GPS Guided Trans-Atlantic Robot Boat
Snoopy was launched 18th March, on the UK south coast, in an attempt to reach the USA. The "Microtransat Challenge" is a French idea. That's a French boat above !
Le "Microtransat Challenge" est une idée française. Ce est un bateau français ci-dessus! English or American speakers - look further down ! :-)

Message for sailors in English Channel: please contact Robin on +44 7736 353 404 or What time did you see Snoopy ?
Both sails up ? Still sailing ? Heading West, or going in circles ? More use to us if in slack water or when tide flowing west. Don't take risks !
NO RESCUES PLEASE ! Not unless Snoopy within 100 yards of shore, and about to hit it, or no SPOT reports for over 3 hours.
PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH SNOOPY - it may disqualify him. Watch for "close encounters". Please take photos or video that we can all share.

Snoopy Atlantic Attempt March 2015 Message pour les marins en Manche Si vous rencontrez un voilier-miniature de 1m de long il s'agit probablement de Snoopy : un voilier robot qui entame une traversée a destination de l’Amérique. Il a été lancé le 18 mars 2015 à 11h00 depuis Bornemouth (uk). Malgré sa petite taille (et donc sa lenteur) il progresse sans discontinuer vers son objectif : traverser l'Atlantique et remporter le Challenge Microtransat. Il est totalement autonome : son énergie est seulement produite par ses panneaux solaires et il est entièrement programmé pour réaliser sa mission sans aucune assistance. Il communique sa position par satellite une fois par heure. Surtout ne touchez pas Snoopy, cela risquerait de le disqualifier ! Ne vous approchez pas trop cela risquerait de l'endommager ! Ne prenez aucun risque en vous approchant, même si le robot se rapproche de la côte. S'il vous plait contactez Robin Lovelock par téléphone au +44 7736 353 404* ou par mail et communiquez les informations suivantes : - à quelle heure avez-vous rencontré Snoopy - à quelle position (GPS) - portait t'il toujours ses deux voiles - avait t'il l'air de progresser - si oui dans quelle directions - vous pouvez aussi communiquer des photographies et/ou des vidéos.
* Robin does not speak French, but he can use Google Translate on emails = Robin ne parle pas français, mais il peut utiliser Google Translate sur les emails :-)

Yves Briere (professeur à l'ISAE, Toulouse, France) a proposé le concept de "Microtransat Challenge" en 2004 lors d'une conférence dédiée à l'enseignement du génie électrique dans le but de promouvoir le concept de "voilier robot". A cette occasion il a trouvé deux autres projets similaires en Europe : celui de Mark Neal et Colin Sauze (Université d'Aberystwidth, Pays de Galles) et celui de Roland Stelzer (Autriche). Ensemble ils ont proposé le règlement de ce challenge qui a stimulé de nombreuses autres équipes dans le monde.

Atlantic Attempt March 2015 robot boat to cross Atlantic from UK to USA

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PRESS: Please see "latest news" below, before you 'phone me. If you do contact me, please mention "9am Thursday" so I know that you have :-)
See the March 2015 Press Release, the Earlier Press Release then "latest news" below, for Snoopy's attempt to cross the Atlantic.

Play the June 2014 video of Snoopy's Robot Boat for 2014 Microtransat for the big picture. e.g. details of this year's boat and lessons learned.
Those on the Microtransat List: Please see Snoopy's Microtransat Contact List - but only if you are on the List already.

BBC TV South broadcast of launch, reported by Ben Moore, BBC Reporter Play the 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 :-)

Snoopy's GPS Guided Trans-Atlantic Robot Boat

updated 1415 Thursday 26th March 2015 UK time

Robin 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. If you want to know more about me, our family, or my earlier defence systems career, then GPS software business, you can start by clicking on my picture on the left, or here. I'm Robin Lovelock, and the Press have described me as a "retired NATO scientist". My wife June says that I retired much more than ten years ago !

The French boat from Team ENSTA Bretagne. Click here for 2012 event. 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. 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 2012 and 2014 teams - all 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 ! :-)

The United States Naval Academy boat. Click here for 2014 event. 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. crazy surfy The last Atlantic Attempt, on 30th November 2014, was the best so far: Snoopy got as far as Weymouth, but crash landed near Portland Bill, with little damage. The same boat will try again in early 2015. Earlier in the year, this boat landed on the Isle of Wight, but lived to sail again. The same thing happened in 2013, but for different reasons. Watch our attempts to "beat the surf" in March 2013: now we know how to do it - with Magic Seaweed ! Snoopy's very first attempt was in 2012, and that was perhaps the most mysterious story of all - we never did find where he went, after visiting that military bunker :-)

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 ! :-)

PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH SNOOPY - it may disqualify him. Watch for "close encounters", and please take photos or video that we can all share.

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 !"

Snoopy the Viking on Snoopy Sloop robot boat

Contents of this page:

  • 1. Introduction (above)
  • 2. Latest News on Snoopy's attempts to cross the Atlantic ...
  • 3. Snoopy's route ... How long will it take ?
  • 4. Robin thanks his friends ...
  • 5. History of Snoopy's attempt to cross the Atlantic ...
    • 5.1 the early years of experiment, from 2008 until 2011 ....
    • 5.2 November 2012 Atlantic Attempt ....
    • 5.3 March 2013 Atlantic Attempts ...
    • 5.4 October 2013 Atlantic Attempt ...
    • 5.5 September 2014 Atlantic Attempt ...
    • 5.6 Aborted November 2014 Atlantic Attempt ...
    • 5.7 Good November 2014 Atlantic Attempt ...
    • 5.8 March 2015 Atlantic Attempt ...
  • 6. Design, Construction, and testing of Snoopy's robot boats ...
  • 7. Useful links ...
  • 8. a typical visit to Bray Lake ...

Atlantic Attempt March 2015

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

Pictures are on Snoopy's March 2015 Atlantic Attempt. See the Live SPOT Map for where Snoopy is now.

Snoopy's progress in March 2015 attempt

9am Thursday Newsflash: That detailed page above holds much more information for each day, including links to information we are using such as wind, marine traffic, and even lightening strikes. Yes, thunderstorms were expected ! This was where we first report our best guess on what is happening to Snoopy, based on the Live SPOT Map, links everyone can share, and emails we receive from around the World, including our friends on the other side of "The Pond", who can watch while we are asleep in UK :-)

Snoopy said "Bonjour" to France, at 0300 this morning, and is in mid Channel, between Exmouth and Cherbourg, France, and still only just west of his "Weymouth" waypoint. Snoopy seems to be taking the "scenic route", and we don't yet know why. it seems Snoopy still has his sails up, and his autopilot may be steering the boat, but we don't know yet for sure.

If Snoopy does something unexpected, you may wish to look at shipping in the area, on e.g. Snoopy being snagged in a fishing net, or being picked up by a small boat before they read and understand the labels on his sails. However, not all boats, such as the military, have their AIS switched on :-)

Snoopy has now been at sea over a week, and is making very slow progress towards his next "Prawle" waypoint, south of Torquay, and the Fawlty Towers Hotel. We hope a boat or aircraft can see if Snoopy's boat was damaged during that path across a busy shipping lane last Friday afternoon. e.g. does Snoopy still have both sails up ? Photos or video taken carefully will very welcome ! :-)

The tide turned to flow eastward at 0830 today, and changes direction every 6 hours. i.e. westward at 1500, eastward at 2030, then westward at 0300 tomorrow. The maximum speed of the tide is now peaking at about 1.8 knots (2.3mph/3.7kmph). Snoopy tends to sail at about 10% of the wind speed, so that's about 1 mph/knots if the wind is 10 mph/knots. The tide is more than 2 knots at it's maximum speed - but the good thing is that the tide does change direction every 6 hours !

After his launch on Wednesday, 18th March, Snoopy made slow but steady progress, along his planned route, despite light wind and strong tidal current. Click on Snoopy's March 2015 Atlantic Attempt for the full story in pictures. See Snoopy's route out of UK waters below, under "3. Snoopy's route ... ". Waypoints were adjusted to reduce risks of hitting land, or fishing areas, even if strong wind blows him off course.

click here for the design of Snoop Sloop Click here for latest SPOT map 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 Blog.

We watch MagicSeaweed for FLAT surf, an off-shore wind, and no rain. We also watch Winds Expected. 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. This is our "Plan A".

For those interested, see "Summary of design used in 2012, 2013 and 2014 boats ...", near the front of the Design page. While Snoopy's Boat10 waits for the "launch window", we can still experiment with Boat11, or other solutions for 2015. See the new BlogX page. Snoopy's launch window 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.

Might we beat the waves with a "Plan B" ? 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 :-)

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

typical robot boat route from UK to USA 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.

  • Snoopy driven from Sunninghill to launch spot. e.g. Boscombe. Takes about 1.5 hours. Launch within 2 hours of leaving home ? 1.75 hours again.
  • Launch from UK shore and head about 17 miles south to Snoopy's "Channel" waypoint. 12 hours @ ~ 1.5 mph average ? ~ 0940 on 19th = ~22.6 hours - hindered by tide !
  • Channel to Weymouth Waypoint: ~ 38 miles @ 1.5 mph = + 25 hours ?
  • Weymouth to Prawle Waypoint: ~ 64 miles @ 1.5 mph = + 43 hours ?
  • Prawle to Lizard Waypoint: ~ 80 miles @ 1.5 mph = + 53 hours ? = ~ 7 days ?
  • Lizard to Microtransat Start Line: ~ 326 miles @ 1.5 mph = + 9 days = ~ 16 days ?
  • Microtransat Start Line to waypoint east of The Azores is about 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 ?
  • Microtransat Finish Line at 24 30'N 60 00'W. Then head towards the USA east coast: maybe 1400 miles. + 6 weeks ? = 22 weeks / 6 months ?
  • USA Landing 6 to 8 months after launch ? Before 1st April 2016 ? :-)

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 ! :-)

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.
  • local friend John who started Robin off, provided the team name, and has supplied numerous original ideas. See Team-Joker.
  • local friend Dick Bailey, working closely with Robin, who has rescued Snoopy many times, at his own time and expense.
  • 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.
  • local friend Eric, for supply of Snoopy Sloop 4, and our best videos. See Eric's other videos here.
  • local friend Gary, the Master Car Mechanic , for donating Snoopy Sloops 1 and 2, when Robin started all this in 2008.
  • my old friend Klaus 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 last year's 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 . She has tweeted this, after checking with Robin:
    "Can you help Robin find Robot boat Snoopy? See if you can help. Last seen near The Needles."
    Robin, despite his name, cannot Tweet. Please take care what you tweet, so as not to encourage others to take risks.
  • Chris at the UKHO ( UK Hydrographic Office ) for detailed tidal data, indicating "human-intervention" with Snoopy in 2012 :-)
  • 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 ...

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

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
Snoopy-Sloop 9 is the latest robot boat
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.

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 ? Now being prepared for next attempt soon ! :-)

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. After re-testing on Bray Lake, Snoopy will try again, on this boat, in early 2015.

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 ...

See the March 2015 Atlantic Attempt Page for the developing story in pictures.

Atlantic Attempt March 2015 In brief: Snoopy launched at 1100 Wednesday 18th March from Boscombe Pier. Eventually made the "Channel" waypoint. Still going !

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 Blog Page.

design construction and testing of Snoopy's robot boats

7. Useful links ...

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 Snoopy's 2012 Attempt to cross The Atlantic, and that for March 2013 in the surf, October 2013, September 2014, November 2014, and the good Last 2014 Attempt.
Play the June 2014 video of Snoopy's Robot Boat for 2014 Microtransat for the "big picture". e.g. details of the 2014 boat and lessons learned.
See the Design page for details of Snoopy's 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 boats, built for the Atlantic Attempts.
See the Blog1, Blog2, and Current Blog pages for progress in tests, repairs, etc.
See the BlogX page for experimental work, including Compass and techical stuff such as Software - and even Snoopy's Paint ! click here for a high res. copy of this picture
of Snoopy's new boat, taken on 21 March 2013.
See the Picaxe Forum Thread for the history, since August 2009, of Snoopy's Picaxe Autopilot Software - where Robin's got advice.
See The Microtransat Challenge for "competition" details, including rules and the other teams.
See our Q&A (Questions & Answers) page. e.g. Why not launch Snoopy from a boat ? Do you understand the tide ?
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 Robin's old "on water" page - not updated for over 14 years - until now, with detail of the 1998 round-the-World race :-)
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 for how busy the shipping lanes are. and SPOT communications coverage map.
See UK Winds , Sailflow Winds , Met Office Rain & Wind, World Sea conditions , Temperatures and Sunshine.
See Bournmouth live web-cam for the weather and size of waves, just a few miles west of Barton-on-Sea.
See Jasper Coppings article in the Sunday Telegraph the Sunday before the 2012 launch.
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 new June 2014 video of Snoopy's Robot Boat for 2014 Microtransat for the big picture. e.g. details of this year's boat and lessons learned.
Play the Video of Snoopy's Bray Lake Test on 13th September 2014.

Ben, Snoopy and Robin

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.
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

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-east, 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.

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 Sailing

from the earlier introduction at the top of this page ...

Simple rules for this robot boat race: get past 60W, off Bahamas; wind power only; autonomous (GPS self guidance); must report position (GPS/Satcomms). See The Microtransat Challenge.

The Welsh Team tried in 2010 and the boat sailed a few days before it was lost. The old track of the boat is here.

The French Team made an attempt in 2011 and it sailed for a few days in heavy seas before a sail broke. They recovered the boat and tried again in 2012.

For my business partners who visit these pages... OK - I confess! I DO spend much of my time on this hobby project :-)

Do not be confused by the picture of Snoopy sailing the bottle: that was from the GPS bottles in the sea projects :-)

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

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

Snoopy's boat is on 24/7 test while waiting for his "launch window" to make this year's 2014 Atlantic attempt. That's Robin sat on the bank. This was filmed by experimental boat 6

Snoopy Corner

Snoopy got his Mobius video camera at Christmas. Play the June 2014 video or click on the picture below.

click here for 26 minute video of Snoopy on Bray Lake

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

boat 6 first test in sea

See Robin's Snoopy Sloop robot boat - progress in 2011 and 2012 for an earlier copy of this front page, with more detail and links.

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© 1991-2014 Robin Lovelock. Please credit if you use material from any of these pages. Thankyou.