Sunninghill modeller's Atlantic dream 'is still alive'
Published: 19 Oct 2013 12:300 comments
Robin Lovelock, from Sunninghill, and his team launched their second bid to become the first person to send a model boat across the Atlantic from Barton-on-Sea last Friday at about noon.
However, an unplanned detour meant the boat – named Snoopy Sloop 9 – ended up hitting the shore of the Isle of Wight, near Yarmouth, at 3am on Saturday.
The £450 vessel was spotted by a resident who is returning the boat to Mr Lovelock.
The 4ft sailing boat uses a solar-powered GPS navigation system and rudder to steer and to help Mr Lovelock track its progress.
The latest failure follows Mr Lovelock’s first attempt in November last year, when his boat was swept into Alum Bay less than 24 hours after setting off.
“There has not been any disappointment with my lack of success, to be honest,” he said.
“What inspires me is despite the fact that we are all just a few mates who meet in pubs, but we have just as good a chance as anybody else of doing this.
“There are so many little things that could go wrong that I am never totally sure what is going to happen.
“I was amazed and delighted that we were able to get Snoopy back unharmed after his wanderings and landing on that deserted, muddy beach on the Isle of Wight.”
Mr Lovelock has designed several boats in his attempts to cross the Atlantic and despite his two failed attempts he still believes that, after a few adjustments, he can be successful.
“We are getting closer every time. I am confident that with a few adjustments here and there that Snoopy will have a better crack at it next time,” he said.
“He will certainly be making his next attempt before Christmas. It is all about reliability.
“Our priority now is to take Snoopy back over to Bray Lake, in Maidenhead, where we can start to check him out and start making adjustments so he has a better chance next time!”
Mr Lovelock will analyse the boat’s movements during its latest voyage and carry out more testing on Bray Lake before aiming to make a third bid for success in November.
“We need to make Snoopy as simple as possible and then test everything to death on the lake. Hopefully we’ll get some really strong winds we can test him out in before sending him out on the ocean again,” he said.
Mr Lovelock’s record attempt is part of the Microtransat Challenge to become the first person to send an unmanned vessel across the Atlantic Ocean.