“Sailbot'” Crash Avoidance Tech Passes 2,500 Miles.

A remarkable tale of sailing grit and cunning has gotten almost no coverage: The University of British Columbia’s Sailbot Team and its Transatlantic Challenge is going on as we speak. The team has developed, designed, and built a roughly 20-foot autonomous sailing catboat, called Ada. This wishbone-rigged, bulb-keeled sailing robot has navigated nearly 2,500 miles in a mostly zag-zag course through the mid-Atlantic. Like most pioneers there have been issues: On August 29th, disaster struck when its rudder froze. Ada has also survived power outages, gear failures and getting crushed by other ships and debris. In spite of her struggles, Ada is making real headway. […]

Bob’s Best Boat Toys: Gocycle.

We’re boat nerds. We can’t resist the crazy gadget overlooked by the rest of landlocked society. Hence, this little beauty that popped up on a recent trip to Newport, Rhode Island: The Gocycle, a mashup between a folding bike and an electric bike. It was a soft-seller when it first came out in 2010. Too bad. Because this is exactly what aerobically challenged sailors need for handy harbor-side transport. At 35 pounds, it is a wisp of a feather for an electric bike. And we love how both wheels do the pushing and the pulling. Meaning, this little wonder can get you, […]

The Zumwalt Class Lobster Boat

An interesting early look at a new “transmission-less” propulsion option crept out of Europe earlier this year. Netherlands-based Hybrid Power Systems announced a variable-speed, saltwater-cooled diesel generator that might open new powering options to smaller craft. The full specs are hazy. But from what we can see, this one motor could power not only batteries, but all the power systems on a small boat. Meaning, that pesky central prop shaft, that runs from the back of the engine through the hull, and to the propeller would be gone. Instead, a quiet, all-electric coil would drive the boat. And that’s a […]