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Yes, finally. After some major updates we were ready for some real life testing. 

First major thing we changed is the hull. The blue hull had some terrible sailing properties making it very difficult to steer. Also the stability was a real issue. To fix this we decided to use something what is commonly available: wind surf board. Difficult to sink, nice stability and easy to maneuver.

 

Next we increased the rudder surface area (The rudder which in under water). This makes steering very easy. Also we needed a steering mechanism. We got a linear actuator from China and with some electronics from pololu this was ready to receive RC-servo signals. 

The electronics are placed in a large, watertight industrial enclosure. The electronics currently logs the GPS, wind direction and process the commands from the remote control. There is nothing autonomous yet.

 Here is a short movie of our testing day:

 

OK so it works! It is really good to see the BASV actually sailing. The winds were very calm but it was the fastest sailing ship on the lake.

So what is next:

  • Increase the surface area of the sail tail section. We are not sure if we used the sail at top efficiency
  • Make it sail on its own. A lot of things have to happen for this: Programming the algorithm, AHRS system, sending/logging/plotting the data.
  • Send the data using GPRS. Currently a XBEE module is used. This requires a laptop in the boat but more importantly it only has a reliable range of ~30m .

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