Today was the first day of Sailbot 2013, and Tufts Robotic Sail Team (TRST) competed in a Navigation Test and a Fleet Race. The Navigation Test tested our boats ability to autonomously sail a windward-leeward course. The most challenging feature of the course is tacking upwind. F-dash failed to tack, and continued to sail in circles. After the Navigation Test we discovered that F-dash takes on a lot of water. This ruined one of our microprocessors–a Teensy. This makes it difficult to know whether our poor autonomous performance is due to poor programming logic or hardware failure. The good news: other teams also did not finish the course.
At the end of the day we competed in the 1 meter fleet race. Shortly after discovering that our circuits were fried, we had 10 minutes to replace our electrical system with the components that came with our kit. Like true engineers, we improvised and had our boat ready to go. With Duncan Swain remotely controlling the F-dash, we finished in first place–even after having to execute a restart after crossing the start line early! This small victory lifted team morale after a frustrating week of delays, bugs, and long nights. Due to bad weather races on Tuesday have been postponed, buying us more time to rebuild our electrical system for later races.