friends, making new ones, or doing work in the Garden . Robin prefers to just oversee work ;-) See also Walks and The Bigger Picture :-) white strip Xmas18 piccy Peter and Dick Xmas19 piccy LOSW 1 Xmas19 piccy LOSW 2 Xmas19 Tennis Bansal family friends Flat roof white strip NHSCARE Frimley Park Hosptal Visit Counter after reply to Microtransat Group Adam Afriye Gardening before a wedding white strip white strip

To young students, or older guys, wanting to try Systems Design, Electronics, Software, and ENGINEERING ....

The Microtransat Challenge, of getting a small robot sailing boat to cross the Atlantic, unaided, was conceived as something to get students interested in a range of subjects, including software, electronics, mechanical engineering, and a very wide range of subjects. I've put this image here below, to act as a summary of Snoopy's Robot Boat design, and a "shortcut" to the old Design page. It explains what "Kiss" means. You may also wish to see my Q&A page, on things like how any boat will be effected by wind and tide. Before choosing a programming language, do a bit of research on things like Wiki, and consider how difficult, or simple, it might be to calculate the distance and direction from the boat's GPS position, to the next waypoint. There are a huge range of languages, and some are used in Mission Critical embedded systems. In no particular order: Joviel, CORAL66, Ada, which link to others, such as FORTRAN, PASCAL, BASIC. Mission critical systems, such as controlling a rocket, flying an aircraft, or handling battlefield communications, need "the right tools for the job" - and "the right systems approach". When choosing components, good if it uses Industry-Standard interfaces. e.g. 5v power, RS232 serial data, etc. Remember that suppliers "go bust", change product, or become too expensive, so you may wish to buy stock in quantity, and "keep your options open" for changing something, when you need to ;-) Snoopy's Robot Boat design white strip white strip

"PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH SNOOPY - it may disqualify him",

Snoopy's first Atlantic Attempt was in 2012 ...
BBC TV South broadcast of launch, reported by Ben Moore, BBC Reporter

Play the BBC November 2012 video of Snoopy's launch on BBC TV South News with Robin getting soaked. Then family video of Snoopy's 2012 launch with BBC reporters too :-)
Play the June 2014 video of Snoopy's Robot Boat for 2014 and 2015 Microtransat Challenge for the big picture. e.g. details of this year's boat and lessons learned.

See Snoopy's March 2015 Atlantic Attempt. ... launched from Boscombe on 18th March... SPOT tracker stopped on 27th... Landed at Brighton on 30th ! How DID Snoopy do that ? :-)
Atlantic Attempt March 2015

2. Latest News on Snoopy's Attempts to cross the Atlantic ...

January 2023: Robin is reminding guys of the early GPS Simulation work, using his old GPS Software called GPSS. He is seeking help in finding more recent hardware and software, able to run old and proven applications - not just GPSS ;-) Tap or Click on these images to play videos or visit relevant pages, such as Robin's DOWNLOADS page.

white strip GPS Simulation with GPSS GPS Simulation and running GPSS on recent platforms GPS Simulation and running GPSS on recent platforms Video of GPSS the Free GPS Software white strip

Earlier "Latest News" is below, describing Snoopy's August 2023 Atlantic Attempt, then miraculous return into Rottendean :-)

Snoopy's miraculous return into Rottingdean after 6 weeks at sea ...

Snoopy returns video

Snoopy went "Missing in Action" on 1st September near Weymouth, but, 6 weeks later, on Saturday 22nd October 2022, sailed into Rottingdean Beach, east of Brighton - without a rudder !

It may take days, weeks, or months to know what happened - and LEARN from Snoopy's Mission, to prepare for the 2023 Atlantic Attempt. e.g. repair this boat or build the next.

see Blog9 for background, and more information and videos when available - from anyone ;-)

Snoopy returns video - the box Here is the description of that Youtube video on the left - now with automatic subtitles and translation into your language:-)
QUOTE: is a 32 minute first rough cut video, recording events on Saturday 22nd October 2022. Snoopy's little Trans-Atlantic boat had gone "missing in action" two days after being launched by Team-Joker guys, on Tuesday 30th August, from the usual place, not far west of Boscombe Pier. Winds were such that our best guess, if everything had failed, is that Snoopy would wash up on a 45 mile stretch of beach between Weymouth and Torquay. Imagine everyon'e's surprise that, 8 weeks later, Snoopy should come sailing in onto Rottingdean beach, east of Brighton, at 1030 BST (0930 GMT) on Saturday 22nd October ! He had been watched, through a telescope, by Amanda and her family, relaxing near their beach hut. Amanda saw Robin's mobile number on the sails, and 'phoned Robin, working in his garden in Sunninghill. This was just as June arrived back from tennis, and so we soon agreed to drive our old car, the 1,5 hours down to Rottingdean. June & Robin had a lovely afternoon there, eating fish & chips by the beach hut, with Amanda's family, who then helped carrying Snoopy back to their car. June & Robin then enjoyed exploring the lovely historic Rottingdean, that they had never seen before. This video may help Robin's friends around the World, particularly in England, work out how on earth Snoopy managed to get back so far east. The smelly seaweed on the boat tells Robin that Snoopy spent much of those weeks, laying on a stretch of beach somewhere. It will not be the first time it happened, but if someone found Snoopy, then dropped him off-shore of Brighton, Robin owes them a favour ! :-) However, particular thanks must go to Amanda and her family: husband Richard and teenage children Phoebe and Patrick. Not just for return of Snoopy, but the lovely time and information about Rottingdean. UNQUOTE. Tap on that picture from Amanda on the right, to see others, and much more, on the Blog9 page. white strip Snoopy's friend, the French Frog

See Snoopy's June 2019 Atlantic Attempt for that trip to France and back - didn't Snoopy do well without a rudder ! ? :-)

Snoopy and Woodstock pressups In short: Snoopy surprised us by sailing south to Cherbourg, on the French Coast, chased by Dick with bicycle on a cross-channel ferry; but then Snoopy changed his mind and turned back, followed by Dick. Peter and Dick collected Snoopy from Lulworth Cove and the boat is now safely at Robin's home in Sunninghill.

Details of Snoopy's earlier aborted October 2018 Atlantic Attempt are now in section 5.11 below. In short: a fault was seen in the SPOT Trace tracker, and - despite perfect launch conditions - the attempt was cancelled. It was hoped that the SPOT fault had been fixed, by updating the firmware, but road testing showed we still had a problem. But, on 29th March 2019, the fault was eventually diagnosed as a poorly soldered power connection ! This was fixed, and the problem went. Details are in Blog7 . The recent work, in test and repair of Snoopy's boat 11, following that eventful June 2019 Attempt, is in Blog8 .

Details of the boat are still almost identical to that for 2018 . Weight is now 14.6 kg. Computer is Picaxe 28X2. Video can be that below from Monday 1st October 2018. New Microtransat Finish Line target Lat/Lon: 38.4853,-66.3933 , subject to verification. Snoopy's later waypoints and final destination are in the next section below: 3. Snoopy's route ... How long will it take ?

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2.1. Tests before an Atlantic Attempt - taken from end of Blog6 ...

See "BlogX", describing background experimental work from 2008 until now. See the Recce, Compass , Software , and many Blog pages, for details of the vast ammount of experiments and testing, done over the years. Yes, there is a lot there, and you need a wide screen to scroll through it. I wish I'd written the blogs tidier, but they are better than nothing, and my time is precious.

Play the video to see how well Snoopy's 2014 boat 10 did against the smaller experimental boat 6 on 11th July 2014. The speech from the autopilot of Boat6 implies it was using experimental compass-based steering. i.e. "ahead, ahead, left, ahead", etc. Boat 10 used our old, trusted, GPS-Only steering. Why did Boat6 win ? Much less weight: see the Blog for Boats 11 and 12 having a race with identical autopilots on Thursday 6th July 2017, three years later. We can learn a lot from what we did in earlier years, if we write it down - or better still, film it :-) white strip

2.2 The Atlantic Attempt itself ...

white strip Snoopy's launch window Every boat starts with weeks, or even months, of testing on Bray Lake. Each year we wait for a suitable "Weather Window", with FLAT surf, an offshore breeze from the North, and a minimum of three for our launch team, avoiding holidays, etc. We watch MagicSeaweed for FLAT surf, an off-shore wind, and no rain. We also watch Winds Expected. Live wind data for Calshot Spit is on Snoopy needs a day with suitable conditions for launch, to sail south to about 15 miles off the coast, before heading west, along the English Channel, and into the Atlantic. Ideally, we want close to a week of following wind, from the East or North, rather than from West or South. These wind conditions occur when a LOW pressure area passes to the South, rather than the North of the UK.

While Snoopy's Boat waits for the "launch window", we can still experiment with the Boat(s) for next year, or things like even smaller boats, better autopilots, or live monitoring of Snoopy's position relative to shipping. Checkout the new Boat 12 page, showing Eric's 1 metre long boat smashing the Bray Lake Test record. If you have the stamina, you can see the BlogX "Experimental Blog" page :-)

We now launch Snoopy from west of Boscombe Pier. You can click on Snoopy's SPOT Map or the picture on the right, to see where Snoopy is now. The detail of Snoopy's preperation for each attempt, including repairs, modifications, and testing, is in the current Blog8. e.g. plans for next boat; day by day progress on construction and tests.

Click here for latest SPOT map For those interested, see "Summary of design used in 2012, 2013 and 2014 boats ...", near the front of the Design page. The Q&A page discusses the effect of a strong tidal flow on robot sailing boats. We have a Tide Page, as an aid to understanding the best launch time, on a particular day. e.g. three hours ahead of Portsmouth High Water.

A different launch spot, such as near Sandbanks Beach Cafe , might get around a problem with wind direction, but what if the waves are big ? crazy surfy To appreciate our problem, if we don't have those FLAT surf conditions, simply look at our March 2013 Atlantic Attempts page, and play the March 2013 video. Volunteers are welcome, if you are not putting anyone's lives at risk: we don't mind you getting wet :-)

Snoopy's SPOT Map will show where Snoopy is now. This might be at Bray Lake, at home in Sunninghill, on the way down to the coast - or at sea, on his way to the USA. Click on the map on the left, to see the detail.

Sunninghill to Boscombe Pier Windmill Boat Before making an Atlantic attempt, Snoopy has several weeks of "24/7 tests", to ensure all the boat is reliable. Snoopy sailed over 5,000 miles on Bray Lake in 2012, and has sailed a lot further since then ! If the wind drops to below about 1mph - as often happens at night - Snoopy "goes for a wander". If he gets stuck near the shore, Robin goes over to push Snoopy out again.

Play the 1 minute Video of Snoopy's Cat' (catamaran). Next year's boat ? That's Snoopy on the right, watching Telly, sat on his Windmill Boat :-)

Want to cheer Snoopy on from Boscombe ? Be prepared to sing "Rule Britania!", and bring a Union Jack flag to wave :-)

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3. Snoopy's route ... How long will it take ?

Snoopy's robot boat route from UK to USA and winds This is all academic if Snoopy only survives a few minutes, hours, or even days, but here is my best guess on how long it might take to travel the 5300 miles to the USA. Maybe he might sail at up to 2 mph - if he gets away from the UK shore. The wind needs to be kind on that difficult stretch west, to the Microtransat Start Line. When the wind changes to it's normal direction, from the south-west, it will be VERY slow ! I don't think he would get blown backwards, when trying to sail directly into the wind, but progress would probably average less than 0.1 mph ! I'll keep this section updated, after we launch, and while we are able to track Snoopy, to see how well he progresses, and at what speed, the latest wind predictions, etc.

Click on the picture to the right, to get the wind predictions from We chose this route years ago, to make some use of the southerly trade winds. But we must wait for a "weather window" to avoid a badly positioned LOW !

  • Snoopy driven from Sunninghill to launch spot. e.g. Boscombe. Takes about 1.5 hours. Launch within 30 minutes ?
  • Launch from UK shore and head about 17 miles south to Snoopy's "Channel" waypoint. ( 50° 30'N 1° 40'W = 50.500 -1.667 degrees ) 12 hours @ ~ 1.5 mph average ?
  • "Channel" to "Weymouth" Waypoint: ( 50° 09'N 2° 20'W = 50.15 -2.333 degrees ) ~ 38 miles @ 1.5 mph = + 25 hours ?
  • "Weymouth" to "Prawle" Waypoint: ( 49° 55'N 3° 40'W = 49.917 -3.667 degrees ) ~ 64 miles @ 1.5 mph = + 43 hours ?
  • "Prawle" to "Lizard" Waypoint: ( 49° 20'N 5° 15'W = 49.333 -5.250 degrees ) ~ 80 miles @ 1.5 mph = ~ 7 days ?
  • "Lizard" to Microtransat "Start Line": ( 48° 00'N 12° 00'W = 48.000 -12.000 degrees ) ~ 326 miles @ 1.5 mph = + 9 days = ~ 16 days ?
  • Microtransat "Start Line" to waypoint "Azores": ( 03° 35'N 22° 30'W = 03.583 -22.500 degrees ) ~ 1000 miles @ 1.5 mph = ~ + 4 weeks = > 6 weeks ?
  • "Azores" then 2360 miles west, towards the Microtransat "Finish line", at 60W near the Bahamas. + 10 weeks = ~ 16 weeks ?
  • (Old) Microtransat "Finish Line" at ( 24° 30'N 60° 00'W = 24.500 -60.000 degrees ) 24 30'N 60 00'W.
    Then head towards the USA east coast: maybe 1400 miles. + 6 weeks ? = 22 weeks / 6 months ? ( USA route waypoints are in Blogs )
  • USA Landing near "Mayflower II" ( 41° 57.58'N 70° 39.73'W = 41.95966 -70.66217 degrees ) 6 to 8 months after launch ? Before 1st April 2020 ? :-)

2015 waypoints 2015 waypoints on Marine Traffic As mentioned earlier, Snoopy may only survive a few minutes or hours, but if he DOES reach that first "Channel" waypoint, about 15 miles due south from Barton-on-Sea, this is where he plans to sail next. Click on the maps to see the detail.

After the last 2014 attempt, the waypoints have been modified, based on information on marine traffic, to avoid intensive fishing areas. Snoopy's autopilot software had little change since January 2013, and was programmed to head for a position on what was the old Microtransat Start Line, at 7.5 degrees West. The new Start Line is further west. Snoopy's route from UK to Start Line The intermediate waypoints, south of Weymouth, Prawle, and The Lizard, are intended to reduce the risk of Snoopy "bumping into the shore" due to inaccuracy of keeping his course.

If Snoopy succeeds in eventually crossing the Microtransat Start Line, he should then head south west, to his next waypoint east of The Azores. From there, he should aim for the Microtransat Finish Line, at Longitude 60W. In the unlikely event that Snoopy gets this far, Robin will publish more detail on the route ahead: there seems little risk of that ! :-)

June 2019: The Microtransat Finish Line has changed, so I've added more information on Snoopy's route here. Most is taken from Picaxe Autopilot program source extracts, now in rbroute1.txt . Some is from Snoopy's Blog pages and the GPS Simulator maps. Thanks Peter for calculating that Snoopy's route probably interesects the new Microtransat Finish line at lon -66.369 lat 39.03823. i.e. 39 2.29' N 66 22.14' W. More detail is in Blog7 , including other calculations of where Snoopy's route crosses the new Microtransat Finish Line.

If these are not correct, but Snoopy reaches Mayflower II, I'm sure nobody will argue if he's met the Microtransat Challenge :-)

As Peter rightly said, "It is all rather academic IMHO!" :-)

Snoopy's Route waypoints

First published in January 2015 within Snoopy's Blog4 ... the end of Snoopy's mission from the "East of USA" waypoint, to alongside Mayflower II - allegedly ;-)

Snoopy's Route waypoints

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4. Robin thanks his friends ...

Snoopy says bye-bye to Bray Lake staff
  • All staff at Bray Lake Watersports for use of the lake, numerous rescue missions and coffees. Here they say bye-bye to Snoopy.
  • John Sylvester who started Robin off, provided the team name, and has supplied numerous original ideas. See Team-Joker.
  • Ben Moore, the BBC Reporter who filmed and edited Snoopy's 2012 Atlantic Attempt. See .
  • Dick Bailey, working closely with Robin, who has also rescued Snoopy many times, at his own time and expense. Dick's Facebook.
  • Peter Facey , the photographer, for searching for Snoopy in 2012, and for help with mapping and analysis.
  • The Intelligent Robotics Group at Aberystwyth University, Wales, for organising Microtransat and their own heroic attempts.
  • Yves and the French Teams for first suggesting The Microtransat Challenge years ago, and their repeated heroic attempts.
  • Christophe Thirache in Canada, for help including processing of data for analysis of Snoopy's tracks and GPS simulation.
  • Eric Wardle, for supply of Snoopy Sloop 4, and our best videos. For Eric's videos and photos, see Eric's Model Boat Page.
  • Roy Vaughn, for help on the Picaxe Computer, BBC GPS Bottles Project, and the March 2015 Atlantic Attempt.
  • Gary Carter, the Master Car Mechanic , for donating Snoopy Sloops 1 and 2, when Robin started all this in 2008.
  • Klaus Hirschelmann in Germany, who in 2008, suggested use of SPOT to me and Microtransat Teams. Also for his interfacing card.
  • Those in the Press who've gone "beyond the call of duty" including for the BBC GPS Bottles project.
  • The nice chap at the National Trust who called back with information about the military bunker where Snoopy landed.
  • The nice lady who is Custodian of the Needles Battery and Tweeted for help in 2012.
  • Chris at the UKHO ( UK Hydrographic Office ) for detailed tidal data, indicating "human-intervention" with Snoopy in 2012.
  • Persons unknown within the Royal Marines Special Boat Service for Snoopy's rescue after the March 2015 Attempt.
  • My long-suffering wife, June, and all those that I've yet to thank here :-)

Snoopy with many friends on Bray Lake

5. History of Snoopy's attempt to cross the Atlantic ...

Snoopy Robot Boat Early Years video

5.1 the early years of experiment, from 2008 until 2011 ....

Play "The Early Years" video to see those early prototype trials from 2008. See the introduction in the Experimental Blog Page then detail of ...the early years, from 2008 to 2010 for how we started. Then see near the end of ...from 2011 to 2012 . In brief: we started with small, prototypes, and a Pocket PC - Wind Vane based autopilot. We eventualy reached our design: Picaxe GPS-Only Autopilot, on a 4ft/1.2m long boat.
Snoopy-Sloop 9 is the latest robot boat

5.2 November 2012 Atlantic Attempt ....

See Snoopy's 2012 Attempt to cross The Atlantic for the story from 2012, after he was launched on Tuesday 27th November.
Snoopy's 2012 attempt on Tuesday 27th November
In brief: Snoopy sailed straight towards his destination, despite a strong sideways tide. Then he moved AGAINST the tide ! He then landed on the steps of an old military bunker !

5.3 March 2013 Atlantic Attempts ...

See the page March 2013 Atlantic Attempts for the stories, pictures and videos of us fighting the surf ... Snoopy's attempt on 30th March 2013 - yes ! In brief: Snoopy tried, but failed to get away from the beach, in waves that were bigger than on his 2012 attempt. He went home, to sail another day - in calmer conditions ! :-)

5.4 October 2013 Atlantic Attempt ...

See the page October 2013 Atlantic Attempt for the full story. October 2013 Atlantic Attempt In brief: Snoopy launched at 1215pm Friday 11th, wandered, landed about 3am Saturday, was rescued at 8am. Faulty rudder linkage ?

5.5 September 2014 Atlantic Attempt ...

See the September 2014 Atlantic Attempt Page for the full story in pictures, and the 7 minute video.

September 2014 Atlantic Attempt In brief: Snoopy launched at 0850 Saturday 6th in little wind, wandered, landed Sunday morning and rescued. Not enough wind ? Need a launch spot further west ?

5.6 Aborted November 2014 Atlantic Attempt ...

See the Aborted November 2014 Atlantic Attempt Page for the full story in pictures, and the 5 minute video.

Atlantic Attempt 23 November 2014 map In brief: Snoopy launched at 0830 Sunday 23rd from new spot near Bournemouth: he simply sailed parallel to the beach, due to a software bug, now fixed.

5.7 Good November 2014 Atlantic Attempt ...

See the Good November 2014 Atlantic Attempt Page for the full story in pictures.

Atlantic Attempt 23 November 2014 map In brief: Snoopy launched at 1045 Sunday 30th November from Boscombe Pier. Crash landed on rocks at Portland on Tuesday night. Rescued by Dick almost undamaged.

5.8 March 2015 Atlantic Attempt ...

Snoopy launched at 1100 Wednesday 18th March from Boscombe Pier. Landed in Brighton ! :-) See March 2015 Atlantic Attempt for the full story in pictures and the video.

Atlantic Attempt March 2015 Atlantic Attempt March 2015

In brief: After a few days, the solar power failed, and the boat drifted. Then the SPOT tracker stopped. Ended in Brighton after a "covert rescue" ? :-)

5.9 October 2016 Atlantic Attempt ...

See Snoopy's 2016 Atlantic Attempt for the full story. In brief: Snoopy was lost near Weymouth on 7th October, then probably carried by wind and tide, south west, towards France. We watched Winds Expected and Ventusky for the wind which will decide where Snoopy hits land - but we still don't know where the heck he is :-)

2016 Atlantic Attempt 2016 Atlantic Attempt

5.10 December 2017 Brief Atlantic Attempt ...

See Snoopy's 2017 Brief Atlantic Attempt for the full story. In brief: It was ! Very brief ! In short: Snoopy survived one tumble in the surf, but not the second: his mast broke !

2017 Brief Atlantic Attempt

5.11 Aborted October 2018 Atlantic Attempt ...

2018 Aborted Atlantic Attempt 2018 Aborted Atlantic Attempt Was there a 2018 Atlantic Attempt ? Sadly, no. Details are in Blog7 for 29th October 2018.

In brief, June and Robin saw there was a fault in the SPOT Tracker, on their way down to meet Dick and Peter at Boscombe. The attempt was aborted, but we enjoyed our Halloween night there, including a recce of the beach under what would have been perfect launch conditions.

Team-Joker had other things on their plates, in the following months, and the SPOT tracker fault was not diagnosed and fixed until April 2019. See end of BlogX for details, but in brief: it was a poorly soldered electrical joint !

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5.12 June 2019 Atlantic Attempt - a trip to France and back ...

Peter's plot of all Snoopy's June 2019 Attempt Video of launch in June 2019 Early in June 2019 Atlantic Attempt Video of Shed in 2019 This now has it's own page: Snoopy's June 2019 Atlantic Attempt . Click on pictures to enlarge or play video.

In brief, Snoopy's Boat 11 performed well, and those seven days were an amazing test of the total boat system, including hull, sails, SPOT Tracker, and the Autopilot - maybe ! Conclusions have yet to be drawn.

For the first few days the wind was blowing at over 20 mph, gusting over 30 mph from the east. Waves were above 2.5 metres. Despite all this, Snoopy was not blown downwind, and westward. e.g. onto Studland beach.

Work is in progress to identify what failed, other than the rudder being broken off and lost. Maybe the rudder was lost on the first day: check out those unacounted for movements near that shipping lane,

The history of winds, which changed when Snoopy got near France, and detailed track, compared with passing ships, may give us an explanation.

Robin has a wide network of friends, including Team-Joker, enthusiasts, journalists, retired military, etc, etc - but mostly, Experienced Grumpy Old Men ! :-)

Our Summerhouse continues it's use as a Robot Boat Laboratory and Military Briefing Centre. If you visit, mind the "water" squirters ;-)

Inspection and repair of Boat 11, including it's new rudder, is recorded in Blog7. white strip

5.13 Covid19 stopped Snoopy's 2020 Attempt - but not Phil's Boat or Endevour :-) ...

Click on pictures below to expand: 1) the state of Snoopy's solar panels and wiring, not changed in years ! but it coped with that 2019 trip to France and back, without a rudder ! 2) after majority of work done, with details in Blog8 . "Phil's Boat", built and launched by Phil Smith from Cambridge in UK, is the one that impresses me the most, in all the years I've been interested in the Microtransat Challenge - since 2008. Compare the weight and length of Phil's Boat: Snoopy's Boat 11 is 1.33m and 14.6kg. Phils is just 0.85m and 7 kg ! And most impressive of all, in 2020, Phil's Boat made that difficult journey from Chesil Beach, not far from James Lovelock's place, westward, and out to that start point west of Ireland. Then something broke ! Other small boats Robin likes are those from Epsom College , and Robin gave a little bit of help, with our Wind and Total Tide "Drift" models, to predict where Endevour would land, and tip off someone who might have helped find it. It WAS found ! See Robin's Q&A page. e.g. how these robot sailing boats are moved by wind and tide :-)

Snoopy Boat 11 repairs Snoopy Boat 11 repairs Snoopy Boat 11 repairs Epsom College Endevour lands on Alderney

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5.14 Covid19 and many family things affected Team-Joker checking Snoopy's boat and launching in 2021 ...

Tidy up of this page in progress - Sorry ! :-)

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5.15 Snoopy's August 2022 Attempt - 6 weeks later: sails into Rottingdean near Brighton ! :-) ...

Snoopy had a lovely launch on 30th August 2022, but went "Missing in Action" on 1st September. BUT Snoopy returned on Saturday 22nd October 2022 ! See Blog9 for background, pictures, information and videos such as these below :-) Tap or Click on pictures below to expand picture or play video ...

Snoopy's August 2022 Atlantic Attempt and Camper Trip Snoopy's August 2022 Attempt Snoopy's August 2022 Attempt Snoopy returns video

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6. Design, Construction, and Testing of Snoopy's robot boats ...

See the "Design" Page for the design and construction of Snoopy's robot boats. This includes details of the boats themselves, built from standard model boat parts, but with the hulls filled with foam and strengthened sails. It also includes detail of the electronics, including autopilot, it's software, and the tracking system. Details of testing, including GPS Plots of the "Bray Lake Test", and reports of 24/7 testing and repairs, are in the "Blogs", reached from the current Blog10.

design construction and testing of Snoopy's robot boats

7. Useful links ...

See Snoopy's First Attempt to cross The Atlantic in 2012, in March 2013 in the surf , October 2013, September 2014, Aborted then Good 2014 Attempt and Last in March 2015.
Play the June 2014 video of Snoopy's Robot Boat for Microtransat for the "big picture". e.g. details of the 2014 (and 2015) boat, and lessons learned.
See The Microtransat Challenge maintained by Aberystwyth University in UK, for Microtransat competition details, including rules and the other teams.
See our Q&A (Questions & Answers) page. e.g. Do you understand the tide ? See old GPS bottles in the sea , drifting with wind and tide.
See Robin's old "on water" page - not updated for over 14 years - until recently, with detail of the 1998 round-the-World race and old pictures.
For Snoopy's next attempt, see for when surf will be FLAT, Winds expected for an offshore wind, and Boscombe Webcam for a live picture.
See for other shipping near Snoopy. See UK Winds , Sailflow Winds , Met Office Rain & Wind, World Sea conditions , Temperatures and Sunshine.
See the Design page for details of Snoopy's 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 boats, built for the Atlantic Attempts, and SPOT communications coverage map.
See the Blog1, Blog2, Blog3, Blog4, Blog5, and Current Blog6 pages for progress in tests, repairs, etc, to prepare for each attempt. click here for a high res. copy of this picture
of Snoopy's new boat, taken on 21 March 2013.
See the BlogX page for experimental work, including Compass and techical stuff such as Software - and even Snoopy's Paint !
See the Picaxe Forum Thread for the history, since August 2009, of Snoopy's Picaxe Autopilot Software - where Robin's got advice.
See Snoopy's Windmill boat and play the Windmill Boat video - for what may appear in later years ? :-)
See Robin's Snoopy Sloop robot boat - progress in 2011 and 2012 for detail removed from this front page.
See Robin's Snoopy Sloop robot boat - the early years, from 2008 to 2010 for how we started.
See The Search for Snoopy in his 2012 Robot Boat for more information such as the map showing coverage of searches done in 2012.
See The 2012 Microtransat Map for Snoopy and the French. This SPOT Track is from the Mail Online. This Map before deletion.
See Bournmouth live web-cam for the weather and size of waves.
Play the video of Snoopy's launch on BBC TV News , Robin getting wet, then our family video of Snoopy's launch with reporters too :-)
Play our 2012 Snoopy-Sloop history video. The underwater TV recce/winch boat used in 2009 is in the 5 minute "Rescue of Snoopy" video
Play the 3 minute Robot Boat Sounds: past, present and future video September 2012 Text-To-Speech and video of Snoopy Sloop for 2013.
Play the 15 minute Snoopy-Sloop 2013 video with latest boat, the 2012 attempt, all boats since 2008 - or the 5 minute version here :-)
Play the 7 minute utube video of Snoopy's Atlantic Attempt on 23rd March .
Play the 7 minute utube video of Snoopy's Atlantic Attempt on 30th March .
Play the 2 minute video of Snoopy Sloop 9 in June 2013 on Bray Lake
Play the 10 minute Video of Snoopy's October 2013 Atlantic Attempt.
Play the 14 minute January 2014 Video of a Bray Lake test, with the new deck camera.
Play the Video of Snoopy's Bray Lake Test on 13th September 2014.

Ben, Snoopy and Robin

7.1 What the Papers say ... Don't believe all you read in the papers :-)

Read Jasper Coppings article in the Sunday Telegraph the Sunday before launch. The backup, translatable version is Here.
Read BBC News report of "crash landing" here or Nice pictures and amusing words in The Mail Online here :-)
The news about Snoopy even got as far as New Zealand, in the Wellington,NZ Dom-Post article :-)
First paper: Snoopy prepared for self-navigating Atlantic voyage by Paul Miles in Maidenhead Advertiser on 5th September 2012.
Journalists may have started with our Press Release and video, but editors need to edit : the meaning may not remain the same :-)
Robin says to Tim Robinson of BBC Radio Solent , "This is the guy who lost one of my GPS bottles last year !" :-)
Higher resolution pictures for the Press ... Snoopy, Mug, Boat, Robin, BenTV, Launch, TimRobin, Cat, NewBoat

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7.2 Earlier news and even more videos ...

Bray Lake Test in Strong Wind Video Thursday 7th December 2017 Earlier News: Snoopy was to try again on Sunday 7th January 2018, just before High Tide. But see First 2018 Seaside Trip Page . In brief: surf was much higher than predicted, so Snoopy chickened out :-)

Meanwhile, we work with friends around the World on relevant technology. e.g. alternative SatComs, Radio, and GSM communications; low cost GPS-Tracker-Camera products; Dick checked out a PocketCam GPS-Tracker-Camera near Portsmouth.

See Woodstock's tests on Horseshoe lake, including new technology.

In 2017 Snoopy had 10 days of 24/7 test on Bray Lake. Then we spent weeks diagnosing problems of EMC radio interference with his GPS units - easily fixed. It was that FM Transmitter bug ! Then diagnosing "zig-zag sailing" that had plagued us for years: understeering - also easily fixed. See "2.2 The Atlantic Attempt itself" below, for details such as where Snoopy will sail from. See Blog7 for later news, and details of preperation for the next Atlantic Attempt. See BlogX for supporting experimental work, for use in this and later robot boats. Click on pictures to enlarge or play.

white strip Dick sailing with PocketCam Hybrid Autopilot Tea Tray Test 2 Snoopy and Dick's Mavic Drone Sailing Test on 21st April 2017 video on 6th July 2017 video on 10th August 2017 10 Minute video at Bray Lake on 16th August 2017 Video of Bray Lake 24/7 Tests Bray Lake on 26th September 2017 SUP Championship at Bray Lake on 30th September 2017 video of Tests at Horshoe Lake on Friday 22 September 2017 white strip

You may like that 16th August video above, with Peter and the Australian MicroMite. Team-Joker now has Horseshoe Lake as an alternative to Bray Lake for tests.

Here are some videos of testing Team-Joker's "Woodstock" on Horseshoe lake, starting with the Woodstock Team Briefing ... white strip Woodstock Team Preperation Woodstock on Horseshoe Lake Woodstock Test Woodstock Test Woodstock Test Part 2

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Woodstock on Bray Lake, starting with a radio control test. Woodstock Tacking Tests including with Snoopy. Meanwhile, Boat 11 relaxes at home ;-) white strip Woodstock Test on Bray Lake on 26 April 2018 Woodstock on Bray Lake Test on 27 June 2018 Woodstock on Bray Lake in Strong Wind on 28 July 2018 Woodstock Tacking Test on Bray Lake Woodstock and Snoopy on 6 Dec 2018

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Fun and games with Team-Joker, Woodstock , and Snoopy on Bray Lake on 13th and 17th January, then Saturday 9th February 2019. Click on pictures to play video or enlarge. white strip Woodstock and Snoopy on 13 Jan 2019 GPS Plot of Snoopy on 13 Jan 2019 Swans and Woodstock and Snoopy on 17 Jan 2019 GPS Plot of Snoopy 12 on 17 Jan 2019 Woodstock in Storm Erik on 9th February 2019 white strip

8. a typical visit to Bray Lake ...

Robin videos Snoopy's return Robin has added this section, which may be of interest to journalists, who want to "tag along" to get some photos or video. It may also be of help to dog-walkers, who probably wonder why that strange man, seems to be talking to himself, and listening to several radios on the roof of his car.

Snoopy has started making regular visits to Bray Lake again, to prepare him for his next attempt on the Atlantic, expected before Christmas. Bray Lake is near Maidenhead, not far from the M4 motorway junction, and about 20 minutes drive from Robn's home in Sunninghill. You can find out more by looking at the bottom of the Press Release, or simply visit

Maidenhead Sailing Club webcam Robin normally avoids days when it is raining, or when there is no wind at all. He therefore checks web sites like the Met Office, RainToday, and the Maidenhead Sailing Club web cam.

One of the boats are normally ready, and are quickly loaded into the back of Robin's rusty old Mercedes E240 estate car, which was once silver, before discoloured by rust and mud. Important junk added to the car include wellies (the waders are reserved for sea launches), a cheap transistor radio - to pick up speech from Snoopy's computer, a Pocket PC based GPS to record a plot of Snoopy's path on the lake, and - maybe most important of all - Robin's camcorder - so he can record everything, rather than rely on his flakey memory.

GPS plot near Base at Bray Lake Most people park on the right, just before the club house, but Robin has the combination to the barrier, so parks his car near the "Base", a few yards past the club house. Snoopy is usually launched within 5 minutes of Robin arriving. First Robin switches on the Pocket PC, since it takes a minute or two to "warm up" and start recording GPS data. He puts on his wellies, and leans Snoopy against a post, with a tranny radio switched on to pick up the computer's speech. The computer is switched on, and within a few minutes it is speaking and ready to launch.

Robin about to launch Snoopy Robin then uses his camcorder to shoot less than a minutes video, saying things like the date, any changes to Snoopy's boat, and showing what the wind strength and direction was.

Snoopy sailing in a good wind Snoopy is then dropped in the water, and soon after, Robin shoots video. A typical video might last an hour or more, and occasionally a few small clips might be used in edited videos made public. However, the main purpose of Robin's video, is to add yet another unedited video DVD to his collection at home. It provides a useful record of what happened.

Snoopy usually sails around the "Bray Lake Test" within an hour, and possibly as quickly as 20 minutes. This usually depends on the wind direction: the fastest trips are usually with a gentle breeze of 5 to 10 mph from the north-west, which means Snoopy does not need to tack towards a waypoint directly upwind. If the wind is particularly "unkind", Snoopy's trip might take much longer than an hour: the slow bit is always where he needs to sail upwind.

Snoopy is rescued He will normally return accurately to his Base, where he started, but occasionally he might end up stuck in reeds on the far bank, tangled in trees on the island, or snagged on the mooring for a floating jetty. That's when Robin calls in the "Rescue Team" from the club house, and pops another £5 into their drinks kitty :-)

If Snoopy has been left over at Bray Lake for 24/7 reliability tests, he will have his SPOT tracker, which may not always be with him, if it is being worked upon. Robin will occasionally go over to visually check Snoopy, or push him out again, if he has drifted into the bank due to the wind having dropped overnight.

9. Snoopy's Bray Lake Test ... sail 530 metres automatically, through 5 waypoints ...

Bray Lake used for testing of the robot boats

GPS plot of a Bray Lake Test in March 2014: solving the zig-zag sailing, giving a straighter and faster path ...

GPS plot of recent Bray Lake Test by robot boat 9

Snoopy's boat on test before the 2014 Atlantic attempt. That's Robin sat on the bank. Filmed by experimental boat 6 with a Mobius camera.

Snoopy Corner

Another frame from the Mobius video camera, used for Bray Lake tests. Robin watches from near his car, at the "Base" position.

from Mobius camera

Snoopy's preparation in 2012 for the Atlantic crossing - the first taste of salt water ! ...

boat 6 first test in sea

10. the Microtransat List and who visits this page ?

Robin Lovelock from Robin Lovelock in Sunninghill, Ascot, England: this section tells you when, and from roughly where, guys are visiting this "Snoopy" page. Sometimes it may even give a clue to their organisation. e.g. a visit from Aberwystwyth might be someone working in their University Microtransat Team. Start with a visit to Snoopy's Microtransat Contact List. You may even wish to join it. I certainly welcome private emails from those interested in robot boats, even if you don't want to do it publicly.

As I say on other pages, it's very convenient for me, that there are so few visitors to this page: See map and words near end of my Home page ;-)

Visit Counter after reply to Microtransat Group The visit counters may give a rough indication on who else is visiting, or has visited, this page. I don't hide or disguise my visits, but they may appear as "Ascot", or miles away, like "Farnborough, England" (on my Study PC), or "Southend-on-Sea, England" ( on the Lounge PC). Positions may not be accurate, but times are. These may change at any time, without control by me. So, you may see if I'm "working" in the Study, or "playing" in Lounge :-)

Not all visits are seen, and some browsers hide location, but you may find Revolvermaps livestats for this "Snnopy" page interesting.

The video on the right shows several guys visiting at the same time, after I posted the link to my Covid19 page on the Microtransat forum :-)

The rest of you: please do not hesitate to contact me, with an email to my (on my Contact page). Please tell me a little about yourself, such as what country, nearest town, and any interest in robot sailing boats or the Microtransat Challenge. Be sure to say what time you visited this "Snoopy" page, and what brought you to it.

If you know the guys who rescued Snoopy in March 2015, I owe you some beers ! :-)

There have been Hit Counter by Digits visits to this page counted by since 20th August 2015.

white strip Snoopy's friend, the French Frog

the French ENSTA-Bretagne boat, braving the Atlantic waves !

robot boat from the French Team, braving the Atlantic waves !

© 1991-2020 Robin Lovelock. Please credit if you use material from any of these pages. Thankyou.