In the Summer 2015, we released Saildrone #124 out of Newport RI on a Transatlantic mission to Great Britain. The purpose of the mission was to continue our series of extreme endurance tests, this time in the harsh North Atlantic.
Three weeks into the voyage across the Atlantic, the vehicle was hit by the tail end of hurricane Joaquin. Winds in excess of 50 knots were recorded for over 18 hours.
The vehicle survived the enormous seas but suffered some minor damage, which compromised navigation. We headed for the Azores for repairs but in the face of storm-force headwinds, decided to head South into the trade winds to make repairs in the Caribbean.
Three months later SD124 arrived in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, recovering the vehicle without the need for a ship rescue.
This mission demonstrated the vehicle's endurance in extreme storm conditions and the ability to navigate to shore for repairs in the event of damage.
The extreme wind resistance has now been improved as part of the continued design reviews. We will send a second vehicle to complete the Transatlantic crossing during 2016.
Summer 2015MORE INFO >